CPP to make Flagstaff House disability friendly — Bonfeh(November 1, 2016)
The Convention People’s Party (CPP) will reconstruct the Flagstaff House to make it disability friendly, the Director of Elections of the party, James Kwabena Bonfer, has hinted.
According to him, it was unfortunate that the seat of government was not built with the needs of physically challenged people in mind.
At the launch of the party’s manifesto in Accra last Saturday, Mr Bonfer said the New Patriotic Party (NPP), which inaugurated the project in November 2008, and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), continued it, failed to add features to make it disability friendly.
However, Mr Bonfer, who is known in political circles as Kabila, said the hand of God was in the affairs of the CPP and the party would fight to win the December 7 election to correct the wrong.
His sentiments re-echoed the concerns of the party’s Presidential Candidate, Mr Ivor Kobina Greenstreet, who has been confined to a wheelchair after a road accident.
The CPP flag bearer, at an Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Evening Encounter, said, “Unfortunately, the Flagstaff House, the highest office of the land, in the construction of that mighty building has no ramp.”
“Those who constructed it never thought for a second that one day the president of Ghana will be in a wheelchair. For those doubting Thomases who for a moment do not believe it is going to happen, let me tell them that they should be rest assured that the ways of man are not the ways of God,” he said.
Persons With Disability Act
Ghana’s Persons With Disability Act, 2006 Act 715 states, “The owner or occupier of an existing building to which the public has access shall within 10 years of the commencement of this Act make that building accessible to and available for use by a person with disability.”
The party also used the occasion to launch the Braille and sign language versions of the manifesto to woo the disabled community who were at the event in their numbers to support Mr Greenstreet.
Hand of God
Sounding philosophical and predictive, he said the CPP had always been first in Ghana’s politics and would be the first to elect a President in wheel chair to occupy the seat of government
Before the event, there was a downpour, which, for Kabila, was not just rain, but rather showers of blessing and the hand of God that pointed to a CPP victory.
Taking on the government, he said it could not give credibility to its policies but rather had to fall on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for policy credibility, a reason for which it had no basis to be in power.
The Flagstaff House
The Flagstaff House was originally the seat of government during the Nkrumah regime, but was abandoned for the Christianborg Castle at Osu after his overthrow. The Kufuor administration built and rechristened it Jubilee House in commemoration of the country’s 50th independence anniversary celebrations.
The over $70 million edifice, which has the office and residential premises of the President, became a subject of hot debate after President J.E.A. Mills’ refusal to relocate there. It was renamed Flagstaff House in August 2010, and President John Dramani Mahama moved into it in February 2013.
Funfare & fresh faces
CPP flags were hoisted on the roads leading to the venue. At the venue itself, some food vendors and a paraphernalia vendor competed for space to sell their wares. A larger-than-life banner of the CPP presidential candidate welcomed the party members and supporters.
What the CPP lacked in large milling crowds at its campaign launch, it made up for in the enthusiasm in the supporters who filled the auditorium of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Sporadic shouts of the party’s campaign slogan “Ibe green ooo… total support” gingered the crowd and most people danced whenever the party’s campaign song, composed by hiplife musician Kofi Dutty, was played.
The flag bearer also kept the crowd on its feet with his rendition of Bob Marley’s popular ‘Redemption song’ and other popular hymns.
It was a day the party also introduced its fresh faces—both old and young—including its Vice-Presidential candidate, Nana Gabby Nketiah; Spokesperson on issues concerning people with disability, Mr Owusu Debrah; a son of former Vice-President in the Rawlings regime, Mr Kofi Arkaah; and its Legal Practitioner, Mr Jamaldeen Tonzua.
Creating a just society
Buoyed by the cheering crowd, Nana Nketiah said Ghanaians, irrespective of their background, had the responsibility of ensuring that the CPP contributed towards the creation of a more just society which had eluded Ghanaians.
“Ghanaians feel that this country is at s great risk of losing its one nation spirit. It is believed that values of decency and respect are overlooked, while the culture of responsibility and mutuality is eroding.
“Our sense of national pride is decimated as a result; we are all left poorer, left feeling worse off. We don’t seem to be going anywhere.
“There is fear on our streets and the economy is falling apart. Our society is more divided, reeking with unemployment, insecure job and lowly paid workers. The NHIS is breaking at the helm and our children’s education is at risk,” he said.
Kwesi Pratt speaks
Apart from the presidential candidate, who got the auditorium reverberating, Mr Pratt also worked the crowd. Shouts of ‘Massa’, a corrupted form of ‘master’, which has become synonymous with his speeches, was on the lips of the crowd for more than three minutes.
On the party’s Foreign Policy, he said it was summed up in Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s profound statement on the eve of the country’s Independence Day that Ghana’s independence was meaningless, unless it was linked up with the total liberation of Africa.
He said the party would ensure that it reversed the global commodity pricing which had always favoured the developed world at the expense of producers.
He also applauded what he described as a ‘sense of inclusion’ in the CPP currently, unlike in the past.