By Mustapha Jarju
Lamin K Fatty, the acting Executive Director of the Gambia Federation of Disabled (GFD) has revealed that The Gambia faced a lot of challenges to ratify African disability protocols.
The Gambia Federation of the Disabled (GFD) is the umbrella body for disability with 8 disabled organisations registered under the umbrella body since its formation in the early 1990s.
Speaking to The Voice newspaper, Mr Fatty said if the Persons with Disability have a representative in the current National Assembly as it always used to be in previous years, it will be very easy for such a bill to be passed before the National Assembly.
He bemoaned that they do not have a national member who will be serving as their voice on issues affecting persons with disability, but said that did not stop them from engaging the NAMs on major issues.
“We have a lot of challenges and we are not relenting to ensure that the authority respects our rights as enshrined in the constitution and in our disability Act and the right that is also enshrined in the Convention are all fulfilled. We are facing a lot of challenges that are reality base and you don’t even need to do research to know it, just move around and see. You will realize persons with disability in this country are really suffering,” he lamented
Fatty added that they recently concluded a consultative meeting with the NAMs and most of them are promised to be fulfilled, “but it will be very important if you have your own person representing you, speaking the language that you know, raising issues that are affecting you and giving the right solution to the authority address, so if you don’t have such person is a setback,” he said.
He emphasised that having no representative at the National Assembly is a setback to their activities but that did not stop them from doing their activities, he said.
Still, he maintained that they are generally not happy without their representation at the National Assembly, though they cannot do anything about it and they cannot change that decision made by the president of the Gambia.
Currently, he said they are working on the implementation of the persons with Disability Act which talks about the selection or appointment of an advisory council, the president already appointed an advisory council for persons with disability, which will be engaging stakeholders to ensure that the right of the persons with disability is respected, and to also ensure that the Act for persons with disability is enforced.