THE SECRET BALLOT IS FOR ALL
“I am forced to tag along with an interpreter friend who will interpret for me to be understood. Sometimes there is no one available so I do not visit the offices,” the voice of a Person With Disabilities pleading from a distance.
Persons with Disabilities in Mombasa and other parts of the country have disparaged their exclusion in the upcoming general elections. The Persons With Disabilities on Saturday went ahead to complain that they have not been given the opportunity to participate in the electoral process due to a lack of system in placement.
Kenya being one of the 3rd world countries making the most in terms of technology should have already ventured into assistive technology to ensure that the Persons With Disabilities are included in every process.
assistALL app is one of the many apps that have been launched widely in collaboration with the UN and UKAID to help the deaf with ease of communication with readily available interpreters.
Human Rights Agenda said they are seeking ways through which the Persons With Disabilities can get justice, even if it means seeking legal redress over their non-involvement in the electoral process.
Former nominated MCA Hardson Karume, who represented Persons With Disabilities in the Mombasa County assembly between 2013 and 2017 in a statement said that the involvement of Persons With Disabilities in the electoral process is quite low adding that IEBC and political parties in most cases do not put emphasis on Persons With Disabilities.
He also added that if they get to the political or planning meetings, in most cases, there are no provisions for Persons With Disabilities like ramps, braille, or interpreters, among others.
Speaking during an engagement forum with Persons With Disabilities under the theme enhancing voter participation and inclusion for a stronger democracy at Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) in 22nd October 2021, IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati said Persons with Disabilities, just like any other citizens, have the right, without unreasonable restrictions, to be registered as a voter to vote by secret ballot in election & be elected to public or political party office.
Several months later, 76 days to the election date; a thousand Persons With Disabilities are still singing the same song with many wishing they would be included and given a better participatory environment.
Our question today, what are the step you, the parties and development groups you are aligned to and the organization you are working with doing to promote inclusion?