‘Disabled’ Protest Obstructs Traffic for Seven Hours

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Aggrieved disabled persons during the protest

They want President Weah remove unpopular leaders at National Commission on Disabilities

A traffic holdup was created along the Tubman Boulevard in Sinkor early yesterday when a group of persons living with various forms of disability, under the banner, “Disabled of Like Minds for Good Governance (DLMGG),” blocked the motor way leading to Congo Town, demanding President George Weah to reverse his recent decision endorsing the present leadership at the National Commission on Disability (NCD).

The present leadership of the NCD is led by Mrs. Ricardo Dennis, Executive Director; Fallah Cymbio Boima, Deputy Director for Administration; and Joshua Bull, Deputy Director for Operations.

Yesterday’s protest by members of the DLMGG was led by Rally Tamba Fallah, who said some members of the organization are disappointed in President Weah’s style of leadership, “because he did not listen to them before endorsing the present leadership of the National Commission on Disability.”

“Until then, we had used all diplomatic means to meet with the President, to solve the impasse in the Commission, but the President did not listen to us,” Fallah claimed.

“Is this the hope for change we talked about, the Weah we love so much is treating us with less importance? Where is the pro-poor policy you promised us when you cannot listen to our cries?” Fallah lamented.

Prior to their protest, Fallah said they had appealed to President Weah. Unfortunately, the office of the president told them that ‘he does not act on speculations.’ “Therefore,” Fallah added, “we too will remain unbending not to compromise anything until he can address our interest to the full.”

“We will continue to demand the removal of the leadership until the last man among us dies, or else we will not compromise with anybody,” Fallah said.

Samuel Mawen Sumo Dean, Sr., co-chair of DLMGG, said they are asking the president to revoke the reinstatement of the present leadership at the National Commission on Disability because the team has spent eight years in power without improving the lives of the disabled.

Mr. Dean said his fellow disabled are still begging in the streets because the Commission has failed over the years to introduce programs that would make them self-sufficient in the country.

He said the lives of those children in the streets aiding their parents to beg are not secure because those presently heading the Commission have no education programs that would transform them into productive citizens.

“Persons with disabilities are under-represented and are poor, abused, uneducated and regarded as 5th class citizens in their own country. We are always in the backroom and we can never benefit from our country’s natural resources because our leaders have chosen to exploit us socially and control us politically,” Dean said.

Dean wants the Commission to provide those things that will best serve the interest of people living with disabilities.

He said the Commission has abandoned its one-and-a-half acres of land and has decided to rent a small apartment for US$25,000 per annum, instead of using the money to provide homes and vocational education for the disabled and thus turn them into productive citizens.

Dean believes that if President Weah cannot listen to the cries of people living with disabilities, then the pro-poor policy is just another joke because they are the poorest of the poor.

Jefferson S. Kanmoh, the security advisor to President Weah, in his intervention said while they could have a legitimate case for consideration, the president will consider their protest as an “unpleasant decision of the disabled to block the road and stop the free-flow of traffic.”

Kanmoh said the president takes the issue of the disabled seriously. Therefore he is prepared to listen to them at all times and will meet with the leadership of the group to discuss the way forward.

“The reason for the delay is that the president is investigating the allegations of the disabled independently and plans to come up in the shortest time with a balanced decision that will not be based on speculations,” Kanmoh assured the protestors.

Alhough the aggrieved protestors agreed to leave the streets, they warned that the protest is just the beginning and they will return if the problems are not addressed by the president.

Meanwhile, the group has demanded that the president should order the three directors in question to stay away from the offices of the National Commission on Disability until the matter is resolved.

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