All winners’ at inaugural Miss Wheelchair World pageant

In her elegant evening dress and perfectly styled hair and make-up, Maria Diaz looks like any beauty pageant contestant — except for the wheelchair she has been confined to since being shot by a stranger ten years ago.

Maria is one of 24 young women who gathered in Warsaw on Saturday to compete for the first-ever title of Miss Wheelchair World.

“It doesn’t matter who wins the crown. We are all winners,” said the 28-year-old from Chile, who is a professional wheelchair tennis player.

“It’s our first opportunity of its kind to show the world that we can do anything we want,” she added.

Belarussian psychology and social pedagogy student Aleksandra Chichikova won the crown at a gala evening in the Polish capital.

The contestants presented themselves in national costumes, cocktail and evening dresses.

They also performed elaborate dance routines, some by moving their wheelchairs on their own and others with the help of assistants.

They talked mostly about their personal experiences, including the challenges of life in a wheelchair.

Finland’s Kati van der Hoeven can only talk to her husband by moving her pupils, while Mirande Bakker from the Netherlands is the victim of a doctor’s mistake.

Polish kinesiotherapist Beata Jalocha has been confined to a wheelchair since 2013 when a suicide jumper landed on her.

“It’s the first initiative of its kind in the world,” jury president Katarzyna Wojtaszek-Ginalska told AFP.

The goal is to “change the image of women on wheelchairs so they would not be judged solely by” their disability, added the 36-year-old handicapped mother.

Wojtaszek-Ginalska is head of the Only One Foundation, which has organised the contest drawing on experience from Polish beauty pageants for the handicapped.

“It is not the looks that matter the most,” said Wojtaszek-Ginalska.

“Of course, good looks count but we have focused especially on the personalities of the girls, their everyday activities..,” she added.

Another goal was to show that a wheelchair is a luxury in many parts of the world.

“It’s a common saying of handicapped women that we didn’t ask to be handicapped, that we would happily get rid of our handicaps, that we want to be considered ordinary people after all,” she said.

“Of course we are on wheelchairs, but that is a fate that can hit anyone, anytime.”

– ‘Raise your right hand!’ –

To finance the pageant, the small foundation has collected money from private sponsors. But the biggest portion of aid came from the city of Warsaw, which provided the infrastructure, logistical support and helpers.

“The girls only paid for their trip here,” said Wojtaszek-Ginalska.

The contestants were chosen either in national rounds or, in countries with no such pageants, by non-governmental organisations contacted by the Polish foundation.

Each country could send a maximum of two contestants, who spent eight days in the Polish capital, busy with rehearsals, photo sessions, conferences and visits.

One rehearsal required them to dance to fast music, a task some found impossible to do.

At one moment, a professional choreographer showing them the movements they were to imitate, cried: “Raise your right hand!”

“I don’t have the right hand,” American contestant Jennifer Lynn Adams protested from her electric wheelchair, driven with the help of a joystick, to an applause from all hands at the rehearsal.

“I was born with partial limbs so I have to be adaptive to the music, to the choreography but that’s okay. I live my life adaptively,” said the Miss Wheelchair America 2014.

“That’s actually my message to the world: that we all have something that limits us but we can adapt beyond it and we can shine beyond our limitations.”

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  1. Avatar tom waker March 29th, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Panic has gripped the Jubilee Coalition headed by Uhuru Kenyatta as details unravel on how the 2013 Presidential Elections were manipulated to hand him a win by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission – IEBC, that is now the subject of a Supreme Court petition.

    The emerging details point to a shocking scheme hatched by circle of advisors and government functionaries within the intelligence and civil service, way before the elections.

    Analysts scrutinizing documents ahead of the Supreme Court petition by the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy challenging the results, were stuck by how technology was also used to aid Uhuru “defeat” Raila Odinga of CORD.
    “Kenyans can remember well that some curious things happened with regard to the so called provisional results that IEBC kept churning out”, says one of the lawyers handling the CORD petition.

    “It was a statistical impossibility. Between March 4th – March 7th, Raila Odinga was consistently stuck at 43/44% while Uhuru stayed at 53%. Musalia was stuck at 2.8% while the margin between Uhuru and Raila remained at 600,000-700,000 votes. This was impossible considering that results were coming in randomly from all over Kenya. Yet these figures remained consistent”.

