Executive Office of the Deputy President of Republic of Kenya
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua together with his spouse Pastor Dorcas Rigathi, the Patron of the Special Olympics Kenya, hosts the team that represented Kenya in the just-concluded Special Olympics games in Berlin, Germany at the Karen Official Residence on June 28, 2023. The team Scooped 15 Gold, 4 Silver and 6 Bronze medals. The DP said the government will reward them for their sterling performance. Photo | DPCS.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and his Spouse, Pastor Dorcas Rigathi, on Wednesday hosted the Berlin Special Olympics World Games winners at the Official Residence in Karen, Nairobi, where he awarded them Sh10.2 million for their performance.

The team won 25 medals (15 Gold Medals, 4 Silver Medals and 6 Bronze) in the games held in Berlin, Germany, last week. 

The DP said the Ruto administration will ensure everybody who participates in sports is recognized and appreciated.

“l will talk to the Cabinet Secretary for Sports and the Principal Secretary to create a significant portion of the budget for the special persons to facilitate and support them to excel and market the Brand Kenya,” the DP said. 

Mr Gachagua said the team had excelled and brought joy to the country adding they will get full support from the government. 

“We will discuss with the Ministry on how to support the Special team. We also ask the media to highlight and publicize the victory of the Berlin Special Olympics World Games winners. They are only abled differently and have other capacities. Disability is not inability,” said Mr Gachagua.

Pastor Rigathi is also the Patron of the team.

Present were Sports Principal Secretary Peter Tum, Kipipiri MP Wanjiku Muhia and other officials.

In the cash rewards those who won gold medals each received Sh750,000, while the silver medalists got Sh500,000 each. Bronze medalists received Sh300,000 each. 

Since some of the participants in the team have intellectual disability, the Deputy President said the government will continue facilitating structural reforms for people living with disabilities to exploit their full potential. 

The Deputy President observed that the ability of the team to scoop dozens of medals was not a mean feat.

“You did not break the ceiling; you proved that with sheer determination, there is no ceiling in the first place. President William Ruto and I are proud of you! Kenya is proud of you,” he said.

Noting that there were various barriers in law perpetuating retrogressive perceptions about people living with disabilities, the Deputy President said the Executive will work with Members of National Assembly to ensure such offending and repugnant sections of the law are aligned to today’s reality. 

“The society has set unfortunate standards that those living with intellectual impairment are harshly judged and condemned as a socio-economic burden to the family and society. In some cases, such children are segregated and detained in squalor conditions to await their fate; they are perceived to be of meaningless contribution to the community. This is a perception that has been perpetuated from the old days when such children were abandoned,” said Mr Gachagua.

He singled out Section 146 of the Penal Code which uses demeaning, discriminative and abusive language against people living with mental disabilities such as referring to them as “imbeciles” and “idiots”. 

The unsuitable language was imported from the colonial Penal Code in 1963, he said.

“This is not only offensive and repugnant to the Constitution of Kenya, but also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other regional and international human rights instruments, which recognise all human beings with full rights and dignity,” said Mr Gachagua.