NCCK Asks The Public To Recognize and Dignify Living with Disability


By Lindah Kiyeng &Leonard Munene

Just over 60 persons with disabilities from 20 counties have participated in a two-day Pre Assembly organized by the National Council of Churches of Kenya at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru. As a precursor to the 65th General Assembly of the NCCK, the PWDs Pre Assembly was guided by the theme Redefining Disability: Recognizing and Appreciating Disabilities.

Recognizing that a million Kenyans live with disabilities, the NCCK appreciates the need for all actors to take deliberate measures for Inclusion, Empowerment and Integration of Persons with Disabilities. Towards this, this Pre Assembly recommends the following.

  1. Accord Persons With Disabilities Dignity
    Despite constituting 2 per cent of the population, persons with disabilities continue to experience exclusion and stigmatization in social, political, economic and professional spheres. This exclusion is largely driven by ignorance, prejudices, and social beliefs and attitudes that portray persons living with disabilities negatively. This status needs to be changed so that all individuals live their lives to the fullest extent possible, just as we read the declaration of Jesus in John 10: 10 – I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

It is therefore essential that all stakeholders in the society play their role in promoting the Inclusion, Empowerment and Integration of persons with disability in community life.

a) Message to Church
It is through the church that we are enabled to build and nurture relationship with God. It is therefore important for all churches and congregations to be friendly to persons with disabilities in their attitudes and ministry. Let us allow persons with disabilities to participate and contribute in the ministry and leadership of our churches. Further, we urge all church buildings be easily accessible by persons with disabilities.

In addition, we encourage all clergy to integrate messages of inclusion and empowerment of persons with disabilities in their sermons, as well as designating a day for celebrating persons with disabilities. This will promote their inclusion, and also build their self confidence to participate in social life.

b) Message to the National Government
We call upon the government to action and provide regular updates on the implementation of Article 54 (2) of the Constitution of Kenya which provides that “The State shall ensure the progressive implementation of the principle that at least five percent of the members of the public in elective and appointive bodies are persons with disabilities”.

Towards this, we specifically appeal for:

One, that the university entry requirements for persons who go through special education be reviewed to ensure that they attain higher education for professional growth

Two, that the National Council for Persons With Disabilities seeks judicial intervention to have the County Assemblies that do not have the required representation of special categories dissolved

Three, that the cash transfers for persons with disabilities be disbursed to all those registered with NCPWD

Four, that the review of the Persons With Disabilities Bill 2024 be expedited

c) Message to County Governments
We call upon the County Governments to provide opportunities for persons with disabilities to establish and grow dignified livelihoods. We especially appeal that businesses owned by persons with disabilities be exempted from duties, rates and taxes. This will accord them the dignity to contribute effectively to the life of the society.

Further, we urge the county governments to establish and maintain PWD friendly sports facilities. It is essential to provide space and support for paraplegic sports across the country.

Above all, we call upon the Council of Governors to spearhead the domestication and implementation of the Persons With Disabilities policies and laws, and the integration of the same in county laws.

d) Message to All Kenyans
Dear Brothers and Sisters, disability is not inability. God made us all in His image, regardless of our abilities. Let us all recognize and appreciate that persons with disabilities have full lives ahead of them.

Do not hide children or relatives who have disabilities, and instead give them opportunities to identify and nurture their talents and gifts.

Let us always be inspired and guided by the provision of Article 54 (1) (a) of the Constitution of Kenya: A person with any disability is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect and to be addressed and referred to in a manner that is not demeaning.

  1. Stand Firm and Be Strong
    In Joshua 1: 9, God tells all of us:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

We call upon all our brothers and sisters to courageously assume positions of leadership in public, private and business sectors. No one will appoint you just because you have a disability. You must rise and position yourself to take up positions for which you are qualified.

We especially encourage all persons with disabilities to ensure they present memoranda to the Senate on the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2024 with regard to the proposed change of Article 54.

In addition, we encourage all of us to actively participate and seek leadership in political parties. This will ensure that persons with disabilities are appropriately positioned for appointment and election to political positions and thus enable them participate in decision making processes. We should not exclude ourselves from the social-political life of the nation.

  1. Special Focus on Children With Disabilities
    Children are naturally vulnerable, and parents and society have a responsibility to care for them. The vulnerability of children with disabilities is much greater. It is at this stage that many dreams, potentials, talents and gifts are snuffed out when caregivers fail to appropriately nurture the children.

We call upon all parents and caregivers of children with disabilities to embrace the young ones and focus on supporting them to live full lives. Let us create safe environments for children with disabilities in our homes, churches, schools and societies.

  1. Conclusion
    We conclude by recognizing that God gave us different abilities so that we all honor and serve Him in our different ways. It is therefore essential for all of us as Kenyans to include, empower and integrate persons with disabilities in social life.

Let us all endeavour to live up to the aspiration we espouse in our National Anthem

Natujenge taifa letu, Ee ndio wajibu wetu, Kenya istahili heshima
Tuungane mikono, Pamoja kazini, Kila siku tuwe na shukrani

May God bless Kenya now and always.

Pastor Geoffrey Wanyoike
Chairperson, NCCK PWDs Pre Assembly

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