    After a confusing Friday 8th March when IEBC postponed announcement of final constituency results till Saturday, a quick operation was put in place to force acceptance of the results, amidst anxiety by Kenyans that the voting process had been manipulated.

    IEBC’s James Oswago reportedly called media houses late in the night for a surprise final announcement of constituency results Friday 12.30am without indicating who had won. Throughout the week IEBC had warned media from declaring anyone the winner. However 30 minutes later KTN and NTV got a “nod” to call the elections. From there on events moved quickly. At 1.30am KTN flew a banner indicating Uhuru Kenyatta was the winner. Several stations in surprise followed suit. Kenyans would wake up on Saturday morning to all TVs proclaiming “President Uhuru”, almost 12 hrs before Isaack Hassan finally announced Uhuru’s win on Saturday afternoon.

    The Weekly Citizen in this exclusive report can now report stunning details of a rigging plot that would have passed undetected if all players had stuck to the script and the “tyranny of numbers” theory had not fallen flat on its face on March 4th.
    According to CORD insiders and several statistics analysts who have examined the IEBC voter register when it closed on Dec 18th, over 1,500,000 extra votes were “unexplained votes” votes that were for the presidential result alone. Since according to the IEBC, every voter was given 6 ballot papers, IEBC will be hard pressed on how this happened.
    If these allegations are proven then, Uhuru’s tally will render his 6,173,433 vote announced by the IEBC to 4,673, 433. Which could mean that Raila Odinga could have won the election if what CORD claims is true.

    The well calculated scheme was based on 3 critical things that had to be done to force in Uhuru. The most important was to force a first round win for Jubilee.

    “It was obviously clear to us that any run-off would result in an anti-Kikuyu vote in which only Kalenjins and Kikuyu’s would vote for Uhuru while Raila takes off with the rest of the country’, says Central Kenya Senator Elect over drinks at a popular Nairobi spot on the day the IEBC announced Uhuru as President. “Winning Round One was never an option. It had to happen”

    Getting the numbers was an issue that had worried TNA strategists one year before striking an alliance with William Ruto’s URP as the Jubilee Coalition. Even if Ruto’s Kalenjin backyard was convinced to vote for Uhuru, the numbers Kalenjins brought in were still not enough. Though the “Tyranny of Numbers” propaganda was sold as a winning formula, insiders knew the truth held a different reality. The 50% was simply not there. The best Jubilee could manage was force a run-off their researchers said they would lose.

    The tyranny of the numbers was the psychological component of the whole game; and the so was “PEACE” campaign enterprise, says a member of the civil society

    “It is Funny that the tyranny of numbers theory perpetuated by Political Analyst Mutahi Ngunyi done in February 2013 mentions the same figures Uhuru got in the final tally” says popular blogger Robert Alai.
    Several contingency plans were made to ensure the plan succeeds. One was to ensure that the Kikuyu and Kalenjin voter turn-out was to hit 95% while hoping that CORD base’s turn-out would remain at the traditional 65% to 70%.
    Like many assumptions made by the Jubilee strategy team, their plan on turn-out was based on assumptions that CORD’s base would barely attain their traditional turnout.

    The second critical factor was use of technology to help add up numbers as the infamous tyranny of numbers depended on factors outside Jubilee’s control.

    This plan to be used was borrowed from Ghana’s December 2012 Presidential Elections. The election which is now being contested at the Ghanian Supreme Court was won by President John Mahama who was announced to have secured 50.7% of votes, enough to avoid a run-off against NPP candidate Nana Akufo-Addo with 47.7%. Akuf-Addo has filed a petition with evidence that the vote was won by manipulating the electronic system
    In the Ghanian petition, proof has been revealed the company hired by the Ghanaian Election Commission to supply data services – SuperLock Technologies Ltd – also had a contract with the National Democratic Congress to supply the same services to the party that included tallying. In the petition NPP says it had found irregularities such as cases of over voting and instances when people not registered by the new biometric finger-printing system were able to vote.

    According to the NPP and the other parties, these numbers announced by the Ghana’s Electoral Commission did not correspond with actual votes recorded in the 275 constituencies. They allege tampering of numbers by the suppliers of IT services in favour of John Mahama. The commission also reported that turnout was at an all time high of 81%.
    In a dramatic incident during the elections, NPP stormed the electronic suppliers premises and claimed to have caught the company’s data personnel altering results before transmission to the National Tallying Centre

    Similar to the Ghanaian case, the company that supplied Kenya’s IEBC with the electronic data and call centre services is Ken Call. The company whose connection to IEBC were never made public was charged with supplying call centre services and hosting the data base from where the polling station results were remitted to the IEBC. Ken Call also has a contract with Uhuru Kenyatta’s The National Alliance party to supply tallying services of results from polling stations!
    “Results from Returning officers at polling stations being transmitted electronically were first relayed to Ken Call’s servers for onward transmission to Bomas”, an IEBC official told Weekly Citizen.

