Presidential aspirant of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Alban Bagbin, has asked critics of his recent comments on some ministers with disabilities in the then NDC government, to reconsider the interpretation they have given to his remarks.
According to him, he did not mean Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) were “incompetent”.
[contextly_sidebar id=”yIZrvb5b9HKlqnnezyn75bxjJ0k4talV”] Mr. Bagbin had blamed former President John Mahma for the party’s defeat in the 206 general election because among other things, he appointed a stammer and a visually impaired to some specific ministries.
The respected legislator received widespread condemnation from Ghanaians who believed his utterances were disparaging. The Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations [GFD], gave the MP a four-day ultimatum to retract his statement.
Also, Civil Society Organisation, Amnesty International, was appalled by the comments and asked him to render an unqualified apology. He was condemned by the NDC, with the party’s Founder Jerry John Rawlings also criticizing him.
But addressing the press to clear the air, the 2nd Deputy Speaker in Parliament said although he takes full responsibility for the comments, his words were not intended to belittle such persons.
“If I said the appointment of a person with special disability in speech to be 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 indicated that he has championed several bills and policies in Parliament to further the interest of persons with disabilities (PWDs).
Mr. Bagbin also mentioned that he has worked enormously with PWDs and knows their capabilities.
He said should he become President of Ghana, he will create an enabling environment for PWDs for an inclusive government.
“As a social democrat and also a proud Pan-Africanist, I further pledge that when I become President of this country, I will ensure that the needed reforms in our social and governance structure are carried out to provide limitless opportunities for persons with disabilities. These will include huge investments into public education and sensitization against economic and social discrimination. Tax incentives and reliefs to create employment in the private sector for PWDs.”
“I want to assure the NDC and the good people of Ghana that my unflinching support for inclusive governance, a key part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), is never in doubt.”
Whilst expressing his commitment to ending all forms of discrimination, Mr. Bagbin assured citizens a system devoid of impartiality.
“Indeed, I have elaborate plans for ending all forms of discrimination and creating wealth to establish an equitable and just society in Ghana. Together we can create a more inclusive culture of governance and respect for all.”
I take responsibility for my comments, but I was misconstrued -Bagbin
Alban Bagbin has clarified that he was quoted out of context.
“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.”
“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”.
By: Nii Larte Lartey/citinewsroom.com/Ghana