Citizens must show keen interest, active participation in governance affairs-OSIWA
Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei
The Programme Manager in charge of Law, Justice and Human Rights of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), Ms Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei has charged all citizens in Ghana and beyond to endeavor to show keen interest and actively participate in running the affairs of governance at all times.
According to her, it is the way to go in order to effectively promote social accountability towards achievement of sustainable development in West Africa.
Ms Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei made this known in an interview with the news editor of Ghananewsone.com, Joseph Kobla Wemakor in Accra on Monday, February 20, 2017 on the sideline of an event dubbed “regional learning workshop and study tour on social accountability in West Africa”.
The event, a 3-day workshop was initiated by the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WASCI) with support from OSIWA and Ford Foundation which brought together 29 Civil Society partners (CSOs) from 9 West African Countries to learn from each other and share experiences.
The programme is organized to provide practical platform for the CSOs to better understand the mechanisms that have been utilized by CSOs in the region to exact public accountability through the active participation of ordinary citizens and civic groups.
The 3-day programme which began on February 20-23 will witness participants among all other things adopt a highly participatory and interactive methodology including site visit, open dialogue, experience sharing and demonstrations.
A key outcome of the learning programme will be production of case studies publication on social accountability.
Corruption is pervasive and affects all sectors of the economy, not only in Ghana but globally. It is a persistent problem in Ghana, as in many countries. The act manifests in rent seeking and wanton dissipation of public resources both at the national and the assembly level.
But commenting on the roles citizens ought to play in tackling corruption from rearing its ugly head in the affairs of governance, Ms Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei stressed the need for all citizens within the ECOWAS sub region to adopt social accountability as a tool to hold public officials accountable for the finances or monies allocated to them.
“Citizens should take great interest in the affairs of governance. Civil duties doesn’t stop at voting, It merely starts because once we’ve finished with the voting process, we all go back to sleep and then sit in our living rooms, in our summer huts and criticize but we need to be involved, we need to take interest when we’re hearing about these numbers, give a human face to the numbers. So when we hear that one million or one billion has been misappropriated or mismanaged, let’s quantify it in human face for that amount of money could’ve been used to build schools, so many hospitals and we get citizens interested and involved in tracking the finances of the state” she stressed.
She also appealed to the media to step up efforts in their watch-dog roles to monitor government development projects and increase the use of citizen-generated information to promote accountability.
Meanwhile, Head of Capacity Development for West Africa Civil Society Institute (WASCI), Charles Kojo Vandyck has called on parliament to facilitate speedily passage of the information bill to law to ease information flow and increase citizen participation in social accountability.