Members of the Federation of Disability at Suhum in the Eastern Region have expressed disappointment in the Suhum Municipal Assembly (SMA) for what they have described as the discrimination in the disbursement of items procured with their share of the Common Fund.
Addressing a press conference at Suhum in the Eastern Region yesterday, the Chairman of the Federation of Disability at Suhum, Mr Ofori Manu, disclosed that the items were given to some selected members, including some other people who were not persons with disabilities (PWDs).
He noted that the assembly neglected the rest of the federation’s members, numbering about ten who have been registered members of the Suhum Federation of Persons with Disabilities for the past years.
According to him, the assembly allegedly gave a deep freezer each to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Constituency Women Organiser in Suhum, Madam Hannah Asantewa, and the Assemblyman for Omenako Electoral area, Mr Cudjoe, who are both not persons with disabilities.
The chairman of the federation complained that most of his people, including himself, did not receive any items, which were meant to be their share of the assembly’s common fund.
“One day, we heard that there is a distribution of some items to people with disabilities, but when we got there, the one sharing the items told us that our names were not on their list. We asked why, but we were only told that one assembly member was asked to do the registration but did not include our names,” he added.
He accused the Assembly members, led by the Assemblywoman of Oforikrom Electoral Area, Lucy Anyim, of being behind the sharing of the items.
He said as chairman of the group, he wrote several letters to the Suhum Municipal Chief Executive, Margaret Dankwah Darko, and followed up to the regional coordinating council but yielded no positive results.
While questioning the criteria used in selecting the beneficiaries, he suspected foul play, adding that persons with disability in the Suhum municipality were not ready to and beg for alms on the streets.
Mr Manu, however, appealed to the MCE to ensure that their benefits due them are distributed to all disabled persons without any form of discrimination.
Meanwhile, members of Truths Forum, a registered youth pressure group in Suhum, have condemned the alleged act by the assembly.
According to the group, it was unhappy about how those who are neither disabled nor poor but benefitted from the sharing of the said items
“We the members of the Truths Forum totally condemn this great injustice perpetrated by the MCE of Suhum and call on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to, as a matter of urgency, constitute an independent body to conduct a thorough investigation into the disbursement of the disability funds this year and to retrieve the monies and items that landed in the wrong hands for the deprived disabled in the municipality.”
The group stressed that activities of the MCE and the Municipal Social Welfare Coordinator in the disbursement of the funds this year also required serious investigation and appropriate sanctions.
However, in an exclusive meeting with Today on Thursday, July 24, 2018, the Suhum Municipal Chief Executive, Mrs Margaret Dankwah Darko denied all the allegations against her and the assembly.
Present at the meeting were Chairman of the Assembly, Mr John O. Cudjoe who shared the money and items and the Chairman of Federation of Disability at Suhum, Mr. Ofori Manu.
The MCE emphasised:”l did not even have my family members at Suhum. l only stay at Suhum with my husband and so how could l share the items and funds meant for PWDs to my family members who were not even living at Suhum together with the members of NPP and workers of the Assembly who are not disabled persons?” she asked.
She stressed that all the registered PWPs from the twenty-eight (28) electoral areas within the Suhum Municipality duly received their items and monies at a public durbar jointly organised by the assembly and Social Welfare Department of Suhum Municipality a couple of weeks ago.
According to Mrs Dankwah Darko, the disabled persons, including Mr Ofori Manu, who was complaining of not benefiting from the items and the common fund this year, were beneficiaries who got theirs last year.
She explained that the policy of the PWDs common fund was that “if you had your turn last year you were not supposed to get any funds and items the following year.”
“So it came to me as a surprise that the Chairman of Federation of Disability at Suhum, Mr Ofori Manu who knows all these policies and even was in the series of meetings we held in the Assembly to discuss modalities on how to disburse the items and funds to this year’s beneficiaries went back door to organise a press conference to make such allegations against me and the assembly just to tarnish our images and reputations,” Mrs Dankwah Darko said.
Interestingly, Mr Manu on behalf of the Association at the meeting rendered an unqualified apology to the MCE and the Assembly over the statement made against them and pleaded with them to forgive him and his people saying that “we are sorry, we have now come to realisation that we didn’t do well to our MCE and the Assembly. We acted out of anger.”
Story: Freeman KORYEKPOR AWLESU
Writer’s email: email@example.com