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04.12.2007 Politics

Stop The Polarisation — Appiah-Menka

A Renowned industrialist, Mr Akenten Appiah Menka, has called for a national crusade to eliminate the serious political,social and economic disabilities which retard socio-economic growth.

He expressed regret that party politics had so much polarised the nation that even serious social and economic challenges that needed a common voice to address were viewed with political lenses, causing the nation to lose eventually.

At the inauguration of the Kwabre District Coalition of the Physically Challenged at Mampongteng on Tuesday, Mr Appiah-Menka said the country was currently confronted with a rising crime wave, some resulting in death, and that if any meaningful impact could be made to bring the situation under control, then it should be de-coupled from party politics.

Mr Appiah-Menka also mentioned the growing indiscipline and the breakdown of family values as some of the social challenges facing the nation.

On the “economic disability” of the nation, Mr Appiah-Menka said: “The one man one vote we have struggled to acquire for the last 50 years has not as yet been translated into one man one bread.

Can we keep on importing rice, milk, sugar, tin tomatoes, fish, chicken and our basic stable needs to feed the nation when God has endowed the nation with land, vegetation and weather for the Ghanaian to cultivate, develop and feed ourselves?”

He stressed the need for a national crusade and courage to clear the nation of the disability in the nation's vision and conscience, which had been dictated by the one-sided view of party politics so that the nation could decide to do what was right in the interest of the present and future generations.

Mr Appiah-Menka said it was only the Ghanaian who could make Ghana what he/she expected it to be. He suggested that the nation took a second look at its financial and banking systems to create native industrial and business giants in the country.

He questioned why “we have afflicted physical disability of hunger, want of jobs, homelessness, disease and illiteracy on our people after 50 years of political independence,” and that this must not be attributed to any political party or a particular government but the people themselves.

He called for a change of attitude to work and the negative perception of whatever came from political opponents.

He advised the Kwabre physically challenged persons that they were not alone in their visible physical disability for there was equally the crisis of the national disability of the people's mentality and economic empowerment that deprived them of the freedom of thought for the national interest and prosperity.

The Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Osei Assibey Antwi, stressed that the disabled and vulnerable had the potential of contributing their quota towards national development.

They must therefore see themselves as equally important to the national development process. He said the inauguration of the coalition was an opportunity to bring the disabled brothers and sisters together.

The Deputy Minister asked them to embark on outreach programmes for the members to be educated on how to acquire skills.

The National President of the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled (GSPD), Mr Joseph Adu-Boampong, stated that persons with disabilities were often seen as “objects of pity” and treated as second-class citizens.

He stressed that it was against this that the government, civil society, individuals, organisations and churches had been called upon to help persons with disabilities (PWD) to solve some of their problems.

He expressed regret that some District Assemblies continued to deny the physically challenged of their share of the Common Fund.

Mr Adu-Boampong appealed to the government to come up with modules which would solve disability unemployment problems and to benefit from the Millennium Challenge Account.

The District Chief Executive (DCE), Alhaji Akwasi Yeboah, received eight wheelchairs from the Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Church on behalf of the coalition.

Story by Annabella Sarfo Mireku,