Kenya: a voice for PWDs: what has been achieved so far

Today, a voice from Kenya: the voice of Isaac Mwaura, senator for persons living with disabilities (PWDs). He is the first Member of Parliament (MP) in Kenya with albinism. It is important to emphasize the fact that Isaac Mwaura himself is a person living with albinism, so he knows what he’s talking about. He knows the constraints which people living with disabilities have to face in society, he knows what discrimination means in practice, he knows the dangers which notably people living with albinism have to confront.

You’ll find his impressive Wikipedia page here. Isaac Mwaura can be followed on Twitter where he tweets as @MwauraIsaac1

In the message reproduced below senator Isaac Mwaura sumps up what he has been able to achieve since he was elected in parliament. It is an impressive list, though far from complete. Still much has to be done to protect the interests of people living with albinism which forms a broad and varied group. It is significant that – inter alinea – he mentions that he has been able to rescue Kenyans with albinism, including children, from ritual killing. 

In several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa people with albinism are being hunted, kidnapped, mutilated and killed for obscure reasons based on superstition. The example of Isaac Mwaura merits to be duplicated in other SSA countries. Let his voice be heard!
(webmaster FVDK).

A voice for PWDs: What we achieved so far

Isaac Mwaura speaking at the Albinism Society of Kenya during the 5th celebration of the International Albinism Awareness day on Saturday, June 13, 2020 in Nairobi.
PHOTO DENNIS ONSONGO

Published: February 26, 2021
By: Star, Kenya – Isaac Mwaura

Dear reader,

People have been asking me what has been achieved so far in representing people living with disability in Parliament and politics in general.

My answer is simple: A lot has really been achieved, against all odds.

It’s important to note the marginalisation, stigma and discrimination against  persons with disabilities has been going on for thousands of years. This is largely because of the way many societies perceive the functional, and indeed, utilitarian aspects of a human being, especially a child who is born differently.

Disability in many societies has been seen as a taboo, a bad omen or even a disease. Therefore, very few people are socialised to embrace it. This means a lot of the work we do is to ‘deconstruct’ these notions on one hand, and also to increase equal opportunities  for PWD.

In my journey for eight years since the constitutionally recognised representation of PWDs, the first thing I did upon assumption of office was to form an association of all MPs with disabilities.

I formed the Kenya Disability Parliamentary Association (Kedipa) with 13 members, five of whom were nominated to represent persons with disabilities, six directly elected by the people in single member constituencies, and one being a parent.

Kedipa became the first caucus of its kind in the history of Parliament. The aim was to create synergy amongst MPs for the disability agenda to be promoted in Parliament. 

For example, Parliament wasn’t as accessible to wheelchair users and people with other mobility difficulties. In this regard, we pushed for the modification of the chamber and provided an extra aide to assist those with mobility difficulties.

Through legislative proposals, I have been able to to increase the retirement age of PWDs from 60 to 65 years to compensate for years lost due to lack of employment.

I have also been able to help hundreds of PWDs secure jobs in the public and private sectors. I have also ensured several of them were appointed to  constitutional offices such as constitutional commissions.

A very interesting innovation is the enrollment of youth with disabilities into the National Youth Service. This paramilitary training was perceived as not attainable by PWDs, yet hundreds have since graduated with useful skills for the nation. This is the world’s first programme of its kind.

In terms of education, I have successfully pushed to increase funding to special schools, helped create a full directorate of special needs education from a division at the Ministry of Education.

I pushed to create a special allocation of funds to education assessment resources centres and ensured all boards of management in all public schools include a representative of PWDs.

For the first time in the history of Parliament, special schools learners have visited the House to follow live proceedings, and I have enabled some of them to get school buses.

I have also visited special schools across many counties in far-off places such as as Lisa Hola School for the Deaf in Tana River.

PWDs are now represented in the NGCDF from the constituency level to the national board. They are also represented in all the Uwezo Fund committees.

Kenya Sign Language has now been elevated to  to English and Kiswahili to ensure the deaf have an equal chance, over and above ensuring TV stations provide this critical service.

In government budgeting, I pushed to increase the funds allocated to the NCPWD from Sh700 million to Sh1.8 billion to cater for amongst others,  cash transfer for Kenyans with severe disabilities.

Further, persons with albinism receive free sunscreen lotion, protective gear and skin cancer treatment from the government, thanks to my work.

