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10.02.2009 General News

Leadership of society must be ready for social accountability

By gna

Mr. Kofi Gyan, Administrator of African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), has stressed the need for the leadership of all sectors of society to account for their actions and inactions that impacted on society.

Consequently, he said, public office holders, government officials as well as the heads of civil society groups, financial and corporate bodies, should be committed to social accountability.

He explained that the social accountability process should involve a mechanism that made it possible for ordinary citizens to demand accountability from their leaders and vice-versa.

Mr. Gyan was speaking on the topic, “ARPM, a tool for Socio-Political Accountability,” at a three-day workshop for 120 participants, including market women, traditional rulers, religious bodies, political parties, assembly members, civil society organizations and stakeholders drawn from the Wenchi, Nkoranza and Techiman districts, at Techiman.

The workshop was organised by the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and sponsored by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) under the theme, “Informal Sector and Local Governance Accountability.”

The workshop, a follow-up to two others organised last year, was aimed at providing a platform for civil society actors in the selected districts to sharpen their advocacy skills, among other objectives.

Mr. Gyan stressed that social accountability of public officials was the cornerstone of good governance and a prerequisite for an effective democracy and the empowerment of the people.

He stated that though the continent was blessed with natural resources, it was the poorest among the poor, explaining that of the 75 least developed countries in the world, 52 were in Africa with illiteracy, hunger and diseases being common among the majority of the population.

Mr. Gyan stated that about 200 million people being 28 percent of the population, faced famine and malnutrition and about 120 million were illiterate.

He said the purpose of ARPM, among other things, was to ensure that the policies and processes of political, economic and corporate governments of African states conformed to the values agreed to by members.

APRM is a self-monitoring process under which participating African countries agreed to submit their governance and other practices to the scrutiny and review of other members to eliminate weaknesses in their operations.

He revealed that 29 out of the 53 African states were participants in the APRM process with Ghana being the first country to submit itself for review.

Mr. Gyan named democracy and good political governance; economic governance and management; corporate governance and socio-economic governance, as the four areas of APRM, whose membership was opened to all in the African Union.