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GFD Calls For Improved Access To Polling Stations   
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The Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) has appealed to Electoral Commission (EC) to ensure that People Living with Disabilities (PWDs) have improved access to polling stations, registration and exhibitions centres in the 2016 general elections.

They tasked the EC to broaden the scope of accessibility in terms of physical environment, communication, and information sharing as well as organise periodic orientation of its officers and security personnel on disability and elections.

Mr Isaac Tuggun, GFD representation stated at a stakeholders review workshop organised by Coalition of Domestic Elections Observers (CODEO) on the 2014/15 District Level Election.

The CODEO post 2014/15 review seeks to draw lessons from the conduct of the elections to help improve the conduct of future elections, as well as to help enhance the participation of marginalised groups and the citizenry in general in local level elections and local governance.

Mr Tuggun also called on political parties to collaborate with the Federation to sensitise and educate party agents, communication officers, and candidates on disability and electoral related roles.

“We call for sensitization and education on electoral procedures, processes and relevance of the DLE.

This calls for collaboration between GFD and Civil Society Organisations on one hand and the EC, National Commission for Civic Education, on the other,” he said.

Mr Tuggun urged the EC to enhance the quality of the tactile jackets used for voting by the blind electorate to ensure total secrecy in voting; saying “the current jacket absorbed ink marks which compromises on the secrecy of the voter”.

The Federation also appealed to the EC to collaborate with the security agencies to design and implement appropriate mechanism to protect PWDs in the event of violence at polling stations.

On the participation of PWDs in the 2014/ 2015 DLE in Ghana, Mr Tuggun said the uncertainty of the date for the DLE frustrated the efforts of the PWDs who wanted to contest the elections.

He said initially the Federation empowered 105 PWDs to contest but due to change of dates on several occasions; most of the PWDs lost interest and decided not to contest the elections again.

He said GFD on its own observed DLE at Tema West, Ga West, AMA, Adenta, La Nkwantanang, and Madina, all in the Greater Accra region; Ayehbronmgu, and New Juaben in Eastern region.

He said 23 PWDs in 30 districts won the elections, whilst through a petition to President John Dramani Mahama, 87 PWDs across the 216 municipalities were appointed as government appointees to serve in the assemblies.
Source: GNA

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