People with disability demand political representation


By Omar Bah The people with disability have challenged the Constitutional Review Commission to include provisions in the new constitution that will pressure political parties to consider them in their decision making. “We are expecting the opposition as governments in the waiting to have policies that will cater for us before they go to the State House. It will make more sense from the beginning if we are represented in our political parties and these are some of the issues we want the CRC to address,” the president of the Persons with Disability, Yahya Muhammed Bah told The Standard. He called on the Constitutional Review Commission to seriously consider them, adding that they want to be fully represented in the constitution. “We have suffered for far too long.” Bah said he has not personally seen any political party that has persons with disability as part of their committees, saying it is high time they started thinking along those lines. He said it is only when they are given the opportunity to participate fully in the decision making of government and political parties that the duty bearers will realize what they are feeling as genuine citizens. “We are demanding for public buildings to be made accessible to everyone. It is us today but who knows this could benefit even the well off in the future because nobody can ascertain that you will live and die without any complications,” said Bah. He said people with disability are totally isolated, adding that this is not fair because they constitute 15% of the worldwide population, adding that the government cannot afford to continue neglecting them or else they would be creating service consumers and not service creators. Edward Pierre, councilor representing the people with disability at the Brikama Area Council, said: “I am not surprise that our issues are not being captured during the discussions of the CRC throughout the country. It is only few people who are talking about us and the majority are not interested perhaps they may feel they are not directly affected which is so disappointing.” He pointed out that everybody has limitations depending on the particular situation, adding that what is expected of society is to complement their shortcomings. “When we are excluded, we feel rejected,” he added. Bah and Pierre were attending a gathering organized by the Brikama Area Council and the WCR Governor’s office to avail people with disability the opportunity to have their say in the drafting of the new constitution.]]>