Discriminatory? 'I can't work against Persons With Disabilities' - Vincent Kuagbenu

Mr Kuagbenu said the allegations which are far from the truth and are being peddled by persons who should know better

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The dismissed Chief Executive Officer of the Youth Employment Agency, Vincent Kuagbenu has denied allegation which suggests that he did not want to work with persons with disability when he was the head of the agency.

He said "there is no truth in any speculation that he harbours any ill feelings towards persons with disability or who are in various other ways physically challenged."

He stated that the allegations which are far from the truth and are being peddled by persons who should know better, are also very contrary to his personal, political and religious beliefs, principles he holds dear in life.

Read more: Vincent Kuagbenu removed as YEA boss

A group of unemployed graduates with disabilities have indicated they would embark on a nationwide demonstration if government fails to fulfill its promise of giving them jobs.

According to them, they have been petitioning the government over the last one year to assist them to find jobs as required by law, but to no avail.

They, however, accused Mr Kuagbenu of refusing to issue them appointment letters in spite of the several ministry directives.

But a statement signed by Vincent Kuagbenu said during his tenure as the Director of the National Service Secretariat, he collaborated with VSO and others to support Projects aimed at addressing issues with disabilities.

Below is the full statement:

STATEMENT OF DENIAL THAT I SAID I CAN NOT WORK WITH PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

My attention has been drawn to frivolous allegations by certain gentlemen against my person. The allegations, albeit in varied forms, seem to imply that I had overtly stated and acted in a manner that implies that I do not want to work with persons with disability during the exercise of my mandate as CEO of YEA. Ordinarily I will have let such allegations pass without a comment from me, except that, this time, these allegations seek to adversely affect my person and beliefs.

Therefore, on this matter solely, and without delving into other matters relating to the execution of the YEA mandate, I respond.

See also: 'Disabled graduates' cry out for jobs

I wish to state that there is no truth in any speculation that I harbour any ill feelings towards persons with disability or who are in various other ways physically challenged. Firstly, as a Christian, it is against the biblical principles that I live by, to treat persons adversely, due to their state of health, physical condition, state of mind or any other socially adverse criteria. I have, during my earlier years in life, suffered from the effects of discrimination and I do not intend to perpetuate the very acts that made me uncomfortable on other human beings. Indeed this is at the very heart of the social democratic agenda that I believe in and subscribe to.

More so, my genuine desire to progress the agenda of persons with Disabilities is evident throughout my career, be it in politics or private life. As a trained Special Educator and Social Worker, I have worked at various levels with persons with disabilities between 1998 and 2008.

Secondly during my tenure as the Director of the National Service Secretariat I collaborated with VSO and others to support Projects aimed at addressing issues with disabilities.

It is instructive to know that one of the persons making an allegation against me, should have for all good reasons been a testimony of my genuine desire to partner persons with disability in order to grow their agenda. I am on record as having been responsible for re producing the YEA ACT in Brail for the use of this person. Most interestingly this persons, whilst vigorously pursuing an agenda of defaming my character, alludes to the fact that he was not present when I was supposed to have made those derogatory statements, but yet finds it convenient to continue making these allegations.

As CEO of YEA, I have had several engagements with institutional bodies responsible for matters relevant to the physically challenged, such as the Ghana Federation of the Disabled and the federation for the physically challenged in order to progress their course. The output of the intended cooperation is a module currently under consideration and included in the 2016 plan of activities.

Whilst I understand, and rightly so, the general good intentions of Ghanaians to be supportive of each other including the less privileged, Persons with Disabilities, I urge all persons to be circumspect and discerning enough to separate the personal agenda of a few selfish persons from the general agenda of the general populace of persons with disabilities.

I wish to take this opportunity to reaffirm my commitment to the principles of social democracy and good governance. I wish to state that I have always and will always support the agenda of equality for all persons including persons with disabilities. I am convinced that any agenda targeted at helping the less privileged in society must be coherent, transparent and must be executed under the ambit of the relevant laws.

Thank You
Vincent Senam Kuagbenu

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