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Ideas & Debate

EDITORIAL: Enforce regulations on buildings’ accessibility



A view of Nairobi. FILE PHOTO \ NMG
A view of Nairobi. FILE PHOTO \ NMG 

It is indeed quite shocking to learn that 94 percent of buildings in Nairobi are not accessible to blind people.

This sorry state of events is despite the fact that there is a law that states that buildings should be accessible to people with visual impairment.

The slow implementation of the Disability Act that was passed 15 years ago is quite shameful.

It cannot be business as usual when a section of the society is denied access to basic services merely because of ineptness in implementing the law.

According to the 2019 Ability Programme White Draft, only three out of every 50 buildings in the capital city are accessible to the blind.

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And only 14 or 2.8 percent of the 510 buildings that were surveyed are accessible to people with visual impairment.

According to the report, 51 buildings in Nairobi are completely inaccessible with 28 of them being private structures.

Under the moderately accessible buildings category, there were 200 buildings with 102 of them being public.

We aver that the government needs to step up compliance by building owners by meting out punishment where necessary.

The failure to comply with the dictates of the Kenyan law merely proves that non-compliance is as a result of being treated with kid’s gloves.

That is why some of the buildings were rated at between zero and 20 percent in the survey while some of their compliant counterparts were at 90 percent.

The dire situation is also replicated in other parts of the country hence there is need for the national and county governments to work in unison to ensure compliance in both the private and public sectors.

The survey also found that 44 out of 58 streets that were mapped in Nairobi did not have parking slots for the disabled while only two streets had parking slots for white cane users. The temerity with which some people shun those living with disability is worrying and needs to change.

We urge the authorities to ensure that everyone in society is treated fairly and with a basic modicum of respect.

There is need to ensure that every Kenyan regardless of their disability is enabled to have unfettered access to service delivery at all times. The society cannot afford to remain segmented by denying some people access to offices, schools, hospitals and other venues.

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