The decision by some security officers in Parliament to deny a physically challenged man entry to the house to observe proceedings is highly unacceptable, some Members of Parliament have said.
Parliament security on Friday, November 30, 2018 denied Alex Tetteh, President of the Centre for the Employment of Persons with Disability access to the house on the basis that he cannot rise and acknowledge the Speaker.
“Their reason is that they were asked not to allow anybody who cannot stand when the Speaker is coming or passing or is rising. They said that an incident happened yesterday [Thursday], where one person could not stand and they saw that he was a person with disability and for that matter, they think that they should prevent anybody who cannot stand [from going in],” he told Citi FM.
Tetteh who had joined members of the Media Coalition on the Right to Information to observe the consideration proceedings of the RTI Bill and to put pressure on MPs to pass mentioned that he is sadden by the development.
“I feel sad. I feel that my rights as a citizen to observe Parliament have been denied and I think that the Speaker must address this. The fact that I cannot stand, does not mean that I disrespect any laws or I disrespect any authorities. It is because of my disabilities. It is no fault of mine to become disabled,” he noted.
Reacting to the matter, MP for Wa Central Rashiud Pelpuo said the move was wrong in its entity.
“I think it was unacceptable. Rising for the Speaker is a convention. There is no law about it. It is not sacrosanct. Especially if somebody is unable to rise, it is not a sin that you will be asked to pay later. So I think it was improper.They should have allowed him and once he is handicapped that understanding will be there” he said.
On his part, MP for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak, said the situation should “rekindle the debate about access to public buildings by our compatriots who have some amount of disability.”
He continued: “The house of Parliament or any part of Parliament is public premises, and indeed it is incumbent on Parliament to facilitate and ensure that we put in place the necessary measures for all Ghanaians. If you will recall, I have had occasion to raise this issue on the floor of Parliament.
“We have a couple of our colleagues who have some difficulty in accessing the Chamber, and at least on three occasions I have raised this issue in the House that Parliament has to do something about it so that we do not encumber them, we do not create problems for them to access the Chamber. Now we can seek construction for a new Chamber block, and I am hoping that this will be taken into consideration.”
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