The Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) has condemned remarks made by the Paramount Chief of Seikwa in the Brong Ahafo Region, Nana Kwaku Dwomo Ankoana II, that it is an “abomination” for the President to nominate a disabled person for the position of Minister of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs.
The federation threatened to go on a massive demonstration nationwide should the President be influenced by such remarks to change the nomination of Dr Henry Seidu Daannaa, a visually-impaired person.
Nana Ankoana ll is said to have called on the President on a radio station to reassign Dr Daannaa to a different ministry to appease chiefs in the country because of his handicap as a visually-impaired person.
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Nana Ankoana is also said to have called on other chiefs in the country to condemn the nomination of Dr Daannaa, since traditions and customs did not permit people with blemish to occupy such positions.
At a news conference in Accra Monday to voice their concerns, the President of the GFD, Mr Yaw Ofori Debrah, called on the National House of Chiefs to implement Article 26(2) of the 1992 Constitution which states that “all customary practices which dehumanise or are injurious to the physical and mental well-being of a person are prohibited”.
“GFD will like to call the National House of Chiefs to comply with Article 272(c) of the 1992 Constitution which recommends the evaluation of traditional customs and usages with a view to eliminating those customs and usages that are outmoded and socially harmful,” he said.
The GFD has over the years advocated that persons with disability be part of governance.
“Describing persons with disability as persons with blemish is an unfortunate statement and should not have come from a traditional authority that should be revered and accepted everywhere, every time and by everybody as a unifier, a builder of an inclusive society, and a provider of vision and direction,” the President of the GFD said.
Mr Debrah said the nomination of Dr Daannaa by the President had demonstrated the confidence in the ability of the physically challenged.
In some African countries, Europe, and the Americas, persons with disability have been appointed into various positions to enable them to contribute to national development. For instance, South Africa has ministers and 17 Members of Parliament with disability.
On behalf of all disabled movements, he thanked the President for nominating Dr Daannaa and for recognising his expertise and capabilities.
He appealed to the President to consider more persons with disability with qualifications and experiences for deputy ministerial and other positions.
“By including persons with disability in his appointment, the President has actually demonstrated his readiness and willingness to build an all-inclusive society via an all-inclusive government,” he said.
He appealed to the President and the public to ignore such comments and support Dr Daannaa for him to play his part in the implementation of the Better Ghana agenda.
Dr Daannaa has been working at the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs for 17 years.
He is currently the Director of Research of the ministry and serves as an advisor to the National House of Chiefs.
A former Chief Director of the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture who worked with Dr Daanaa, Ms Lillian Bruce-Lyle, said the nominee was competent and had rich experience to do the job as a minister.
Story by Salomey Appiah