Tangible Inspiration: Mohamed Abdullahi (Medize Medize)
”Appreciate yourself before the World recognizes you”-Medize Medize
“If you can’t get a miracle, become one.” (Nick Vujicic)
Today the 13th October 2018 the 7th Desert Wheelrace kicks off and we kick it off with another inspirational individual Mohamed Abdullahi.
In the run up to the 2017 elections a remarkable young man was campaigning on his wheelchair in what he describes as one of the fights of his life. He wanted to become the Member of Parliament for Isiolo North Constituency and had he won then he would have become the first person living with disability to be elected from Northern Kenya. He lost but he made history nonetheless by being the first PWD to contest, a period that remains one of his most epic and an inspiring journey of his life.
Mohamed Abdullahi popularly known as Medize Medize, is a name that does not strike in many minds instantly but Medize is a young disabled man who has achieved so much despite the challenges that life has thrown at him. 2nd born in a family of 8 Medize is the son of Mr. Abdullahi Gabale and Mrs. Rukia Abdirahman. Born in 1988, Medize was struck by polio hen he was 5 years old. This has changed his life forever and was forced to use crutches. It was a devastating news to his parents who were helpless but reconciling with what fate fed them, they made an unprecedented resolve to walk with Medize all the way. A journey that is as fascinating as its challenging and at times frustrating. God’s will they said was the best will and Medize was in very good hands.
Just like many children of his age he was enrolled at Ngaremara Primary School and sat his KCPE in 2004. He could however not proceed to high school because his parents could not afford the school fees. For 2 years he stayed at home. This was a time where the disabled were not visible. Medize describes the two years of forced sabbatical from his learning as the darkest in his life but adds ”if you have seen darkness for long you get used to it”. He said he cried a lot alone but realized that it he has to pick up himself because whining was not helping. On his wheelchair he strikes you as inspiration itself and ignites a warm calmness in me as we chat over a cup of tea. ”I knew my star will shine come what may” says Medize with determination as if he knew what was coming his way. Luck came calling in the form of a Good Samaritan from Netherlands called Lillian who promised to pay for his secondary education at the Joytown special school for the disabled in Thika. Medize completed his high school studies in the year of the referendum 0f 2010 when the country was in the grip of unprecedented constitutional change. Completing his high schooling was both important as is ordinarily is but also a fete less accomplished by many with his kind of disability in our continent. With greater determination and burning desire to develop himself he enrolled for a diploma in Information and Technology course at Inorero University. ”I am a fighter and will stop for nothing short of excellence ” he says with eyes oozing passion.
Ever smiling, he says he thinks his parents loved him more than his siblings and he did not disappoint them. He strived and measured to their expectation given the circumstance. In his 30s Medize who is the liason officer at Almasi Children Home in Isiolo say he feels the world is his oyester and aims aims for higher.
The 2017 Election
“Sauti Ya Wanyonge” was his slogan as he traversed the whole of Isiolo North with a small microphone to raise his political agenda. “It is the situation of my people that pushed me to contest and my desire was to change the face of the poor people in my constituency,” he says. He received immense support and reception from all quarters as people were amazed by his courage to contest despite the challenges. He campaigned with gusto traveling to far flung areas like Bassa, Biliqo and Merti asking the voters to give him the job of representing them and advocating for their rights. “How did you feel after losing?” I ask. “Who said I lost?” He remarks. “I vied despite the challenges and I went all through up to the ballot and if you ask me I’ll tell you I won so many hearts and I have inspired thousands to dream and make their dreams a reality,” he says.
Challenges and Motivation
Medize’s motivation is to change the perception people have about disability and the disabled and is determined to change perceptions. “I wake up every day with thoughts of someone like me struggling somewhere and my hope is for them to have it better than me,” he says. He is determined to be the champion for the rights of those neglected and ensure they get the same rights and opportunities like any other normal person out there. To him PWDs are able to do what normal people can do and he is hoping that they will be included in decision making and given an equal platform to pursue their goals and dreams.
County and National Government have done little for PwDs he says. “Isiolo County Government has done little to support PWDs. I applied for both CEC and CO position in the County but I was left out in spite of the fact that I supported Dr. kuti during the elections,” he laments. He notes that both the National and County Governments have ignored the disabled and urges this to change if we are to have a working and just society.
What are you planning for the future I ask him. ”I am the first PwD to contest for an elective post in Northern Kenya and that is just the beginning” he says with a smile. ”That was success and I am sure it will be a break through the ceiling for many PwD and I am proud I have beaten a path for them” Medize continues.
Many feel encouraged and motivated he says. ”You know even able bodied women cannot contest in our cutthroat, sharp elbow political contest and it was a huge achievement for me in 2017 to show PwD that they can and should throw their hat in the ring and not wait to be asked or nominated. I assure you I will be on the ballot in 2022 In shaa Allah he chuckles . “Mtetezi Wa Wanyonge has only taking a break to strategize for 2022.Nothing will stop me from standing up to be counted among my people,” He concludes.