The Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) is asking government to develop an affirmative action for Persons with Disability (PWDs) to guarantee equal representation and participation in political and public life.
The Federation said Affirmative Action policies and programmes would ensure that qualified individuals, irrespective of their condition, would be given a fair chance to demonstrate their talents and abilities.
Mr Isaac Tuggun, Advocacy Officer of the GFD said this at Takoradi, during a media interaction on the process of forming the Western Regional branch of the Media Caucus on Disability, over the weekend.
He said government must initiate policies and programmes to create equality in society and ensure that persons with disability are evaluated fairly for jobs and educational opportunities.
He said the continued use of affirmative action is needed to address existing discrimination in all sectors of the economy and to break down barriers to ensure all individuals have equal opportunity to demonstrate their talents and abilities, he said.
Mr Tuggun observed that “Affirmative action will encourage companies, organizations, and educational institutions to evaluate candidates equally and fairly, that is, based on their qualifications.”
He said Ghana needs to learn from Kenya where affirmative action for equal representation has created the platform for sectoral representation of PWDs in parliament.
He observed that discrimination and social exclusion, based on superstition continue to undermine capabilities of PWDs and called on government to develop an affirmative action to ensure total inclusiveness.
The Advocacy Officer noted that access to public facilities including heath facilities, school buildings, the Ministries, roads and transport remain serious challenges to PWDs.
According to Mr Tuggun disability is not limited to physical, visual or hearing impairment but covers mental illness, learning disability and albinism.
He added that the cause of disability is not spiritual, as some Ghanaians believe, saying, rather accidents and medical error might be responsible for a disability, and so everybody is at risk of being disabled in one’s life time.
“Yet PWDs face abusive language, abandonment, underrating abilities, and exclusion in social, economic and political life,” he said.