I take responsibility for comments, but I was misconstrued - Bagbin
Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and NDC Presidential Hopeful, Alban Bagbin, has clarified that the public backlash over his recent comments on Persons with Disability (PWDs) is because he was quoted out of context.
Mr. Bagbin had told delegates in the Volta Region that the appointment of Dr. Edward Omane Boamah and Dr. Henry Seidu Danaa as Minister for Communications and Minister for Chieftaincy respectively, contributed to the NDC’s election defeat because the former was a stammerer, and the latter was visually impaired.
He also stated that it was inexpedient for Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa to be appointed Deputy Education Minister in spite of his obvious challenges with university dons.
But addressing the press today, Tuesday, in reaction to the criticisms, the Nadowli Kaleo MP took responsibility for the outcome of his comments, and explained that he did not question the competence of the people involved.
“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.”
Bagbin said he rather praised the former ministers and did not mean to demean the caliber of persons they are.
“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”.
“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 added.
Rawlings condemns Bagbin’s ‘discriminatory’ comments
Founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), former President Jerry John Rawlings condemned Mr. Alban Bagbin for the comment widely derided as discriminatory.
In a statement from his office, Mr. Rawlings was quoted as saying “such utterances have the tendency to negatively affect the unity and cohesion of the party.”
Bagbin must take full responsibility of comments
The National Organizer of the NDC, Kofi Adams, said Mr. Bagbin must take full responsibility for his utterances.
“As a political party, the NDC, we disassociate ourselves from such comments and we don’t believe in comments that are discriminatory. So Mr. Bagbin would have to carry his cross and bear his responsibility about what he has said which these persons [persons with disability] believe must not be made by someone of his stature.
It is not a party-sponsored position that is why the party has given the opportunity to such persons in society… That is possibly his belief and so he should be dealt with….and he is capable of responding to all these.”