The Forgotten Category: “We Need Political Representation” Says Differently-Abled Rights Activist
By Sheriff Saidykhan
Cherno Ceesay, the Nominated Member and rights activist for young people with disabilities at the National Youth Parliament (NYP) of The Gambia, said there is need for political representation of persons with disabilities in the country. He made these remarks recently with The Outpost at his residence in Bakau.
“Regrettably, persons with disabilities are often excluded from leadership in The Gambia and we should work to change this. it's a collective responsibility as disability rights defenders to work with those in the democratic process to help persons with disabilities navigate the challenges they face and bring about more inclusive democracy in the country” he remarked.
The underrepresentation of differently-abled in major political parties he said, has deterred them from holding political positions in the country.
“Differently-Abled are continually underrepresented in relevant positions within political parties and the Civil service. For instance out of the 18 currently registered political parties, none has a person with disabilities who are active in political parties are supporters, mobilizers, and voters, not decision makers” he argued.
The rights defender for differently-abled stated the need for new paradigm shift of political representation of persons with disabilities in the country.
“Young people with disabilities desire to occupy more leadership positions in politics” he said.
He added: “Democracy cannot live up to its promise, if part of the population is not adequately represented in leadership” he concluded.