The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party’s Disability League has broken its silence over recent remarks by Suna East Member of Parliament Junet Mohamed against nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura that were deemed derogatory by people living with albinism.
Junet, a vocal ODM MP, had on Saturday claimed that the Senator, who is affected by the genetic disorder that causes the skin, hair, or eyes to have little or no colour, bleached his skin to secure ODM and Jubilee nomination slots to represent people with disability in Parliament.
The remarks sparked outrage from a section of Kenyans including the organisation of Persons with Disability (PWD).
But in a statement on Wednesday, Nickson Kakiri, the President ODM Disability League, echoed Junet’s words in his recent apology to people living with albinism saying the MP’s remarks were not targeted at any group or community as had been portrayed.
“Junet’s comment was purely an individual against an individual without targeting a group of people or community as being portrayed, ” the statement reads.
“It is important to note that in a political context the comment was attributed to the fact that the target instigated violence which brought security threat to persons with disabilities’ political participation, more so violence being planned by a PWD representative brought more damage to persuasion on affirmative action.”
Warning PWDs against being used to further selfish interests, Kakiri maintained that ODM is a social democratic party which believes in social protection for the vulnerable including persons with disabilities.
“Persons with Disabilities should be careful with those who want to whip emotions to gain sympathy by misleading information that is an individual responsibility, change starts from and with us, ” Kakiri added.
“We know ‘Muthungu wa Ruiru’ normalizes insensitivity in a political sense and we should not be crying foul when it starts With us!”
Statement by the ODM Disability League on allegations by Hon. Isaac Mwaura… the League clarified that the remark made by our Dir of Campaigns @JunetMohamed was political to mean that Mwaura likes changing face to suit the political moment #TukoTayari pic.twitter.com/9fcSM7w0WI
— The ODM Party (@TheODMparty) February 10, 2021
The organisation of Persons with Disability had on Sunday condemned Junet’s remarks saying they amount to an abuse of dignity of persons with disabilities.
“Junet Mohammed should immediately withdraw and apologies for his rather unfortunate, demeaning and derogatory remarks towards our leader Sen Isaac Mwaura if at all he deserves the title of an honourable member, ” they said.
“…Nomination slots are not favours dished out by political parties but rather we fought for these slots in the constitution as an affirmative action in order to overcome the barriers associated with the election of persons with disabilities into parliament due to persistent stigma and discrimination.
Junet later issued an apology saying his comments did not in any way reflect his opinions of people born with albinism “as upstanding citizens of our county”.
“My comments were directed at the rotten character of Isaac Mwaura who exploits his disability for personal gain and incitement of violence, ” the MP said in a tweet.