On 23rd June, 2006, exactly 14 years ago, the Disability act, 715, now in the process of review was promulgated to protect and promote the rights and liberties of Persons living With Disabilities(PWDs) in Ghana, a year after the passage of the act, a National Disability Day was conceived and instituted to celebrate the day, as a way of reminding the public of the existence of the law and assessing the impact of it on the lives of PWDs across board.
As we mark another celebration today, there is a bird perching on a very high tree wailing and spewing lamentations, bemoaning the relegation of Disability rights issues to the bottom of National agenda as if it has no supervising Ministry. The sobbing words of the sorrowful bird speak to the abject poverty and misery of the majority of PWDs, denial of opportunities to jobs and decent living and exclusion from participation in governance.
Apparently, the bird 🐦 continuous to express the untold effects of stigmatization, discrimination and marginalization of PWDs which has effectively become the order of the day. Such social vices must give way for the United Nations conventions and protocols which stresses on the need to recognize our inherent human rights in no uncertain terms.
Indeed, the wailing bird condemns successive Governments in their tokenistic approach to addressing human rights concerns of PWDs despite persistent advocacy and sensitization programmes that has to been waged over through all these years.
As we commemorate the day, the agitated bird extends its hand to the Media and all human rights activists to feel the lamentation and stand up with PWDs in the struggle for social equality and equity.
Now, to my Municipal Chief Executive, Hon Mohammed Salisu Bamba and the MP for Ejura sekyedumase constituency, Hon Muhammad Bawa Braimah, I am by this notice appealing with all of you to step up your acts with respect to PWDs across the municipality because the Assembly’s vision statement is at variance with the reality on the ground. It states that, “To create an enabling environment that will lead to improvement in the literacy rate and the reduction of poverty levels of all manner of people in the municipality; ensuring access to basic services and empowerment of the people to participate in decisions that affect them”. What a fantastic vision! But let me draw your attention to phrases such as “……all manner of people……. empowerment of the people……” I just hope PWDs are included? However, as far as PWDs are concerned you have all thrown this lofty vision statement to the wind. With my experience at the Assembly all of you have taken us for guaranted and are playing games with our emotions. The Disability fund which is our legal belonging is being mismanaged and misappropriated left right center with blatant impunity in a broad daylight. This, must be given a second thought.
Again, with the advent of Covid-19 global pandemic, I have read and seen these two able leaders made donations of items to several communities and religious bodies which I commend them for, however, none of them have seen the need to give some of the items to the organization of PWDs here in Ejura sekyedumase Municipality. Why so? What is mind boggling is that, the Disability fund which by now should have been disbursed to ameliorate the plight of PWDs amid this Covid is still sitting down in our account awaiting their agenda. What at all is causing this undue delays at the Assembly?
As parliamentary candidates, I urge them to take steps to strengthen the voice of PWDs and recognize us with our true legal belonging after all, disability is everybody’s lot anytime, anywhere. Therefore, be mindful of what you do to us today. It takes just seconds to become one of us.
Edward Konlan Yennukon
The secretary ( A Disability Activist).
Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD).
Ejura sekyedumase Branch.