Africa Jun 27, 2012
KENYA: Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has said that the government and other stakeholders will enforce constitutional provisions on the rights of persons with disabilities.
Musyoka stressed the need to enable persons with disabilities access to resources just as other persons without disabilities.
Such rights, he noted include access to shelter, employment and ease of movement.
“The needs and rights of persons with disabilities which are now enshrined under our new supreme law calls for immediate interventions, particularly in line with the implementation of Persons with Disabilities Act 2003 which came into force early 2004.” the Vice President said.
He said Kenya ratified the United Nations Conventions on the rights of persons with disabilities hence being bound by the law.
Musyoka who is also the Minister for Home Affairs made the remarks Monday when he opened the National Conference on Disability and Accessibility at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.
The three day conference whose theme is “Towards A Barrier Free Society for All” brings together two participants per county among other stakeholders.
He noted that given the right resources and support, persons with disabilities can contribute to the realization of Vision 2030.
“Indeed a society that neglects persons with disabilities does so at its own peril considering that disability does not amount to inability to contribute to National Development”, the Vice President said.
Musyoka cited several cases of individuals across the world and locally who have excelled intellectually and in various spheres of life despite their physical challenges.
He called on the society to discard any form of discrimination on the basis of disabilities.
The Vice President emphasized the need to accommodate persons with disabilities, particularly in the implementation of infrastructure that eases their mobility.
“We need to interrogate the concept of universal designs in order to ensure products, environment, programmes and services are accessible and usable to all persons”, Musyoka added.
He said there is need to develop a National Disability access policy that compliments the governments Vision 2030 in area of disability.
Minister for Gender, Children and Social Development, Dr. Naomi Shaban said that the ministry is in the process of amending the Act so that it complies with the requirements of the new constitution.
She said there is need to ensure that policies made by all ministries must involve the requirements of persons with disabilities.
“Nothing for us without us,” Dr. Shaban noted.
Nominated Member of Parliament and Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Equal Opportunities, Mohamed Affey said there was urgent need to conduct a country wide census in order to know the number of people with disabilities in order to know their needs.
He called on the government to ensure construction companies adhere to the rules when undertaking any works so as to cater for the needs of those with disabilities.
Affey urged the government and the private sector to invest in all sectors and ensure the disabled live comfortably.
In attendance were the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development, Dr. James Nyikal, former Nominated Member of Parliament and Law Reform Commissioner, Ms Josephine Sinyo, Secretary for Gender and Social Development. Prof. Collete A. Suda, Chairperson National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), John S. Halake and Chairman National Development for Persons with Disabilities among other senior government officials.