Politics of Wed, 29 Aug 20185
I’ll provide limitless opportunities to PWDs if I win – Bagbin retreats
The under-fire Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and a leading contender in the scramble for the NDC flagbearership ahead of the 2020 election Alban Bagbin has pledged to provide limitless opportunities to Persons with disabilities if he becomes Ghana’s president.
This was after a huge public backlash over some unguarded comments he made against two appointees in the erstwhile Mahama administration claiming they suffered speech and visual disabilities.
Questioning the appointing competence of Mr. Mahama during his campaign tour of the Volta Region, Bagbin in an unprovoked affray described as politically suicidal the appointments of a “stammerer” Dr Omane Boamah and “blind” Dr Seidu Daana as Communications and Chieftaincy Ministers respectively.
“I learnt from tradition that it is not the chief that speaks, it is the linguist and, so, when you are a leader, you must have a very good linguist. When Prof [Atta Mills] was in power, Haruna Iddrisu was our linguist in charge of communication, when my brother John [Mahama] came to power, he substituted him for Dr Omane Boamah who is a natural stammerer,” the longest-serving Member of Parliament said of Dr Boamah.
On Dr Daana, he said: “In our tradition, if you are not whole can you be a chief or a queen mother? So when you form a government and make the minister for chieftaincy a blind person, and the chiefs are objecting and you don’t change it, what are you telling the chiefs?
“These are facts I’m stating, I have not added anything. You all know it but maybe you may not have appreciated the impact on what happened. And when some of us are close and we can foresee it and we say it, then they are called upon to insult us.”
Following scathing criticisms for his comments from the general public including the Federation of Disables and former President John Rawlings, Bagbin at a press conference Tuesday took full responsibility and apologised for his indiscretion.
“As a leader, I take full responsibility for this situation and the impressions created. I have reflected deeply on all the comments coming across the large section of the public and I have drawn relevant lessons from them,” he stated.
According to him, his unflinching support for inclusive governance, a key part of the sustainable development goal was not in doubt and that “when I become president of this country I’ll ensure that the needed reforms in social and governance structures are carried to provide limitless opportunity for persons with disabilities.”