I also started the Mr & Miss Albinism beauty pageantry to create awareness. Then other African countries have adopted this.

I have also lobbied for the creation of the position of the Africa Union Special Envoy on the rights of persons with albinism. I have also lobbied the EU Parliament to adopt fair treatment of albinism as a human rights issue.

Additionally, I have also rescued Kenyans with albinism, including children, from ritual killing. In 2019, I helped PWAs to be counted for the first time, including the intersex persons who heretofore hadn’t been recognised in Kenya.

Through the AT2030 project, I have pushed for the production of a local electric wheelchair that is affordable and durable in our terrain.

I have sponsored the highest number of bills in the Senate.

A lot remains to be done but we have progress to build upon for a better tomorrow for all of us. As someone said, disability is a club, anybody can be a member.

Source: A voice for PWDs: What we achieved so far

Uganda’s fight against the evil ‘medicine men’ who remove children’s limbs and organs for human sacrifice

In the villages of Uganda a new breed of witch doctors is hunting and kidnapping children to cut off their ears, noses and genitals. Often the witch doctors decapitate the boys or remove whole arms and legs of victims. Witch doctor Kivumbi Awali is pictured after his arrest

Published: June 24, 2019 
By: Stephen Gibbs – for Daily Mail Australia

  • Ritual killing of children by witch doctors takes place in Uganda, in East Africa
  • Body parts, blood or tissue are removed from boys and girls while they are alive
  • Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga saves mutilated victims and hunts the witch doctors
  • His work is partly funded by generous donations from a small Australian charity  

In the villages of Uganda a new breed of witch doctor is hunting and kidnapping children to cut off their ears, noses and genitals. 

Sometimes the medicine men remove whole arms and legs or drain blood from a boy or girl’s body while the victim is still alive. 

Sometimes the victim’s parents help decapitate their child.

Human sacrifice is not some ancient cultural ritual practised in this east African country, rather it is a barbaric modern way for cruel charlatans to make money.

Children in rural Uganda are kidnapped by witch doctors who torture and often murder them as part of a supposed spiritual sacrifice. 

The witch doctors mutilate the children and use their blood, tissue or organs in rituals they promise can bring clients protection, prosperity and good health. 

Child sacrifice survivor Allan Ssembatya was set upon in a Ugandan village called Busolo in 2009. ‘My son was coming home from school,’ his father says.  ‘They took him to the bush. They cut him. This cut on his head, this cut on his neck, damage to his private parts…’

In one of the most macabre practices to have developed, children are decapitated and their heads buried in new building foundations to bring success to businesses.

Fighting this terrible trade is pastor Peter Sewakiryanga who saves children scarred by ritual mutilation, and helping him is a small group of Australians.

Pastor Peter, a former accountant, started campaigning against child sacrifice about a decade ago and runs charity Kyampisi Childcare Ministries.

He helps rehabilitate survivors and raise awareness of the practice, working with politicians, police, prosecutors and judges to bring offenders to justice. 

Pastor Peter’s work features in an episode of the SBS program Dateline called How to Catch a Witch Doctor to air on Tuesday night. 

The program follows Pastor Peter and Brisbane civil engineer Rodney Callanan as they hunt for a witch doctor who allegedly almost killed six-year-old Allan Ssembatya ten years ago. 

Reporter Amos Roberts speaks to Allan’s father Hudson Semwanga about what happened to his boy in a village called Busolo in the district of Kayunga on October 21, 2009.

Justice Margaret Mutonyi is pictured with a girl whose hands have been cut off. ‘We have a society that believes in witchcraft,’ she tells the SBS program Dateline. ‘The majority of the population including Christians who go to church, they consult these witch doctors’
Robert Mukwaya suffered spinal injuries so serious it was thought he would never walk again. He had been snoozing in his grandmother’s kitchen in a village near Lake Victoria when a man dragged him out of the room and stabbed him in the neck. He underwent surgery in Australia

‘My son was coming home from school,’ Mr Semwanga says. ‘They took him to the bush. They cut him.

‘This cut on his head, this cut on his neck, damage to his private parts, in my view it’s very surprising that Allan is alive. 

‘What hurts me the most is that they were people that knew me really well, I grew up with them, I went to school with them. We used to treat each other as family.’ 

One of the two men accused of kidnapping and cutting up Allan is witch doctor Kivumbi Awali, who was secretly filmed by a BBC crew in 2011.

The crew posed as members of a construction company looking for a witch doctor who could bring their business prosperity. 

