Edward Williams, GNA
Hohoe (V/R), Nov.
14, GNA – Mr. Augustine Yaw Asangba, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the
Hohoe Chapter of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD) has
called on government to ensure the full participation of members of the
Federation in local governance.
He called for more
education and sensitisation for members of the Federation on the impending
referendum and district level elections to keep them abreast with emerging
issues on the subjects.
Mr Asangba who is
also the Volta Regional Secretary of the Ghana Blind Union made this call in an
interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on preparations of the Federation
ahead of the District Level Elections (DLE) slated for December 17.
He asked government
to make funds available to enable the Federation to train visually impaired on
how they could be able to vote themselves.
Mr Asangba said
there were some visually impaired who had attained 18 years of age and needed
to be educated through workshops or community-based groups and called on the
National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the Electoral Commission
(EC) to come on board in intensifying the education.
He said although
participation in local governance was opened to the citizenry, discriminatory
remarks and derogatory campaign messages against the physically challenged and
lack of finance had limited the involvement of PWDs.
Mr Asangba noted
that the absence of some disability friendly provisions at the local government
level such as lack of interpreters at Assembly meetings discouraged PWDs from
appreciating and fully participating in national discourse.
He said the GFD had
in its small way from the national and district levels organised workshops for
its members to encourage and motivate them to participate in the local
government, but needed support from government and other stakeholders.
When the GNA
contacted Mr. Elolo Kofi Agyei, President of the Volta/Oti Persons With
Disabilities (PWDs),he said he took interest in participating in local
governance as a result of a workshop organised by the Federation.
He said derogatory
comments about his demeanour, aligning him to a political party and lack of
financial support were some challenges he faced when he contested to represent
his electoral area.
Mr Agyei said some
of his interventions for the electoral area included; enrolling community
members onto the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), improving
network in the area by ensuring the fixing of a Telecommunication mast with the
help of some residents from the area and organizing vacation classes for
students in the electoral area.
He said he also made
sure PWDs’ quota from the Assembly was distributed to beneficiaries.
GNA checks revealed
that a total of 24 PWDs are aspiring as Assembly Members, four as Unit
Committee Members in the Volta and Oti regions.
Out of a total of 30
aspirants in the Hohoe Municipality, no PWD is contesting the position of an
Assembly Member in the December polls.