    “Imagine the same server was being used to tally results for TNA! This is where the electronic tampering of results took place as it was easy to access the same server which was serving both the IEBC and TNA and managed by the same company. When questions started being raised about the contradiction between figures announced at polling stations and the ones on IEBC screens at Bomas, the system mysteriously crashed!”

    The official says it is unclear when the company was hired by the IEBC and why the commission ignored the conflict of interest.
    The Weekly Citizen has discovered that like the Ghanaian case the plan by to rig the Kenyan Presidential vote was 3 pronged;

    First, encourage the purchase of BVR kits by the IEBC. The technology was simply meant to hoodwink the public and crash when plan B was to be effected. Using unorthodox means that included bribing IEBC officials, the more experienced 4G solutions which serves India that has over 500 million voters was disqualified and Code Inc given the job to supply the kits. Code Inc went into liquidation and was renamed Electoral Systems International after the Fijian government exposed the company to be a branch of the Canadian Intelligence Organisation. Part of the system’s technology was supplied by a company linked to a Mr Chirchir, a former Commissioner at the IEBC

    Secondly, as Ghana’s NPP claims in their petition, the ruling party used Super Lock Technologies Ltd to hack into the system and pre-determine a mathematical formula that adjusts figures as they come for both candidates while keeping any other candidates at a predetermined formula to ensure they do not harm the intended outcome. (This possibly explains why Uhuru’s margins with Raila never changed even with random results coming from all over the country). Yet even with this plan, Jubilee knew they would have to top up “few” numbers based as the 50% + 1 was still proving elusive with a week to the elections

    The third and final strategy was the real plan. Play with Kenyans’ minds by manipulating results and establishing a lead for Jubilee then crash the system and go manual. This was arranged by declining to have a back-up server which would retain evidence of the manipulation. With only one server, a deliberate crash would be final and would destroy evidence.

    According to Maina Kiai, former chairman of the a human rights organization the technology was a red herring.
    “This election was meant to be manual from start to finish loopholes included” he writes in his Saturday Nation column. “A manual result is what would allow different results to be announced at the Constituency, County and Bomas. All these electronic gadgets and equipment were meant to pull wool over our eyes”

    “Even with this plan, the team knew they would have to top up numbers based as the 50% + 1 still proved elusive with a week to the election” says a TNA Mp Elect.

    Then March 4th came.
    While the scheme was to “minimally” add votes to the “tyrannical numbers” to enable a Round One win, everything went wrong on March 4th Election day as the electorate in key battle ground areas stunned Jubilee strategists with an anti Uhuru vote.

    Luhyas expected to vote for Musalia up to 50% rebelled and went for Raila. The 30% of the Kamba vote expected from Kitui through Charity Ngilu failed to come in. Coast where Jubilee were expecting a 50-50 share with CORD bolted to Raila. CORD and Raila took off with 70% of the Kisii vote. In Kalenjin land, voter turnout fell below 70%. The “tyranny of numbers” was becoming a flop. With predictions by Jubilee statisticians collapsing all over on Election Day, the team after consultations had to quickly switch to Plan B.

    “This plan was aided by the decision by the IEBC to keep open some polling stations well after 5pm, the official closing time” says an ODM Chief Agent who manned a County in Rift Valley. Plan B called for manual voting to improve the numbers. “In Rift Valley CORD agents were reportedly intimidated and some left the polling stations as die hard URP activists some of whom manned the polling centres now took over. “It was hard to control what they were doing after that. Some people were now being given 2-3 presidential ballots to get their target number. You had no idea who was voting and who wasn’t.”

    As former Attorney General Amos Wako disclosed at a press conference last week “It appears the IEBC had several registers as they did not even gazette any. We will be asking the Supreme Court to examine which register was being used and which one was valid”.