They were introduced to Awali, who killed a goat for good luck at their first meeting, then a few days later explained what he said was his most powerful spell: human sacrifice. 

Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga holding Hope, a young victim of child sacrifice. ‘They prey on the desperation of the people who are sick and are poor,’ Pastor Peter told Daily Mail Australia. ‘Even the elite who live in the city and are rich are now engaged’
Rodney Callanan, from the Brisbane charity Droplets In A Stream, helps fund the pursuit of Ugandan witch doctors who have not been brought to justice. ‘Unfortunately, the police, the courts in Uganda are grossly underfunded,’ Mr Callanan tells Dateline 

‘There are two ways of doing this,’ Awali was recorded telling the bogus businessmen. ‘We can bury the child alive on your construction site.’

‘Or we cut the child, and put their blood in a bottle of spiritual medicine. If it’s a male, the whole head is cut off, and his genitals.’

When Awali was finally arrested by police in the company of Pastor Peter and Mr Callanan he had a machete in his custody. As he was led away he complained his handcuffs were too tight.

Awali was charged with attempted murder and aggravated trafficking. 

His case is still before the courts and if convicted he could face a death sentence or life in jail. 

Allan is one of five child victims of human sacrifice Pastor Peter has helped bring to Australia for life-changing surgery. 

‘Sometimes it’s difficult to talk about what happened to me,’ the now 16-year-old tells Dateline. ‘And sometimes when I talk about it I start crying.

‘I remember the injuries I got, I remember when I was taken, I tried to struggle to run, they hit me up and they did whatever they wanted. So when I think about it I cry.’ 

Pastor Peter is supported by a Brisbane-based charity called Droplets In A Stream which provides education and health care opportunities to victims of child sacrifice who survive.

A witch doctor advertises his work outside his house in Kampala, the Ugandan capital. ‘A traditional healer with powers over spirits solves all cases, demons, thieves, tooth decay, madness, fevers, appelipse, genital affairs’. 

Doctors at Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital and Brisbane’s Mater Children’s Private Hospital have operated on rescued children free of charge. 

‘Australia has been so kind,’ Pastor Peter said. ‘These children would otherwise be dead.’

Witch doctors practising child sacrifice are motivated solely by money but pretend to be adhering to cultural beliefs to justify their crimes.

‘They prey on the desperation of the people who are sick and are poor,’ Pastor Peter told Daily Mail Australia. ‘Even the elite who live in the city and are rich are now engaged.

‘The problem is a national issue. It started in poor pockets of the community. Now it’s widespread. 

‘It has crossed boundaries into families killing their own children.’ 

The extent of this trade is hard to judge but Pastor Peter says he works with between 20 and 25 cases each year.

‘The issue is done under such secrecy it’s hard to estimate numbers. I can trace it to ten to 15 years ago.’ 

Balluonzima Christ (left) and Rose Ajiba (right) hold a photograph of their daughter Caroline Aya, who was allegedly killed in a sacrificial ceremony in the town of Jinja in southern Uganda 

‘It’s not part of our culture. It hides in our culture. It must be condemned.’

Droplets In A Stream, which Mr Callanan co-founded, also helps fund the pursuit of witch doctors who have not been brought to justice.  

‘Unfortunately, the police, the courts in Uganda are grossly underfunded,’ Mr Callanan tells Dateline.

‘Many cases actually don’t go to court or to trial because of lack of funding. And that’s one of our biggest roles in this area and that’s financial support.’

Judge Margaret Mutonyi tells the program: ‘We have a society that believes in witchcraft.’

‘The majority of the population including Christians who go to church, they consult these witch doctors.’

Paul Odida, a repentant witch doctor, now helps Pastor Paul raise awareness of the issue of human sacrifice. He visits villages to explain how the witch doctors instill fear in communities

In one scene Pastor Peter examines photographs of a boy approximately ten years old whose body was found dumped in the bush. 

‘So they cut off the ears, they cut through the neck and cut out the throat and cut off the limbs,’ he says. ‘Body parts were missing. The tongue, the legs, the genitals.’ 

The program also features Robert Mukwaya who in 2014 suffered spinal injuries so serious it was thought he would never walk again. 

Robert had been snoozing in his grandmother’s kitchen in a village near Lake Victoria when a man dragged him out of the room and stabbed him in the neck. 

He was left paralysed but surgery at Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital two years ago has allowed him to regain the use of his legs.  

