More than 1,000 people living with disabilities in Laikipia County have launched an initiative to push for favourable policies in the county and nationally.
The members affiliated to various community-based organisations say the newly formed Laikipia Disability Integral Network will harness their synergy in lobbying relevant authorities to formulate guidelines to spearhead the disability agenda.
“We have lagged behind, since we do not have an Act or a policy in Laikipia County and with this kind of network, we shall be able to initiate discussions aimed at formulating policies that will address various challenges facing people with disability,” said Mr Bernard Kariuki, chairman United Disabled Persons of Laikipia.
Mr Kariuki noted that some people in their group are severely disabled but were excluded from the national government’s cash transfer programme while those listed as beneficiaries had to wait months to receive the funds.
During the launch of the alliance in Nanyuki that brought together 15 groups from the county, the participants heard that 17 county assemblies, Laikipia included, did not nominate a representative for people with disabilities.
"The Laikipia County Assembly is among 17 that did not nominate a member of the county assembly to represent us,” said Joseph Lerina, a representative from Voluntary Services Overseas Organization.
“As we head to the General Election, I urge people with disabilities to support one of their own seeking elective posts but we shall still demand our slot for the nomination vacancy.”
Mr Dennis Kaniaru said he incurred huge expenses when he sought court redress to have one of their members nominated to the Laikipia County Assembly in vain.
“I filed the case here in a Nanyuki court but lost. I filed an appeal before the High Court in Nyeri but it dragged on for months. I eventually pulled out last year on realising that we only had a year to the General Election,” said Mr Kaniaru.
Ms Jacinta Silakan, from the Sangida Foundation, who had jointly organised the event with the United Disabled Persons of Kenya (UDPK), noted the network was formed at the right time and would now offer a platform for members to fight for fair representation once new leaders assume office after the August 9 polls.