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25.06.2004 General News

Disabled Students Threaten To Boycott Elections.

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Bolgatanga, June 25, GNA - Members of the Association of Disabled Students On Campus in the various tertiary institutions are considering a boycott of the forthcoming Presidential and Parliamentary elections in December.

The President of the University Of Ghana Chapter of the Association, Mr. Jacob Adongo, who said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Bolgatanga, contended that, for a very long time, Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) have been marginalized without any cause. He said government, unfortunately, has not been fair in its dealings with PWDs so far, a manifestation of which was the procrastination in the passage of the disability bill, which he said, has been a major concern to them.

The Legon chapter's president said "at our last meeting on campus, we raised the Disability Bill issue, deliberated seriously on it, and have considered to boycott the general elections if government and indeed parliament does not do anything concrete to promulgate this law". Mr. Adongo indicated that voting is their right and they would decide to exercise that franchise if they so wish and that they could only be convinced that the government had them at heart if the bill is passed into law. He wondered why government is hesitant in passing the law and said, "What we should all know is that anybody could become disabled at anytime. It does not matter if one is a minister, MP, president, labourer or a housekeeper, accidents are real, and do not inform its victims when they occur".

Mr. Adongo called on well meaning Ghanaians to join the fight in seeking a redress to problems facing the disabled and said, "in advocating for such a law, it is to safeguard all of us, that is why, I wish to urge you, those who are "able" to know that you could join us anytime to experience this life, but we cannot join you", and that "we are doing this to protect you when you come". Mr. Adongo who is on holidays, also appealed to government and philanthropists, capable individuals and organizations to come to the aid of PWDs on campus with facilities to ease their movements.