Disabled International Foundation (DIF) has in a press conference yesterday called on the president to involve more disabled persons in the governance process in the country. The program manager of DIF Robert Kargbo said the fight couldn’t be done single handedly by them, as they need the cooperation of the media. He said that the purpose of the press conference is to let the President see the need to involve persons with disability in the affairs of Government.
The Program Manager said that some of these disabled people are much more able and competent and qualified to work and deliver than those that are able.He made reference to the new appointment of the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs Mustapha Bai Atilla, and commended the President for what he did and in the same vein urged the President to add more disabled personsto his list of Ministerial or Deputy Minister or any other position in the government as they should not be left behind since they too are contributing meaningfully to the country.
Mr. Kargbo said that disabled must not be discriminated against and they are urging the President to increase the participation of disabled in governance. He said that the perception of people about disabled must change as people think that disabled people cannot deliver and are not active. He said disability is not inability as what able people can do they too can do it. Mr. Kargbo said that they are partnering with Sierra Leone Union on Disability Issue (SLUDI) and handicap international so that their voice can be heard. They are advocating for qualified and competent disabled person not any disabled person.
The president for SLUDI Franklyn Kabba said disabled persons have suffered far too long in the country, they have been marginalized and discriminated against by some people. He also added his voice to the pressing issue of the involvement of disabled in the government as the police force has just enrolled five disabled officers and also in the just concluded election it was visible that disabled and physically challenged persons took part. They are therefore appealing to the president to involve them, as it is very difficult for person with disability to have a job. He went further to say that there are many disabled people out there who are well qualified but they are not employed. The press conference ended with questions and answers.
By Nancy Koroma