Summary of Recommendations
It is estimated that Kenyan Sign Language is the first and preferred language of between 600,000and 800,000 people in the Kenya. Deaf people who use KSL are united by a shared culture,community and history; KSL is fundamental to their self-esteem and social well being. KNADbelieves that official recognition of KSL would bring clear benefits to many thousands of Deaf people in terms of improved access to information and services. Recognition would also promotebetter knowledge and understanding of the language in society as a whole and formallyacknowledge the status of KSL as one of Kenya's second most widely used indigenous nationallanguages as Swahili.KNAD therefore recommends that the Harmonized Draft Constitution be amended as follows:
Chapter 2 Section 9 - Languages and Modes of Communication
(1) The national language of the Republic is Kiswahili and Kenyan Sign Language(KSL).
(2) The official languages of the Republic are Kiswahili, Kenyan Sign Language(KSL) and English.
(3)The State shall respect, promote and protect the diversity of language of thepeople of Kenya and shall promote the development and use of indigenouslanguages including Kenyan Sign Language (KSL).
(4) The State shall promote the development and use of Kenyan Sign Language(KSL), Braille and Tactile for the Deaf-Blind; and appropriate modes of communication for persons with disabilities.
Chapter 6 – Section 43 -Persons living with disabilities
(d) use of Kenyan Sign Language (KSL), Braille, Tactile, Interpreters and other appropriate means of communication for persons with disabilities.
Chapter 11 – Legislature - 144. Official languages of Parliament
The official languages of Parliament shall be Kiswahili, English and KenyanSign Language (KSL) and the business of Parliament may be conducted ineither English or Kiswahili and Kenyan Sign Language (KSL).
Background to this submission
This proposal was discussed at a meeting of KNAD delegates’ conference on 5
December 2009,to which all member individuals, organizations and stakeholders were invited. This submission isbased on those discussions and on subsequent consultations with professionals, academicians,linguists and lawyers.This submission is a culmination and a summary of issues and position given to the earlier Constitution Review Commission between 2000 – 2006 during which in the draft then KSL was tobe recognized as a national/official languages of Kenya. It should be stressed that Deaf peoplewho use KSL are the majority of the Deaf population in Kenya, a relatively small section of theoverall deaf population in Kenya use Signed Exact English (SEE) which is a is a system of manualcommunicationthat strives to be an exact representation of Englishvocabulary and grammar. It is
one of a number of such systems in use in English-speaking countries, which are known