From Michael Boateng
Ghana's democracy has been observed as virtually handicapped by the continuous dominance of political influence which does not formulate policies according to needs and economic livelihood of the citizenry but centered on personal or party interest.
The Project Coordinator of the Social Accountability Platform for Local Governance in Ghana Project, Edward Aboagye, who made this observation, indicated that this has resulted in lack of accountability on the part of the citizenry in putting service providers and duty bearers to task.
Service providers and duty bearers, he noted, have failed to achieve significant poverty reduction and transparent and accountable governance.
According to him, lack of transparency, absence of rule of law and corruption continue to be a problem for Ghana's social accountability.
Mr. Aboagye said these at a day's Zonal Validation Workshop on Mapping of Regional Social Accountability Intervention for Actors and Partnership Stakeholders in Tamale.
The participants, who were mainly CSOs and NGOs from Brong-Ahafo, Northern, Upper West and Upper East regions, attended the workshop. The main goal of the 'Social Accountability Platform for Local Governance in Ghana Project', being implemented by the Institute of Local Government Studies, with funding from European Union, is to provide a harmonized approach to promoting comprehensive and coherent social accountability at the sub-national level in Ghana.
Under the project a study has been conducted on mapping of regional social accountability interventions, actors and partnership stakeholders towards the production of the annual 'Status of Local Government Accountability Ghana' Report.
According to the Project Co-ordinator, the overall objective of the mapping exercise was to take stock of existing local governance social accountability methods, approaches, tools, mechanisms and practices identified by NGOs and CSOs in order to gain a coherent picture of the local level public performance.
Mr. Aboagye said regional reports have been prepared based on information collected from the field survey and the workshop was to validate the findings of the study and finalize the document.
Participants at the event identified lack of funding and lack of total commitment from community members and traditional leaders as some of the challenges facing social accountability in Ghana.
They further said absence of relevant laws to compel public officials to release information to the public was another contributory factor that prevented the citizenry to demand accountability from duty bearers.
The Participants called on the European Union and other donor agencies to review their funding criteria to enable grassroots organization to have access to funding under social accountability projects.
According to them, many local organizations could not apply for the recent call by the European Union due to the eligibility criteria, especially applying through internet.
They pointed out that many grassroots organizations have no access to internet and those who have access to the facility have difficulty to use them.