By Mawusie P.I Dumbuya
Head of Communication
Persons with disabilities (PWDs) had on Friday 18th December, 2020 called for the independence of the National Commission for Persons with Disability (NCPD).
These sentiments were expressed during the Commission’s 2021-2026 strategic plan consultative meeting with Disabled Persons Organizations in Western Urban at the Scripture Union Hall on Pademba Road, Freetown.
With the aid of a SWOT Analysis during group presentation, group 1 and 2 unanimously agreed that one of the threats that is hindering the Commission’s work could be attributed to the lack of independence, which according to them has suffocated its growth over the years.
Buya Sesay representing Disability Awareness Action Group (DAAG) said NCPD will only be able to deliver on it mandates when they have the liberty adding that “the commission will only be effective if it is directly under the supervision of the President and not sub miniseries” he maintained.
In his statement National Commission for Persons with Disability Executive Secretary Saa Kortequee said the Commission had a Strategic Plan which expired two years ago and it was difficult to use, owning to the fact that most of the work was not in line with the mandate of the Commission.
He said it is from that backdrop the Commission had decided to develop a Strategy that is in tandem with the PWD Act.
Saa Kortequee encouraged the consultant to develop a 5 year plan that is innovative and seeks to solve the numerous challenges in the disability sector, “disability issue is far beyond removing beggars from the street but rather it is about the rights to education, health, employment and Political participation” he added.
He advised that the activities in the Strategic Plan resonate with the Mid Term Development plan.
Chairman NCPD James Taiwo Cullen revealed that the Commission followed due diligence in hiring the services of a consultant that is ready to do the work and has wealth of experience in the field of consultancy, human rights and disability issues.
He said the disunity that once existed between PWD is changing, adding that “unity will help us to be stronger together and fight for just course for the betterment of us all” he observed.
The Commission’s Czar called on PWDs to have respect for oneself in order for the communities to embrace PWDs in national development.
He tagged President Julius Maada Bio as the ‘Chief Development Officer’ who is more than ready to change the narrative on disability issues.
He maintained that the Commission is focused and will resist an individual who tend to sow seed of discord between the Commission and the disabled community.
The Chairman urged participants to take effective part in the process as it is a working document for the Commission to address disability issues in the country.
In his response, the consultant maintained that NCPD 2021-2026 strategic Plan will reflect the aspiration and inputs of all the disabled persons across the country, “this document will stand the test of time and it will also be aligned with the Mid Term Development Plan” he assured.
He said since the consultation process with PWDs across the country is done, the next phase of the process will be to engage with stakeholders.