The Ghana Blind Union says it does not consider explanations given by NDC Presidential Hopeful, Alban Bagbin on his comments on Persons with Disability (PWDs) as an apology.
Executive Director of Ghana Blind Union, Dr. Peter Obeng Asamoah on Eyewitness News said the Association was disappointed the Nadowli Kaleo legislator failed to render an apology for his comments against PWDs.
“Yes indeed we have heard what he said on the radio, and we see it as very dilute and full of nothing, and we do not consider this to be an apology. In fact, we are highly disappointed in what he said because we do not see what he is apologizing for.
“He is saying he is apologizing for not being able to respond earlier? Nobody has a problem with that. What we want him to apologize for is the way he referred to the issue of disability and the issue of discrimination he associated with it. He alleges that because of your disability, you cannot hold certain positions. That is what we were expecting him to apologize for for…,” said Dr. Asamoah.
Mr. Bagbin had told delegates in the Volta Region that the appointment of Dr. Edward Omane Boamah and Dr. Henry Seidu Danaa as Minister for Communications and Minister for Chieftaincy respectively, contributed to the NDC’s election defeat because the former was a stammerer, and the latter was visually impaired.He also stated that it was inexpedient for Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa to be appointed Deputy Education Minister in spite of his obvious challenges with university dons.
He subsequently offered some explanations on his comments at a press conference in reaction to the criticisms.
Addressing the press on Tuesday, 28th August 2018, the Nadowli Kaleo MP took responsibility for the outcome of his comments and explained that he did not question the competence of the people involved.
“For the records, I wish to state emphatically that I did not say persons with disabilities are not competent to be appointed to public offices or Ministerial positions. Never I did not say that. What I said was that certain wrong decisions were made in placing or assigning some government appointees. This wrong placement cost the NDC some votes. I cited three Ministers to illustrate my point and stated that they were all very brilliant and capable persons, but they were assigned to inappropriate Ministries.”
Bagbin said he rather praised the former ministers and did not mean to demean the caliber of persons they are.
“I never questioned the competence of the appointees of the NDC government. To the contrary, I praised them. I only questioned the wisdom in placing three of them in some designated Ministries. For example, if an appointee of Government has a known standing conflict or problem with the people or institution he or she is appointed to oversee, the ultimate results would be the displeasure of such an institution towards the government. If the stakeholders and followers of the institution are that displeased with the government, they are likely not to vote for that government.”
“If I said the appointment of a person with speech disability as a Minister of Communications was politically inexpedient, it does not mean that such a person is incompetent to head any Ministry by reason of his special disability. Not, at all”, he added.
Rawlings condemns Bagbin’s ‘discriminatory’ comments
Founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), former President Jerry John Rawlings had condemned Mr. Alban Bagbin for the comment widely derided as discriminatory.
In a statement from his office, Mr. Rawlings was quoted as saying “such utterances have the tendency to negatively affect the unity and cohesion of the party.”
Bagbin must take full responsibility for comments
The National Organizer of the NDC, Kofi Adams had also asked Mr. Bagbin to take full responsibility for his utterances.
“As a political party, the NDC, we disassociate ourselves from such comments and we don’t believe in comments that are discriminatory. So Mr. Bagbin would have to carry his cross and bear his responsibility about what he has said which these persons believe must not be made by someone of his stature. It is not a party-sponsored position that is why the party has given the opportunity to such persons in society. That is possibly his belief and so he should be dealt with….and he is capable of responding to all these.”
By; Marian Ansah/citinewsroom.com/Ghana