    It is obvious CORD’s petition will put IEBC to task show an increase in voter registration after the registration ended on 18th Dec. In some cases the register grew by 35% in one constituency after reconciliation. On December 18th 2012, @IEBCpage declared there were 14,337,399 Registered Voters. The Final Register indicates there were 13,352,533 Voters

    Other than manipulate the register using technology, technology was also becoming an obstacle to get the right numbers and ensure a Round 1 win. The Voter Identification Kit which required fingerprint identification for voters could not be manipulated as “ghost” voters could not get in to vote or double voters. They had to be physically present.
    By 2pm, a crisis meeting was convened by Jubilee strategists on how to shore up numbers in Rift Valley.

    Mysteriously the Finger Print Identification kit stopped working. Manual voting was introduced.
    The IEBC electronic tallying system which was relaying fast results with a 53% lead for Uhuru four hours after 5pm, suddenly slowed down with just a million votes in. Then the “IEBC” server which in reality belonged to Ken Call crashed. And the results slowed down to a trickle. By 11pm IEBC announced to the press that announcement of provisional results had been halted and pushed to Tuesday.

    Most IT experts confirm that the amount of data being remitted for the 33,000 polling stations in terms of text messages could not have crashed the system.

    “It is very little data. Safaricom, Airtel and Orange deal with almost 300 million text messages daily. The data from polling stations was not that much”, says an employee of Safaricom on condition of anonymity. “What is puzzling is why on such an important exercise IEBC and Ken Call did not install the standard back-up server which would saved remitted results and revived the process”.

    The CORD team believes Isaack Hassan’s explanations were a cover-up and that the technology “use” and “failure” were part of the strategy to rig the elections.

    “The electronic system kept Uhuru and Raila at particular percentages to psychologically make Kenyans believe Uhuru was winning and Raila was losing. However since the figures at Bomas were not matching forms 34, 35, 36, and the Jubilee “tyranny of numbers” formula had failed, the electronic tallying system had to go.

    Maina Kiai is more brutal in his assessment calling IEBC’s excuses “hogwash”. “First it was that the server crashed. Then, than one side of the disk was full and unable to accept results. Then that presiding officers were slow in transmitting. The maximum capacity required for data from 33,000 polling stations is just 2GB, less than what a mobile phone can take!”

    With the plan in progress for manual voting, by Wednesday Rift Valley Turn-Out was being reported at 90% while Central had risen to 95%. Based on the Kriegler report this numbers were obviously inflated. However more was required as Uhuru had dropped below 50%. So delays had to be created for Returning Officers to re-adjust figures.
    The diversionary tactic kept Kenyans patient as Issack Hassan kept talking of delays caused by “verification”, “technological challenges” and introduced a phrase “complex elections” that would be repeatedly used throughout the Bomas process.

    With the announcement that manual voting would be used, the vote tallying took a different outlook as the initial 48 hrs in which all provisional results were to be announced dragged into days and tallying began afresh. Questions about discrepancies by CORD officials resulted in IEBC throwing them out. A compliant media was threatened into silence and no criticism of the IEBC was to be aired.

    The Bomas tallying centre was placed under heavy security as the once accessible Chairman of the IEBC now avoided all media questions regarding the process.
    “This is the most opaque electoral commission and ranks lower than even the late Kivuitu Commission” said one of CORD’s lawyers James Orengo.

    In the deliberate confusion that followed strange results started flowing off the IBC press briefings. Among the cases are;
    Wajir North had a 92% Voter Turn-Out for spot whose history indicates 50-60%. In Wajir West, if the Final Register hadn’t been adjusted, 99.45% of the Registered Voters would have voted. In Nyaki East in North Imenti with 12000 registered voters 15300 are reported to have voted!

    In Kajiado South, the people who voted (42,276) is higher than the people registered in Dec (41,040).Register adjusted to 46,218 to conform. In Sigor, the people who voted (19,704) is higher than the people registered in Dec (19,337).Register adjusted to 21,341 to conform.

    “How does Turkana Central with 25,970 votes as at 18th Dec end up with 34,486 voters after reconciliation?! Where did 8,516 voters come from?” asks Dr Makodingo, a political analyst on his twitter page.
    Worse still Worse still, IEBC’s figures refuse to add up inspite of efforts to “correct errors”. Valid Votes (12,222,980) plus Rejected Votes (108,975) add up to 12,331,955 and not their tally of 12,338,667!!

