Thursday, October 1, 2015

Ghana: CSOs identify key electoral issues for 2016 polls

The Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) and the Civic Forum Initiative (CFI) say they will promote reforms of executive power and the strengthening of public interest institutions as central issues in the 2016 general election.
They will, therefore, seek commitment to the multi-party governance reform (MPGR) initiative from candidates of political parties vying for public office.

The resolve to push for commitment to the reforms, IDEG/CFI say, has been engendered by the seeming apathy shown by Ghanaians in the September 1, 2015 district assembly elections, and the investigative work by investigative journalist and lawyer, Mr Anas Aremeyaw Anas, on corruption in the judiciary.

According to IDEG/CFI, multi-party governance reforms border on public policy, and as such, civil society groups such as theirs have a part to play in shaping policy and action.

in an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Executive Director of IDEG, Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, said the apathy exhibited recently during the district assembly elections had proven right calls by the two bodies for democratic devolution at the district level.
Democratic devolution at the district assembly, which included the opening up of the processes of power at the local level to enable voting on partisan basis, held the key to fixing the development challenges of the country, he emphasised.
The Executive Director said the apathy exhibited had also provided the impetus for IDEG/CFI to campaign for the support of multiparty reforms to strengthen the country’s democracy, while providing the opportunity for politicians in the country to commit to reforms that would be beneficial to citizens.
Dr Akwetey further said the work of the investigative journalist on alleged corruption in the judiciary had proven right their calls  for the strengthening of institutions, particularly public interest ones such as the Audit Service, the judiciary, as well as accountability and anti-corruption institutions.

MPGR was initiated by the IDEG/CFI in the course of their advocacy on the adoption of good democratic actions by political actors in the country.
Before the 2012 general election, the two, with their partners, held the Kumasi High Level Meeting on November 27, 2012 to get presidential candidates in the election to commit to peaceful means or redressing any electoral grievance to ensure a stable country
Subsequently, a Peace Summit held in Accra on July 19, 2013, weeks before the judgement of the Supreme Court of Ghana on the Presidential Election Petition filed by the NPP presidential candidate, IDEG/CFI also got the commitment of the youth of the political parties and representatives of various segments of society to pledge peace regardless of the decision of the court.
At the Accra summit, proposals for the reform of multi-party governance in Ghana, in order to secure peace, stability, national cohesion and the democratic growth and economic prosperity that all Ghanaians aspire to attain was mooted and was secured on April 28, 2014 when the proposals were launched in Accra.

Reforming executive governance, political party reforms, and election cycle/ administrative reforms are the key initiatives under the MPGR.
Under executive governance reforms, proposals include full or enhanced devolution of executive governance to ensure that MMDAs and their political leaders have a stronger decision making power, better access to resources and revenue mobilisation and govern inclusively through their institutions.


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