Disabled persons experience many challenges, the most common being; a physical environment that is not accessible, lack of relevant technology (assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices) and general negative attitudes of people towards disability.
In the 11th Parliament, 12 Members of the National Assembly are living with disabilities. The MPs have an Umbrella Association called Kenya Disability Parliamentary Association (KEDIPA) which comprises both elected and nominated members.
All these MPs contested electoral seats, where some won and others lost. Speaking to The Standard, two MPs narrated the struggles they undergo during campaigns and rallies.
Political opponents use their disability to shame them and express their incapability of serving the public if given the electoral seats.
“I remember my opponent using the word puth against me in her campaigns. In Luo language, the word means a disabled person who moves by pulling themselves on the ground. Not even a wheelchair,” said Dennitah Ghati, a nominated MP from Migori County.
“It is a very strong word that my opponent used against me all the times,” She continued
The physical surroundings of political enironments are also a big challenge during their campaigns. Campaign terrains are filled with chaos and disorderliness that may cause harm to them.
“When we are going to a place that is heavily crowded, I have some youths who will provide security. While at the campaigns, some would lead me from stampedes,” stated Tim Wanyonyi, MP Westlands Constituency.
“I also have to send a team in advance to make sure that wherever we are going, there must be a ramp to access the podium,” narrated Tim.
“In the campaigns, people want to see the person talking, because there are no ramps to access the podium, volunteer youths have to lift me up. This can be so risky because I have a spinal problem,” Dennitah.
The legislators further protest over not having a kitty to help them champion rights of people living with disability.