2022 POLLS

PWD tell IEBC to include deaf Kenyans during voter education

Muchiri said IEBC messages are getting transmitted through the media without sign language interpretation.

In Summary

• The National Council for Persons With Disabilities and the Integrated Development Facility said the exclusion has also happened in previous elections.

• Messages transmitted through broadcast media (radio and television) to provide voters with knowledge on how to participate in the electoral process leave out deaf citizens.

The National Council for Persons With Disabilities chairman Peter Muchiri and member Rockefeller Okeyo during Internal Deaf Awareness Week in Homa Bay town on September 24,2021
The National Council for Persons With Disabilities chairman Peter Muchiri and member Rockefeller Okeyo during Internal Deaf Awareness Week in Homa Bay town on September 24,2021
Image: ROBERT OMOLLO
Stakeholder Mathew Owili speaks duringthe Internal Deaf Awareness Week in Homa Bay town on September 24,2021
Stakeholder Mathew Owili speaks duringthe Internal Deaf Awareness Week in Homa Bay town on September 24,2021
Image: ROBERT OMOLLO

People living with disability want the IEBC to factor in the deaf in voter education messages ahead of the 2022 General Election.

The National Council for Persons With Disabilities and the Integrated Development Facility said the exclusion has also happened in previous elections.

Messages transmitted through broadcast media (radio and television) to provide voters with knowledge on how to participate in the electoral process leave out deaf citizens.

Speaking on Friday during the close of the Internal Deaf Awareness Week in Homa Bay town, council chairperson Peter Muchiri and IDF project officer Japheth Ojijo told the IEBC to start considering the deaf in all voter education messages.

Muchiri said IEBC messages are transmitted through the media without sign language interpretation.

“The council has approached the IEBC over the matter; we hope they will immediately incorporate the deaf in their messages. They present messages in audio form which the deaf cannot understand,” Muchiri said.

The official called on the IEBC to ensure all public messages presented on TV are accompanied with sign language interpretation.

“It’s everyone’s right to participate in elections, hence impaired persons must also be considered in the voter education messages,” Muchiri added.

They also appealed to media houses, especially TV stations to include sign language interpreters for their programmes, not just focusing on news alone.

Muchiri said they have presented the matter to the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK).

“Today, Kenyan TV channels have sign language for news alone and this portrays that the deaf should consume news only. We urge the authority to ensure there are sign language interpreters for TV programmes too,” Muchiri said.

Ojijo argued that the deaf are a crucial voter segment which should not be left out in any electoral process.

The National Council for Persons With Disabilities chairperson Peter Muchiri during the Internal Deaf Awareness Week in Homa Bay town on September 24,2021
The National Council for Persons With Disabilities chairperson Peter Muchiri during the Internal Deaf Awareness Week in Homa Bay town on September 24,2021
Image: ROBERT OMOLLO