By Amadou Jadama
Lamin Manneh, the secretary general of the Gambia Federation of the Disabled, has announced his intention to contest the Sanementereng constituency as an independent candidate in April’s parliamentary election.
Manneh, from Sukuta, said he will run to fight for the rights of Gambians, especially disabled persons.
He told The Standard at his Sukuta residence over the weekend: “I have been looking into this issue since 2017. I have seen that things are not going in the right direction as far as persons with disabilities in this country are concerned.
“I am not a politician but now I have seen that things are getting worse, therefore, persons with disabilities should be represented in parliament; people who will be there to fight tooth and nail for the betterment of the handicapped in this country.
“People with disabilities in this country are being marginalised, segregated and neglected from the family, community to government level,“ he argued.
Manneh, 45, said the handicapped are Gambians who pay taxes and should have their fair share of the national cake.
He added: “I want Gambians to know that disability is not inability, and it is not the leg that does the job but the brain. I am willing to face any candidate from any party. I am capable because I know the day-to-day running of this country.
I served this country under former president Jawara for 11 years at the communications unit at State House. I also served Jammeh for 22 years, and this present government of President Adama Barrow until I retired, so I am not a new man in the system. “
Manneh said it is a sad commentary on the country that people with disabilities “are suffering and begging in the streets because they have not been given meaningful opportunities.”
“We have handicaps in this country who are creative, graduated from schools but don’t even have jobs. Others with skilled jobs don’t have materials to make a living, yet they are required to provide food for their families. The environment is not conducive for persons with disabilities to participate in any way.”
Manneh challenged members of his federation to participate proactively in politics as that “is the only way they can fight for their rights and improve their conditions.”