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The plight of Ghana’s disabled population have not been different and have received very little attention over the years until the late 1980s with the coming into existence of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) then Federation of Disabled Associations (FDA) established in 1987 as a national umbrella organization of Persons With Disability (PWDs). The Federation was birthed to create awareness about the capacities and capabilities and to promote the equalization of opportunities of PWD’s through advocacy, lobbying and collaboration with other relevant agencies.

Article 29 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana guarantees the rights of the disabled and explicitly authorizes Parliament to enact legislations to protect these right but it was not, until 2006 when Parliament passed the Disability Act (Act, 715). The first schedule protects persons with disabilities against regulations and the treatment of discriminatory or abusive promotion of all other basic human rights and freedoms, including the rights of the disabled. The Act seeks to provide PWDs with their full rights as citizens by making additional and special provisions and eliminating all forms of discriminations against PWDs all in a bid to create an enabling environment for the full participation of PWDs in national life.

Interestingly, the ten (10) year moratorium as provided for under Section 60 of the Act states that “the owner or occupier of an existing building to which the public has access shall within ten years of the commencement of this Act make that building accessible to and available for use by a person with disability” is due to expire in 2016 and has raised questions on Ghana’s preparedness to comply with Section 60 of the Act .

All buildings which have been in existence before the coming into effect of the Act would after 2016 contravene Section 6 of the Act which states that: “The owner or occupier of a place to which the public has access shall provide appropriate facilities that make the place accessible to and available for use by a person with disability” and if any public services are provided in such places also contravene Section 7 of the act which states that: “A person who provides service to the public shall put in place the necessary facilities that make the service available and accessible to a person with disability”. Most buildings in the country have however not undergone any changes to make them disability friendly. A review of banks, schools, churches, public places of convenience among many others reveal that little has been done to comply with the provisions of the Act.

The National Council on Persons with Disability established under the Act is established with the object of proposing and evolving policies and strategies to enable persons with disability enter and participate in the mainstream of the national development process.

The Council is to monitor and evaluate disability policies and programmes; formulate 25 4 t h EDITION THE DECENTRALIZATION EYE

strategies f or broad-based inter-sectoral, interdisciplinary involvement and participation in the implementation of the national disability policy; produce an organizational manual on the operations of the Council and its secretariat; coordinate disability activities; advise the Ministry on disability issues and submit to the Minister proposals for appropriate legislation on disability; mobilize resources for the attainment of its object; coordinate activities of organizations of persons with disability, and international organizations and nongovernmental organizations that deal with disability; promote studies and research on issues of disability and provide education and information to the public on issues of disability; maintain a register of (i) persons with disability, and (ii) institutions, organizations and associations which provide rehabilitation, services or support for persons with disability; play an advocacy role on disability issues at all levels; and perform other functions that are necessary for the attainment of its object.

Questions are being asked about the efficacy of the National Disability Council in operationalizing its constitutional mandate to better the lot of PWDs. The Act also makes provision for the establishment of regional and district offices of the Council (under Section 49) to perform the functions of the Council in the regions or districts. What steps are being taken to ensure the decentralization of the Council to bring real time benefit of these provisions to PWDs?


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