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‘It was a political metaphor’: Akufo-Addo apologises for ‘deaf, blind’ comment

President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has apologised to persons with disability after comments some have said slighted visual and hearing impaired persons.

The Federation of Disability Organisations had condemned the comment and demanded an apology from the President.

The President made the comment on a campaign platform ahead of the just ended Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.

The President had said, among other things that, “we came to fix Ghana, and in these two years, it is only those who are blind or deaf who are not aware that indeed we have done something.”

The Federation said those words painted persons with disability in a negative light and asked the President to apologise.

In a statement on his Facebook page, the President expressed regret for the goof and assured persons with disabilities in Ghana — some five million of them — that they have the support of his administration.

The President wrote: “Vis-à-vis the comments I made at the final rally prior to the holding of the by-election at Ayawaso West Wuogon, which was won by the NPP candidate so emphatically, I am glad the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations recognizes it was a “political metaphor”. I did not intend any slight on Persons with Disabilities, nor would I ever, and I hope they know that.

“If there has been any Government that has been on the side of Persons with Disabilities, it is my Government. We have increased the share of the District Assemblies Common Fund to Persons with Disabilities from 2% to 3%, and we have also ensured the implementation of our pledge of employing 50% of the persons who manage the country’s toll booths from amongst Persons with Disabilities. I apologise for any unintended slight from the ‘political metaphor’”.

Despite the apology, the President of the Ghana Blind Union, Ayisshietu Ibrahim, has said the comments by the President impedes efforts to end stigmatisation of persons with disability.

“We are not happy with the comments. We still know whether developments are ongoing or not despite being blind or deaf. When we walk on roads, we are able to know whether it is tarred or not. We know that is a political metaphor but there are so many words the President could have used,” Ayisshietu Ibrahim has been quoted by online portal, Citinewsroom.com, as saying.

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