President Nana Akufo-Addo has apologised to Persons with Disabilities for what some have described as insensitive comments he made about visually and hearing impaired persons.
At the NPP rally in the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency, President Akufo-Addo hailed his government’s performances saying only the blind and deaf could ignore its fulfilled promises.
But in a statement on his Facebook page, he expressed regret and assured that persons with disabilities had the support of his administration.
Vis-à-vis the comments I made at the final rally prior to the holding of the by-election at Ayawaso West Wuogon, which was won by the NPP candidate so emphatically, I am glad the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations recognizes it was a “political metaphor”. I did not intend any slight on Persons with Disabilities, nor would I ever, and I hope they know that.
If there has been any Government that has been on the side of Persons with Disabilities, it is my Government. We have increased the share of the District Assemblies Common Fund to Persons with Disabilities from 2% to 3%, and we have also ensured the implementation of our pledge of employing 50% of the persons who manage the country’s toll booths from amongst Persons with Disabilities. I apologise for any unintended slight from the “political metaphor”.
The apology comes after the Ghana Federation of Disability Organization joined a section of Ghanaians to complain about the President’s remarks.
The President was criticised for perpetuating stigma against persons with disabilities in a country were most public spaces are not disability friendly.
Ghana is noted to have over 5 million persons with disabilities.
More than an apology needed
The President of the Ghana Blind Union, Ayisshietu Ibrahim said such comments run contrary to efforts at ending stigmatization of Persons with Disability.
“We are not happy with the comments. We still know whether developments are ongoing or not despite being blind or deaf. When we walk on roads, we are able to know whether it is tarred or not. We know that is a political metaphor but there are so many words the President could have used.”
She also said he expected much more than an apology from the President after the insensitive comments.
“We don’t want an apology; we just want to appeal to him to be better worded in his speeches than using blind and deaf. This is not only to the president but all other politicians to make people see disabled people in a different way. We are doing our best to educate them or else this will thwart our efforts of sensitization the people.”