Defying Disability: 2022 Election Historic For The Deaf

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Honorable Harison Kariuki

Being the Deaf awareness week, nothing crowned it more than having the two Deaf persons take an oath of office as nominated members of county assembly.

Harison Bundi and Lilian Cherotich of Kirinyaga and Bomet counties respectively took the oath using sign language with their interpreters permitted to undertake the task on the floor of the two houses.

This being a new experience, many of the netizens were wowed with most of them praising them for the great achievement.

Kipkorir Koech, who is one of the cybernauts commented, “This election was indeed a game-changer in our political landscape. Inclusivity is key. Now the county assembly to employ an interpreter to help during debates.’’

Harrison Bundi, who is also an advocate for the rights of Persons With Physically Disabilities was born Deaf in 1990 at Karumandi village in Gichungu constituency, Kirinyaga county.

His father, James Bundi narrated how they learned about his son’s disability when he was only three years.

Speaking in a media interview, James said “We were advised by the medics to take him to a special school so that he could start learning how to communicate efficiently. When he hit a school-going age, we took him to Kerugoya School for the deaf.”

The 31 year old is among the two MCA’s who have been nominated by United Democratic Alliance.

He is not new in the political field having made a stab at the nomination for Karumandi ward in April but lost to the current MCA, Carol Muriithi.

In 2018, Kariuki received an in-county Award in London, United Kingdom (UK) for his efforts in empowering the Deaf community and even joined a non-government organization known as Volunteer Services Overseas (VSO) to empower the deaf community.

His ability to live and work competitively is attributed to one of his aunts, who advised his parents to enroll him in a special school.

To overcome the communication barrier, the father of one, who is married to a Deaf lady, communicates through written messages to the community in his ward.

In an interview that took place in September 2021 with the media, Mr. Bundi shared part of his written manifesto.

It read ‘’ “I want to ensure that the people of Karumandi and Kirinyaga county at large, including those with disabilities, have access to better health care services, inclusive vocational training centers.”

According to the perception of most people, Persons with Disabilities always seek sympathy and pity. This is however not the case for Harrison Bundi as he has shown so much confidence and ambition.

Harrison however, noted that the main challenge lies in the mode of communication since most Kenyans are not conversant with sign language.

Meanwhile, Signs Television “Night Lovers” Show host Brigid Sankok also took an oath of office to represent Persons With Disabilities in Nandi County Assembly.

BY STACY EDITH

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