The Mental Society of Ghana in collaboration with Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations, organised a durbar to educate People with Disabilities (PWDs) on their civic rights and electoral process, at Nima, Accra.
The event, which was on the theme: “Inclusion Matters: Access and Participation of Persons with Disabilities in election 2016,” was supported by STAR Ghana, and funded by the Department for International Development, UK.
The Executive Secretary of the Society, Mr. Humphrey Kofie, said the programme was to impress upon the Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) to ensure that the PWDs, including stabilised people with mental illness had access to polling stations and electoral materials during elections.
He said stabilised people with mental illness had equal rights as others and should not be excluded from elections, lamenting that the EC had disenfranchised PWDs.
He indicated that Ghana was a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which enjoins member States to guarantee the participation of PWDs in political and public life.
Mr. Sullemana Bayesi, Principal Civic Education, Greater Accra Office, NCCE, said PWDs could also make meaningful contribution to their communities.
He said people with disabilities have made strides in bettering the lives of others and transforming economies, citing the example of Franklin Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States of America, whom he said, although was physically challenged, salvaged the American economy during the World War II.
Mr. Bayesi said the dignity and fundamental human rights of PWDs as provided by the constitution were “unfettered and inalienable”.
The Director of East Ayawaso Electoral Office, in a statement read on his behalf, said the EC had made a lot of reforms to make polling stations accessible to the electorate.
Government, he said, had introduced a tax exemption policy for the physically challenged who create jobs for themselves and others.
By Malik Sullemana