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Political parties have been called to put central in their governance and operational structures the interests and aspirations of Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs) as key element of inclusion.  The Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu underscored this while opening a one-day capacity building workshop for PWDs drawn from all fully registered political parties held on 26th August, 2021 at Sarova Stanley, Nairobi.

The Registrar pointed out that as backed by statistics there are low numbers of PWDs in political and overall governance processes. She called for deliberate effort to champion and mobilize others within and outside political parties and rally behind PWDs to actualise their positive contribution to the progressive politics. “Every Kenyan including PWDs has equal right as guaranteed in the country’s Constitution .We must speed up affirmative action for PWDs with passion and vigour, which has lagged behind as compared to efforts of other Special Interest Groups categories”, Ms. Nderitu urged.

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Registrar of Political Parties, Ann Nderitu addresses participants during the PWDs sensitization forum held at Sarova Stanley Hotel.

She further called on PWDs to play their part in their respective parties to demonstrate and earn their space. “As persons with special needs, you must interest yourselves in politics and espouse a unity of purpose approach to  realise the gains you aspired”, counselled the Registrar.  She assured of ORPP’s commitment to continue putting up targeted programmes for PWDs with partners to realise their inherent potential not just in political parties but in other realms of leadership. “It is our commitment to strive to programmes such as this in partnership with other agencies to support and guide PWDs not only to meet composition of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and other compliance threshold in governing bodies of parties but importantly, to empower you to contest in elective political positions  as well as other leadership opportunities”, she assured. Assistant Registrar, Ali A. Surraw, elucidated the various SIGs mainstreaming efforts ORPP has put its regulatory role. “Aware of the myriad challenges, we continue to steer legal and policy interventions responsive to PWDs well-being in political parties”, noted Ali.

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Assistant Registrar Ali Surraw, speaking during the PWDs sensitization forum.

Participants present agreed to advocate for prioritisation of their agenda within parties. They called for the need to embrace responsive modes of communicating and devise specific strategies responsive to SIGs diverse needs. They further noted of the need for further fora to deliberate on  a wide breath of proposal they made including ; iron out gaps in membership and census data of PWDs; enhance funding of PWDs targeted programmes with political parties, mooting formation of possible special Fund; formation of a caucus of PWDs among other recommendations.

The deliberations were hinged on the need for additional efforts towards mainstreaming PWDs in electoral process being a global challenge. “Even in Europe, there are a host of technical and legal barriers that befall full inclusion of Persons with Special needs” , noted Daniel Seiberling, Hanns Seidel Foundation Resident Representative Kenya-Ethiopia.

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Participants pose for a group photo.

The Office personnel made varied presentations in relation to legal requirements of PWDs in political processes (Loserian Tukei); Level of inclusion of SIGs in political processes (Anastasia Kaberere) ; Roadmap to 2022 elections, election timelines and aspirants requirements (Juliet Murimi). They were complemented by their counterparts as session moderators, rapportuers and logistical support. 

The engagement which was supported by Hanns Seidel Foundation, Kenya Office preceded a similar with youth leaders of fully registered political parties held on 27th August, 2021.