    “It is strange that 1,500,000 persons only cast a vote for a president and across Kenya this number is reflected in joint votes cast for Senators, Governors, Mps, Women Reps or County Reps. It is an obvious case of manual ballot box stuffing and double voting for Uhuru” says Statistics analyst Dr Makodingo

    Presently CORD may only have to prove that the 8,000 votes votes Uhuru received to add to his declared 50% is fraudulent. If that is done the Supreme Court can order a fresh poll within 60 days.

    Related posts:

    1. Avatar Little Hiti March 29th, 2013 at 6:14 pm

      ….Very long boring story of heresies and allegation. I also have mine, about how RAO received discrete support from ICC, EU and US…but i keep those to my self…so should you. Even If the Election is called again, we will give Uhuru an even bigger majority so that RAO does not try to sneak in again via the Supreme again. We the voters will decide,like we had decided in the First Round. First Round went to Uhuru. Second Round will go to Uhuru, with an even bigger majority so that RAO can see it more openly, we do not want him as our president. And the is NO PANIC, none, Senate and Parliament are firmly and safely inside Jubilee for keeps, you can’t panic when you have that much, it’s a matter of time, not whether Uhuru will be president or not.

      1. Avatar bobcat March 29th, 2013 at 7:02 pm

        Arrogance, sheer arrogance. there are many Kenyans who did not vote first time, so hold your breath and let Kenya be at peaceful.

        1. Avatar Duncan Muchina March 29th, 2013 at 9:35 pm

          Turn out was 82%. So what are you talking about? Delusion is a serious problem that needs just the right amount of reality check to get cured. Tomorrow.

        2. Avatar Little Hiti March 30th, 2013 at 9:22 pm

          …if you claim am arrogant,then you will be pleased to know am preceded by RAO, who can never accept that maybe he was not meant to be the president. There couldn’t have been a worse acceptance speech of the Supreme Court Verdict I could have imagined or most people could have…but RAO can’t simply let it pass…can he ? The country moves forward…everyone is invited.

      2. Avatar Rans March 30th, 2013 at 9:16 am

        This shows clearly how limited u’r in doing political analysis. Are u aware that every supporter of jubilee voted and the only chance they have is to have their number decrease as opposed to expansion as there is no room for that. So ur player should be to confirm this election or else u are in for big shock. Another thing, even u have the numbers in the senate and lower house, that is no big deal, Kibaki has led the country for five years when his PNU coalition had only 47 mps in the 10th parliament. Come on and argue on facts and not fantasis.

        1. Avatar Little Hiti March 30th, 2013 at 9:23 pm

          …If you could see me now …a song I used to know

    2. Avatar Hyacinth Omondi March 29th, 2013 at 6:38 pm

      Sorry, try again next time. Propaganda does not win elections.

    3. Avatar Gabby March 29th, 2013 at 6:55 pm

      However long your copy-paste ‘article’, that does not change the fact that Raila wants power. So along the way, poor IEBC makes mistakes as it is wont to, to the glee and bloating beyond proportion by the CORD team……

    4. Avatar Greenmarshmarrows March 29th, 2013 at 8:14 pm

      Consider writing a book or starting a blog. this is F boring

    5. Avatar Duncan Muchina March 29th, 2013 at 9:32 pm

      Are you penning the ruling or just venting?

  2. Avatar mathews March 29th, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    cord should continue counting their losses. yesterday it was senate and parliament. tomorrow…

  3. Avatar Greenmarshmarrows March 29th, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Jubileehas won all through. I expected Oraro to do very well, but it is Ngatia who stole the show. lets see. I have a lot of faith in Mutunga, even if he orders a re-run. I still have my ID

    1. Avatar Duncan Muchina March 29th, 2013 at 9:37 pm

      It’s not easy to get 4-2 or 5-1 ruling for the petitioners. Best scenario will be 3-3 or 4-2 for respondents.

      1. Avatar Little Hiti March 30th, 2013 at 9:27 pm

        it was actually 6-0,I didn’t see that coming …the petition must have been so poor. that last bit was not very surprising.

        1. Avatar Duncan Muchina March 31st, 2013 at 2:11 am

          Seems they couldn’t find a window high enough to throw out the petition!

  4. Avatar kange March 29th, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    There are no winners or loosers in this case, the fact of the matter is that all Kenyans are becoming better Lawyers every day. Come on my fellow brothers and sisters, Can we continue building our Nation and leave politics to politicians? or when are we going to untie ourselves from politics and growth of this great Nation?

  5. Avatar Lucas Oduor March 30th, 2013 at 11:31 am



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