, MOMBASA, Kenya, May 21 – The 3rd Annual Legislative Summit kicked off on Sunday with calls for better inclusion of the input of Persons Living with Disability (PWD)within the governance spectrum and the National and County Legislatures, as envisaged by the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
Noting that over 20 County Assemblies do not have membership from within People Living with Disability, Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura, called for enactment of legislation to cure the vacuum in law that does not guarantee the place for representatives from among people living with disability.
“More than 20 Counties do not have representatives with disabilities. Though we have made progress, we have to continue to produce evidence that indeed People Living with Disability do matter in the development of our society,” he observed.
Mwaura who was representing the Speaker of the Senate, Kenneth Lusaka in a pre-summit event for the legislators living with Disability, urged the County Assemblies to enact the County Disability Act before the next general elections to ensure that the gains so far made in that regard are not lost to political expediency.
Senator Mwaura noted that People Living with Disability had often been left out in high level appointments in the national government noting that the highest government ranking officer in the government within that group is the Principal Secretary for Heritage Josphetta Mukobe.
“We want to see a Person Living with Disability appointed to serve in the Cabinet and in the County Executive Committees, in a bid to embrace their contribution to the society,” he noted.
County Assemblies’ Forum chairperson Johnson Osoi on his part called upon the County Assemblies Representatives living with disability to remain as vanguards of the PWD in the society.
“You must ensure that you champion the agenda of the people living with disability. This includes changing their narrative and legislating with an aim to improve their facilities “, he appealed.
Kenya National Human Rights Commission Chairperson Kagwiria Mbogori condemned political parties for nominating people into the assemblies to occupy special seats meant for people living with disabilities in as much as those nominees are not disabled, thus locking their interests out of those assemblies.
According to the 2009 National Census, 1.3 million people are living with disability; (3 per cent of the total population) are documented.
The Legislative Summit is a forum where the Senate (as the patron and protector of County Governments) and the County Assemblies meet to review the progress made in entrenching devolution and for purposes of capacity enhancement for their respective legislators.
The official program for the 3rd Legislative Summit kicks off May 22 and will be launched by Deputy President William Ruto.