Workshop to Educate Disabled People on Elections
A one-day workshop aimed at encouraging participation of the disabled in the December 2008 General Elections, organized by Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) in collaboration with the Ghana Federation of the Disabled, with sponsorship from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), was held in Tamale.
Project Coordinator for CDD-Ghana, Mr. Abdul Wahab Musah, further explained that the workshop was to enable the disabled to discuss how to strengthen good governance through their conduct and participation in democratic elections.
“The platform provided by this workshop allows for the merging of two democratic principles of participation and human rights to further legitimize and deepen the political decision making process and protect the rights of the vulnerable and disadvantaged in a society” he added.
He said, CDD-Ghana in conjunction with the Coalition for Domestic Election Observers CODEO, has trained and deployed selected members of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled to monitor and report on pre-election events. The purpose was to enable the observers to capture specific problems that would militate against the effective participation of the disabled in this year’s elections in order to draw the attention of the Electoral Commission (EC) and other stakeholders to the problem for redress.
In addition, he said 200 disabled persons will be trained and deployed to monitor the December 7 polls. The Northern Region Director of the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), Mr. Issah Nasigri, urged the disabled to be abreast with the manifestos of the various political parties to enable them to make informed choices. He reminded them to register in the ongoing reopening of the voters registration exercise. The Tamale Metropolitan Electoral Officer, Mr. Nuhu Mahama, assured the participants that enough logistics will be provided for the visually impaired to cast their votes.
Some of the participants who spoke to the Daily Graphic expressed displeasure on how their concerns were neglected by society. A deaf participant, Mr. Robert Sampama, said he would vote in this years' elections only if interpreters were provided for them. An employee of CDD-Ghana and Deaf Participant, Efua Aqua, said it was impossible for the disabled especially the deaf to obtain information from the media. She said apart from the newspapers, the other media houses such as radio and television did not address their needs effectively.
The GCPP parliamentary candidate of Tamale North Constituency, Mr. Neindow Alhassan, a visually impaired person, said the blind usually faced difficulties during elections mainly due to inadequate tactile ballot papers at most polling stations.
Source: Daily Graphic