Mr Franklin Jantuah, former member of Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s cabinet, has angered disabled persons for suggesting that Mr Ivor Greenstreet being a wheelchair user, is incapable of leading the Convention People’s Party (CPP) to victory.
Mr Jantuah is reported by the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD) to have commented: “I don’t think a cripple can lead a political party, if you have a CPP with a leader who is a crippled, I wonder how he is going to rule”.
But members of the Federation, in a statement issued on Friday, described Jantuah’s remarks as “counterproductive, conservative and retrogressive” which has no place in modern democracy that consistently and universally seeks inclusiveness in society.
The statement signed by the Federation’s national president, Mr Yaw Ofori Debrah and copied to the Ghana News Agency called on the only surviving member of Dr Nkrumah’s administration to render his apology.
The Federation said such comments are unacceptable, disparaging and demeaning and violates Ghana’s constitutional provisions, particularly article 15(1) which states that “the dignity of all persons shall be inviolable.”
“[We] call on the good people of Ghana and citizens of the global village to ignore unreservedly the conservative politician and his retrogressive tendencies which have no place anymore in modern and inclusive democracies in the world,” he said.
“Franklin Jantuah, the only surviving member of the CPP since Nkrumah’s time” who should have been a seasoned politician and a reservoir of political experience, is reported to have disappointed all modern thinking and progressive democrats by his expression of disabilism,” he said.
“Jantuah can debate the flagbearer on ideas and other areas of competency, however, the law frowns on anybody attacking a person because of that person’s disability, [he] must render an unqualified apology to the disability fraternity without delay.”
Section 37 of Ghana’s PWDs Act, (Act 715, 2006) also frowns on using printable and unprintable derogatory statements on persons with disability (PWD).
“It should be placed on record that the world has experienced great and successful leadership of PWDs including Franklin D. Roosevelt, former President of United States of America, who was the only American President to have been re-elected four consecutive times,” Mr Debrah said.
Mr Greenstreet at the recent CPP’s presidential polls scooped 1,288 votes out of the 1,992 valid votes casted to beat his closest contender, Ms Samia Nkrumah who trailed with 579 votes.
Other contestants - Mr Joseph Agyapong garnered 83 votes while Mr Bright Akwetey managed with 42 votes.
Political observers say it would be a major political achievement if Ghana’s first ever physically challenged presidential candidate gets elected in the November presidential polls.
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