, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29 – Nominated MP Dennitah Ghati has urged the government to consider the needs of persons living with disabilities when purchasing vehicles for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system meant to ease traffic congestion in Nairobi.
The lawmaker who represents persons with special needs decried what she termed as perpetual discrimination by the government and pleaded that they should not be neglected this time round.
“The people living with disabilities have often been left out of city affairs because of lack of a transport system that is friendly to them. People with disabilities in this country sometimes actually decide to stay at home and they remain secluded and discriminated in their homes simply because they cannot access the city centre,” she said on Tuesday in the precincts of Parliament.
Ghati said the government’s Big Four Agenda cannot achieve 100 per cent success if the government continues to ignore the needs of persons living with disabilities.
The second-term legislator said other countries that have successfully managed to implement the car-free day initiative have observed all the necessary needs of people living with disabilities, noting that Kenya should not be an exception.
She cited the case of South Africa – where coincidentally Kenya is purchasing the first batch of 64 buses – which has effectively managed to factor in the needs of persons with disabilities.
“I want to challenge the CS in charge that among the 64 buses that have been purchased, if not all, some should be friendly to persons with special needs. We need to get the high standard buses that are being used in South Africa by the disabled persons,” she said.
As the government revealed logistics for the BRT system, the Ministry of Transport also announced plans for car-free days in Nairobi on Wednesday and Saturday from February 1 but this has elicited mixed reactions.
Already, the Motorists Association of Kenya has opposed the plan by the government terming irrational.
Through its chair Samuel Onyango, the body argues that Nairobi already is faced with unresolved challenges in the transport sector particularly lack of an efficient alternative transport system that will pick and drop passengers to various designated regions.
Chaotic scenes were witnessed in Kenya’s capital sometime last year when Governor Mike Sonko banned Public Service Vehicles from entering the CBD in a bid to ease traffic witnessed in the city centre.
Sonko’s move was highly criticised by a wide range of stakeholders forcing him to throw lift the suspension barely hours later.