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Bagbin given 4days to apologize to PWDs

The Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations {GFD} has given the MP for Nadowli West Constituency and Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin an ultimatum of 4 days starting from today  to come out and render an unqualified apology to persons with disabilities and the people of Ghana.

The demand by the GFD followed what many described as reckless statement made by the 2nd deputy speaker early this week while addressing party supporters.

“There were some of these mistakes that cost us dearly. Let me cite another example, in our tradition if you are not whole can you be a chief or grandmother? So, if you form a government and make the minister of Chieftaincy a blind person and the chiefs are objecting and you don’t change him what are you telling the chiefs”, Mr Alban Bagbin asked party communicators during his tour of the Volta Region to solicit the support of delegates.

Speaking at the press briefing in Accra, Dr Obeng Asamoah, Executive Director, Ghana Blind Union expressed dissatisfaction about the statement made by the Hon. Speaker when he travelled to the Volta Region.

‘’we are highly shocked and surprised at the reckless and unenlightened statement made by Alban Bagbin about Dr Henry Seidu Danaa, former minister in charge of chieftaincy and traditional affairs and Dr Edward Omane Boamah, Former Minister of Communications; claiming their appointment as persons with disabilities caused the National Democratic Congress {NDC} to lose 2016 elections’’.

It is most unfortunate that such a statement should come from a political leader of stature like Mr. Alban Bagbin who was part of the parliament that passed the Persons with Disability Act 2006{ Act 715} and we as persons with disabilities are very disappointed he said.

‘’ we are very concerned that whilst society is thinking of diversity and inclusive development for all, such statements have a tendency to reverse all efforts and progress that the disability movement have made through sensitization and awareness raising on the rights of persons with disabilities and their participation in governance’’.

‘’we want to remind Mr. Bagbin that the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, Persons with Disabilities Act 715, the United Nations Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Sustainable Development Goals {SDGs} frown upon discrimination and exclusion of all persons’’.

His specific reference to persons with visual and speech disabilities as a reason for the decline in popularity of a political party is most unfortunate. What is most disturbing is the contest in which he placed his statement , this sought to imply that persons with disabilities are not full human beings since according to him you must be ‘’whole’’ to become a chief. Consequently, he sees the decision to make a blind person as a Minister of State as a mistake.

‘’we wish to draw Mr. Bagbin’s attention that, Dr Seidu Danaa and Dr Edward Omane Boamah’s appointments were based on their credentials and competence. This is what we expect him to focus on as a leader of this nation.

We are therefore calling on him to render an unqualified apology to persons with disabilities in particular and the people of Ghana. If he did not intend any negativity or mischief with his statement, then it should not be difficult for him to do this.

 

By: Latifa Carlos

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