Persons with disabilities in Kenya on Sunday demanded an apology from Suna East Member of Parliament Junet Mohamed over what they termed as derogatory remarks against Senator Isaac Mwaura, who is living with albinism.
Junet, a vocal ODM MP, had on Saturday claimed that the Senator, bleached his skin to secure ODM and Jubilee nomination slots to represent people with disability in Parliament, remarks that sparked mixed reactions on social media.
In a press briefing on Sunday, the organisation of Persons with Disabilities condemned the remarks saying they amount to an abuse of dignity of persons with disability.
“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.
“We too have a right to be elected just like any other person and urge Kenyans to elect as many persons with disabilities in the next elections as a means of ensuring that such discrimination and sense of entitlement is done away with.”
The persons with disability group threatened to institute an official complaint to the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) against the MP for contravening articles 27, 54 and 81 of the Constitution, and the provisions of the persons with disabilities act, and any other relevant laws.
“We call upon the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), National Gender & Equality Commission (NGEC) and other human rights bodies to join add their voice to this heinous act, ” the statement adds.
NCIC had on Saturday tweeted that it is considering the matter with the view of taking appropriate action.
“Such utterances are demeaning to persons living with disability, if left unattended it may trigger division between persons of different colours, ” the commission said in a tweet.
The organisation further asked Junet to desist forthwith from issuing any further utterances that shall be construed to demean, defame and misrepresent persons with albinism and indeed any other disability in his public pronouncements.
On claims that the Senator has done nothing to support persons with disabilities in the country, the organisation defended Mwaura saying: “Sen Mwaura has been not only our voice and face in parliament and our country’s politics, but has stood out as one of the best legislators in this country and beyond.”
They added, “Currently, he has sponsored the highest number of bills in the senate and has been awarded severally for this exemplary work… We stand strongly and solidly behind our leader Isaac Mwaura who deserves to be accorded the respect and dignity that he deserves just like any other leader.”