Former Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba, has appealed to Ghanaians to vote for the women and persons with disabilities contesting the Local Government elections on Tuesday, December 17.
Addressing a Town Hall Meeting to commemorate the International Day of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs), Madam Djaba said only 20 PWDs and 909 women picked up nominations forms to contest the assembly and unit committee elections.
More than 18,510 persons, she said, picked up forms for the elections, which would enable them to serve their local communities for a four-year term, when given the nod.
The founder of the Henry Djaba Memorial Foundation stated: “There are over 18,510 people who have picked up nominations forms, unfortunately the women are only 909; and persons with disability are just about 20, where is their accessibility, where is their independence?
“Campaign for them, encourage them, support them and on 17th December and vote for them, to make the present accessible before the future can be accessible. This is our time to make a difference”.
The 2019 International theme of day is, “Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 development agenda”.
Madam Otiko Djaba said all human beings were born by a woman but women and persons with disabilities were discriminated against and this undermined the progress of society.
“Vote for persons with disability so that their voices can be represented, so that at the local government, they too can be made to feel human because they have human rights, guaranteed by our constitution. Every citizen has a human right, why do we always say that persons with disability cannot make it in life?”
They may be physically challenged, she said, but their brains were intact, and therefore should be encouraged and not stigmatised.
The event was jointly organised by the Henry Djaba Memorial Foundation and the Inter-Ministerial Cooperating Committee on Decentralisation.
Dr. Lawrence Tetteh, a renowned international evangelist, and president of the Worldwide Miracle Outreach, who chaired the event, said disability should not be equated with inability, therefore, everyone in the society had a specific role to play.
He said he was hopeful that someday, a person with disability will become the Speaker of Parliament, the Chief Justice, or the President of Ghana, therefore, they should not give up.
Women, he said, should also be given the mantle of leadership because they were more judicious with managing resources and less corrupt.
“Men are corrupt than women, so let’s encourage women to take up responsibilities.
Dr. Emmanuel Kwegyir-Aggrey once said when you educate a man, you educate an individual but when you educate a woman, you educate a whole community and a nation.”
In a statement to mark the Day, Mr Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations emphasised: “When we secure the rights of people with disabilities, we move closer to achieving the central promise of the 2030 Agenda – to leave no one behind.”