President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday announced several measures aimed at empowering Kenyans living with disability .
The President said the government will put in place measures to ensure that more people living with disability are absorbed in the public service, especially in the top ranks.
He was speaking when he graced the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK), at the organization’s offices on Waiyaki Way in Nairobi.
The Head of State said that when his Government came to power in 2013, there were only 26 Kenyans living with disability employed at the level of directors, a number which has steadily increased to 128 currently.
The Head of State said that going forward, the government will ensure many more people living with disability will be promoted to senior ranks. He encouraged the private sector to join in this deliberate effort.
The President further said that the new Persons with Disability Bill 2018, approved by the Cabinet last week, seeks to empower Persons living with disability more so that they can fully utilize their abilities for their personal betterment and collective national progress.
He said the Bill places a positive obligation on both national and county governments to promote and protect all Kenyans living with disability.
“In my view, it resets the treatment of these rights and sets on the path to full equality,” said the President who emphasized the need for inclusion of all Kenyans irrespective of their physical condition, gender or ethnic background.
The President however expressed concern that planning and resource allocation for the disabled is usually hindered by lack of actual data of people living with various forms of disability.
“We will be ensuring that the Kenya population and housing census next year will accurately and authoritatively determine the population of differently-abled persons in Kenya with specifics as to the particular disability being registered” said President Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta lauded the APDK under the patronage of former Vice President Moody Awori saying it has helped people with disability to be self-reliant and earn self-respect.
“It is encouraging and indeed exciting to celebrate the work of APDK whose mission over the years has been to achieve equity for a group of Kenyans who are often forgotten,” the President said.
President Kenyatta said the APDK has earned itself great honour for its work over the last 60 years including bringing healthcare, education, employment and other services to people living with disability.
To further APDK’s good work, the President announced that the association will be allocated more resources so that it can produce more mobility devices and appliances to benefit more Kenyans that need them.
On his part, the former the VP gave a rich history of the APDK since its formation in 1958 outlining its successes which include rehabilitation of over 1.3 million disabled Kenyans, giving them hope and supplying them with inexpensive mobility devices like wheel-chairs.
The former VP said the Association needs government assistance to increase the production of the wheel-chairs from the current 300 to 1000 pieces per month.
President Kenyatta also recognized the former VP with a long serving award to appreciate his invaluable work spanning 60 years, initially as a volunteer.