In another scene Pastor Peter and Mr Callanan visit a village to warn about the practice of child sacrifice.  

‘Why we are here is we heard of a story of a child who was sacrificed here and unfortunately the people that kill these children are among us,’ Pastor Peter says.

‘Please, if you know who killed our child, just come and tell us, call the number, we will even put a reward. Please don’t fear. If you fear, next time it will be your child.’

How To Catch A Witch Doctor airs on Dateline on Tuesday, June 25 at 9.30pm on SBS. It can be watched later on SBS On Demand.

Allan Ssembatya (left) with father Hudson and Pastor Peter (right) after learning of one of his alleged attackers, Kivumbi Awali, has been arrested

Source: How to catch a witch doctor: Uganda’s fight against the evil ‘medicine men’ who remove children’s limbs and organs for human sacrifice – and the Australian charity helping bring them to justice

Related article: Pastor receives funding boost for iconic rehab centre for child sacrifice survivors
Published: June 24, 2019
By: Aaron Sseruyigo   

Executive director of Kyampisi Childcare Ministries in Mukono, Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga (M) receives a financial boost for his efforts to end Child sacrifice in Uganda during The Entrepreneurial Business School (EBS) Gala Charity Awards Dinner in Australia (Courtesy Photo)

Pastor receives funding boost for iconic rehab centre for child sacrifice survivors

Together, we will end child sacrifice, Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga says.

Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga who runs Kyampisi Childcare Ministries, a Christian charity seeking to stamp out child sacrifice in Uganda, has received a cash donation of $134,225 (approximately Ush491 million) for a rehabilitation centre expected to be a safe place for children who have been victims of child sacrifice and trafficking.

Pastor Peter received the funds from the Bruce Campbell Entrepreneurial Business School whose founder and Principal Business Coach, Mr Bruce Campbell, has been extensively awarded for his work through various international bodies.  

This happened in Australia over the weekend.

“We are humbled by the incredible continuous support of the Bruce Campbell Entrepreneurial Business School,” Kyampisi Childcare Ministries said in an update on Sunday.

“Thank you for this generosity, partnering with us in our efforts to build a new Trauma Rehabilitation Centre for kids abused through Child sacrifice and trafficking. What a community full of love and compassion. Together we will End Child Sacrifice,” they added.

Pastor Peter takes care of several child survivors of trafficking and human sacrifice and has built an extensive network linking communities and security to track suspected cases. 

In his remarks earlier in March, Mr Bruce Campbell said, “This will be the largest rehab centre of its kind in Uganda (& maybe Africa). So honored to be a board member and help guiding this life changing organisation.”

The organisation, Kyampisi Childcare Ministries (KCM) condemns witch doctors’ brutal ritual of child sacrifice, and has brought to books several culprits this year in the capital of Kampala alone.

In his recent interview with local media, Pastor Peter explained that victims of child sacrifice in Uganda carry with them serious and disturbing life scars and injuries which include complete genital mutilations, castration, deep stab wounds, missing tongues, ears, as well as emotional and psychological scars that need life time healing.

Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga (Courtesy Photo)

Working each day to bring Christ’s hope and healing to these children, Sewakiryanga’s devotion to the cause in 2017 attracted The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) who during an interview with the preacher, joined undercover detectives and armed police in a hunt for witch doctors accused of kidnapping and killing children.

“When they get the child, most times they cut the neck, they take the blood out, they take the tissue, they cut the genitals or any other body organs that they wish that the spirits want.” Pr Sewakiryanga said.

Child body parts are especially prized in rituals because people believe mixing their blood with herbs makes a strong concoction that can cure diseases and appease local spirits. Genitalia are especially prized.

“The problem is increasing and many children are killed, and there are very few actually that survive, most of them die.” Pr Sewakiryanga added.

According to CBN News, Kyampisi Childcare Ministries is the only organization in the country providing long-term financial and medical care to survivors of child sacrifice.

“We want to see that the life of a child who has survived is supported, that they are socially able to stand and heal from the injuries, and that they can have a life after that,” said Pastor Sewakiryanga.

He also works with Ugandan lawmakers to help draft specific laws targeting perpetrators of child sacrifice.

In 2018, Pastor Peter was one of two Ugandan activists recognised by The European Union (EU) for their tireless campaign to stop child trafficking.

He was credited for championing research and spearheading an awareness campaign in communities to stop the crime.