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General News of Monday, 13 February 2017

Source: Ernest Lartey

GFD disappointed with Akufo-Addo's ministerial appointments

President Akufo-Addo President Akufo-Addo

A member of the National Communication Committee for the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisation, Alexander Williams has described president Akufo-Addo's ministerial appointments as very disappointing.

According to him, the GFD was looking forward for an all-inclusive government in which the disabled persons will also be in key positions to influence government policies on behalf of the physically challenged and to also contribute to the nation building.

"This government's manifesto policy on disabled persons is the best. But so far none of the key ministers appointed comes from the disabled community and we feel sidelined," Mr. Williams lamented.

Speaking on the 'State of Affairs' on GhOne TV,” Mr. William advocated that the GFD should be given a representation in government so that policies can influenced for their betterment. On his part though abled persons are able to do the job, they cannot always get it right on disability issues because their understanding of the problems confronting physically challenged persons differs from the affected.

He expressed worry that though they are constantly given the platform to be heard nothing changes.

The National Chairman of the GFD, Mr. Anthony Adarkwa, said his federation has equally competent people to serve in any capacity when given the opportunity He also expressed dissatisfaction that government has not considered anybody from the GFD to serve in any of the key ministries but said they will not relent until the president accede to their petition for inclusion.

The National Communications and Media Officer for the GFD, Mr. Adam Abdul Wahab lauded Dr. Danaa Seidu's exploits at the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture as a demonstration that persons with the disability can serve in any capacity.

He expressed surprise at the political stunts always deployed by politicians when they win power saying

"Why is it that within some of the political parties, they have physically challenge persons serving there but when it comes to governance we are being undermined?" Mr. Adam Abdul Wahab questioned.

They advocated for a quota in government to be given to the physically challenged to affirm that they also matter.

The Ghana federation of the disabled also noted that discrimination is still wide spread in Ghana and attributed the problem to lack of implementation of disability policies. They requested the president to lead the way in ending the stigmatization.

All three of them recounted their harrowing stint with stigmatization.

“I was prevented from sitting on the front seat of a public transport and when l persisted, it resulted in an altercation between me and the bus conductor. I stood my ground and sat there. When l got to the bus terminal, l reported the case to the station master and the bus conductor was given two months suspension,” Mr. Anthony Adakwa recounted.

“The family of the woman l wanted to marry prevented me from performing the marriage rites because they deemed it a taboo for a visually impaired person like me to marry from the family. It’s the reason, l’m still not married,” Mr. Alexander Williams narrated.

“After graduating from University, I submitted my application for employment as a teacher. The Human Resource Officer read the letter in front of me and dropped it on his table. As l excused them to take my leave, l overhead the HR and another colleague mocking me ‘ You monkey albino, if we are looking for people to teach, what makes you think we will consider an animal like you,” Mr. Adam Abdul Wahab described his spell with stigmatization.

All panelist agreed that stigmatization against the physically challenged persons in Ghana is still predominant and said that there are places in some parts of the Volta Region where albinos are barred from entering the towns because they are considered bearers of bad omen.

“It’s not only in Tanzania that Albinos like me are used for rituals. In some parts of Ghana too, it is an acceptable practice. There are lot of myths and misconceptions about us – People say we don’t die, we don’t defecate on Fridays and a whole lot but they are all lies,” Mr. Adam Abdul Wahab said.

According to them, until the disability laws are implemented, enforced and people are bound by the law to stop discrimination, they will continue to be mistreated.