The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale South, Haruna Iddrisu, has called for concrete legislative instrument that would create “special constituency” for Persons with Disability (PWD) to enable them offer their hidden potentials to the growth of the country.
The creation of such constituency, according to the MP, implied that special percentage of national positions ought to be given by all political parties at the District Assembly, Ministerial and Parliamentary levels to PWD to offer them the opportunity to participate fully in decision-making processes.
It would also offer the nation and individuals the opportunity to respect and protect the interests of disabled persons.
Mr. Iddrisu made this statement when he addressed some 50 disabled aspiring Assembly Members from the three Northern Regions at a workshop organized by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) in collaboration with Action on Disability and Development (ADD) in Tamale on Saturday July 22, 2006.
The workshop was aimed at encouraging PWD to actively participate in District level elections. It was also used to sensitize them of their rights in society and the importance of the Disability Bill, which is awaiting Presidential assent.
The Tamale South MP, who said he had ever proposed for Parliamentary debate on the creation of the “special constituency” not only for the PWD, but for women and children as well, affirmed his preparation to bring back the issue to Parliament.
“Persons with Disability must enjoy the full benefits of the 1992 constitution”.
Mr. Iddrisu, also a lawyer, proposed that Ghana should take into consideration how best it could provide free education for all disabled persons whom he noted constituted only 10% of the country's population.
He bemoaned the difficulties PWD face trying to access some private and public facilities.
Mr. Abdul Wahab Musah, the Project Coordinator of CDD-Ghana on behalf of the Executive Director of the Centre, Prof. Gyimah-Boadi, pledged CDD-Ghana's continued commitment and support towards the promotion of democracy and good governance.
According to Mr. Wahab, CDD-Ghana, as part of their duties to monitor both national and local government elections, had deployed about 40 pre-election observers including persons with disability to cover the local government elections, which number he said would be increased from 40 to 500 on the Election Day.
He said, “The platform provided by this workshop allows for the merging of the two democratic principles of representation and human rights to further legitimize and deepen the political decision-making processes and promote and protect the rights of the vulnerable in society”.
The Deputy Northern Regional Director of NCCE, Mr. Yakubu Alhassan, spoke on the topic, “Civic and Voter Responsibility of the Vulnerable, Especially the Disabled”.
Regretting some instances where some parents ignorantly murder their new born babies with disabilities under the false notion that persons with disability are evil, Mr. Alhassan cautioned that disabled persons under the human rights and freedom Act 13 (1) have the right to live with their families or foster parents and to participate in social, creative or recreational activities.
The Tamale Metropolitan Electoral Commission (EC) Officer,. Nuhu Mahama, also took the participants through the electoral procedures among other issues.