By Caroline Katana
Walkers from various walk organizations in Kwale and Kilifi counties held a joint walk to sensitize motorists and other road users on the importance of maintaining road safety.
The Diani Walkers, Kwale Walk Movement, and Mariakani Walk Movement members walked a distance of 11 kilometres from Kombani to Diani in Kwale County as they marked the global road safety week.
The sensitization walk was in collaboration with the African Union of the Blind (AFUB), The Outstanding Abilities Kenya (TOA-KE), and the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD).
The walk that flagged off by Kwale County Governor Fatuma Achani. She was among those who trekked for 11 kilometres.
Achani said the move to sensitize the community is critical in ensuring everyone understands the importance of respecting road rules.
She said that her administration will support all initiatives aimed at sensitizing society on matters of road safety.
Addressing the press after the walk AFUB human rights and advocacy officer Abraham Mateta urged the Kenyan government to encourage other governments in Africa to ratify the African disability protocol.
“The disability protocol talks about the issues of accessibility and safety of the environment such as the roads, we are happy that Kenya has ratified this African instrument and we keep on urging them to motivate, to encourage, and even tell their other counterparts about the beauty of ratifying and domesticating the disability protocol,” he said.
Mateta noted only eight countries in Africa have ratified the disability protocol.
“The rate of ratification is disappointing it is very low although this is an African solution to African problems we currently have only eight countries that have embraced the disability instrument so we are calling upon the disability movement to organize and popularize the African disability protocol among persons with disabilities themselves and lobby to their governments to implement the protocol and also there is need to put the disability protocol on the agenda in the African union meetings, ” he added.
He affirmed road safety to be important, especially for visually impaired people
“If the roads are not safe, if people do not recognize our mobility tools like the white cane it means we will not be independent and safe,” he said.
A member of Diani Walkers Lydia Paul said apart from creating road safety awareness the walking initiative helps in networking and also acts as a natural therapy for various challenges affecting individuals.
“We love this initiative because it keeps us fit, we also network with different organizations and people from various friends thereby exchanging ideas on matters including business and job opportunities. This walk initiative is really important to us and we welcome everyone to join us,” said Lydia.
She also noted the importance of sensitizing people on maintaining law and order on the roads saying accidents occur every day due to negligence by some of the road users.
The founder of the Kwale Walk movement, Hamza Abdullah Musa, noted the increasing number of accidents due to poor road safety mechanisms.
“Our main mandate is to sensitize the community on road safety because we have witnessed many people losing their lives and some get permanent disabilities in road accidents as a result of recklessness on roads, there is a need to save a life every day, ” said Hamza.
Mariakani member of the county assembly, who is the founder member of the Mariakani Walk Movement Martha Koki emphasized the need for the bodaboda operators and their passengers to wear protective gear.
“Last week I lost four people in my area following a road accident, they boarded a bodaboda and the rider lost control and died on the spot, three were from the same family. I felt so bad, there is a need to maintain road safety whether you are a driver, bodaboda rider, pedestrian or a passenger. Let us be ambassadors of road safety and save lives,” urged the MCA.
Diani Walkers, Kwale Walk Movement, and Mariakani walk movement organize walks every Saturday to sensitize the community on the importance of improving their health through walking.