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17.07.2004 General News

Politicians urged to tackle national issues dispassionately

By GNA

Tamale, July 17, GNA- Participants at a National African Peer Review Mechanism Governing Council (NAPRM-GC) forum in Tamale on Friday called on politicians to tackle national issues dispassionately to win support of the people irrespective of their political affiliation.

They noted that when, important national issues were championed by a ruling party those in the opposition read political meanings into them, and this trickled down to the communities making it impossible for the people to unite for development.

The participants comprising civil society organisations, chiefs and government departments and agencies, made the call at a regional APRM sensitisation forum as part of NAPRM-GC's review programme. They suggested that since partisan approach to national issues were detrimental to development, civil society groups should be encouraged to champion the education of the people on national issues as a means of uniting them for development.

Some of the participants were of the view that most important national and continental policies and programmes had failed in many African countries because the issues had not been factored into the educational systems of those countries.

They therefore, suggested that the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and the APRM be taught in schools throughout the continent to facilitate their successful implementation.

Other participants saw the APRM as a carbon copy of the western world since traditional rulers were left out in the consultation process and called for their involvement to give meaning to the document They called for the intensification of trade links among African countries and urged politicians and civil society organisations to encourage Africans to patronise "made-in-Africa" goods to enhance economic growth and development.

Dr Francis Appiah, Executive Secretary of NAPRM-GC said Africa was changing and its leaders were becoming responsible and promoting participatory democracy.

He took the participants through the "objectives, standards, criteria and indicators of the APRM", "APRM corporate governance", "APRM organisation and process and APRM base document". He said the APRM was to foster the adoption of policies, standards and practices that would lead to political stability, high economic growth, sustainable development and accelerated sub-regional and continental economic integration.

These ideals could be achieved through the sharing of experiences and reinforcement of successful and best practices, including identifying deficiencies and assessing the needs for capacity building, he said.

Dr Appiah said civil society organisations such as the Private Enterprise Foundation (PEF), the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), the Institute of Statistics, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) and Centre for Policy Analysis (CEPA) were involved in assessing and monitoring progress in key areas such as democracy and good political governance, socio-economic development, and corporate governance.

He said Africa had come to realise that countries that had taken up the challenges of globalisation were advancing while the continent was retrogressing.

He therefore called on African countries to open their borders to encourage inter-African trade and enhance economic growth and development of the continent.

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