The Convention People’s Party (CPP) on Monday blazed the trail in the political history of Ghana by launching a Braille version of the party’s 2008 manifesto for the visually impaired to enable them to understand what the party was offerings.
At a meeting, the visually impaired, the hard at hearing and physically challenged, who gathered at the Coconut Groove Regency hotel in Accra applauded the move, touting it as the best thing to have come from any political entity in the country, since they had been marginalised politically.
Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, CPP flag-bearer who launched the Braille Manifesto, said the event was a signal that the party was committed to the principle of social justice, driving the party to ensure that its message was understood by everyone in the society.
“It is social justice that drives us to reject tokenism when dealing with women, the youth and people with disabilities…...We are making a commitment to ensure that all Ghanaians are provided with equal opportunities.
“The CPP believes in the welfare of all of the people of Ghana. We will promote and protect the interest of every Ghanaian. We will check indiscrimination of every type,” he said.
The CPP has also transcribed its “10 Point Agenda for Change” into a Braille version. The Agenda spells out specific actions to be taken by the party to change the fortunes of the country.
Dr Nduom said the party would take every possible step to ensure that all national events reached the deaf through sign language and also commercials designed appropriately for the hard at hearing.
He said the CPP is the only political party in Ghana that is offering a change that people could believe in and asked them to vote wisely in the forthcoming elections.
Mr Ivor Greenstreet, General Secretary of the party, himself a physically challenged person, said disability should not be politicised, but that the CPP represented the poor and vulnerable and as such would fight for the right of the disabled.
“The disabled constitute about 10 per cent of the population, and they represent a large number of people who have been ignored and relegated.
“We want to demonstrate our appreciation of the disabled, dialogue with them and know their needs. We want to change the face of those with disability because they can also contribute to the development of Ghana once given the opportunity.”
Mr Yaw Ofori Debrah, President of the Ghana Association of the Blind (GAB), expressed gratitude to the CPP for coming up with the initiative and expressed regret that other political parties were not doing so.
“By this act, the CPP has lived up to its identity of pace setters of development and we are thankful to them for being responsive to the plight of the blind.”
He said the initiative should be the focus of all political parties seeking to develop the country, because the visually impaired were qualified and confident people who could also serve the nation in capacities like ministers and district chief executives.
Mr Samuel Asare, President of the Ghana Association for the Deaf, through an interpreter said the 1992 Constitution gave voting rights to the deaf, but they could not access these rights because communication on political issues were done through inaccessible format, thus denying the deaf their political and voting rights.
He called on political parties to translate their campaign messages into sign language for the hard at hearing to comprehend them.
Mr Asare also called on the Electoral Commission to designate special voting centres for the deaf and to ensure that they were assisted on voting day to enable them participate in the country’s democracy effectively.
The CPP presented the Braille Manifesto to the leadership of the blind and would make copies available to others.
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