Lobbyists want low numbers of registered voters with disabilities investigated

Lobbyists want low numbers of registered voters with disabilities investigated

A section of civil society leaders has petitioned the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to probe the ‘low numbers of registered voters with disabilities’ as revealed by a KMPG report.

Under the banner of the United Disabled Persons of Kenya (UDPK), they said that the revelations during the Kenya voters audit did not capture the true picture of the number of legible voters living with disabilities.

The KMPG report disclosed that there are only 146,000 persons with disabilities who are identifiable in the voter register.

But according to a 2009 National Housing and Population Census, there are at least 4 million Kenyans living with disabilities.

UDPK held that with numbers of registered voters already released, the number of persons with disabilities is very low.

“……it is generally agreed that the percentage of persons with disabilities in Kenya is far higher than as high as 15 per cent of the population, using current World Health Organization calculations. This means that over 6.6 million Kenyans have a disability,” Mr Anderson Gitonga Executive Director at UDPK said in a statement.

Gitonga said with the huge disparity between what is official and what IEBC captured, there is a likelihood that planning to cater for needs of persons with disabilities to participate in the elections is already compromised.

“As such IEBC has to find out the reasons for the disparity and importantly find ways to ensure that all persons with disabilities fully participate in the electoral process,” he advised.

“It is possible that IEBC could have missed capturing a higher percentage of persons with disabilities for a number of reasons,”

The lobbyists lamented that during the mass voter registration exercise, there was no explicit attempt to target persons with disabilities to register as voters.

They reckon sensitizing the population living disabilities to register as voters to participate in the political process has mainly been left to disabled persons organizations.

 

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