As Ghanaians will go to the polls on 7th December 2012 to elect a President and Members of Parliament (MPs), our theme for this occasion is curved from the global theme as “Inclusive Election, devoid of Violence”.
Accessibility and inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspect of society including general elections are fundamental rights recognized by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and are not only objectives, but also pre-requisites for the enjoyment of other rights. Article 9 of the CRPD seeks to enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life and development. Also, Article 29 of the CRPD specifically speaks to the importance of including persons with disabilities in electoral processes.
As we have barely four (4) days to the election, we would like to call on the Electoral Commission and all political parties to address issues that may discriminate against persons with disabilities at the poll. We want the Electoral Commission to ensure reasonable means of access to polling stations for eligible voters including persons with disabilities. Electoral Commission should also ensure that persons with visual and hearing impairment are provided with the necessary support to enable them cast their votes.
We are also calling on all candidates and political parties to appeal to their supporters to refrain from any act that has the tendency of undermining the peace we are enjoying now. Let us all remember that when there is war, it is we, persons with disabilities who will suffer most. We are therefore pleading with all Ghanaians to put Mother Ghana first in all our actions and inactions as we approach the general elections. Let us all give peace a chance and be tolerant and refrain from the use of abusive words in order to make the general elections violent free. We also appeal to the Ghana Police Service and all Security Services to give the necessary support to persons with disabilities at the poll to enable them exercise their franchise.
We further want to appeal to the youth of Ghana and “macho men” not to avail themselves to be used by any politician to engage in acts that can lead to violence. Finally, we want to appeal to all political parties to accept the outcome of the election in the best interest of peace. Long live Mother Ghana!
Director, VOICE GHANA