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01.07.2005 General News

Fall-outs From The Abuja APRM Forum


'GHANA REPORT' CLARIFIED It Goes Beyond JAK's Govt. & Is An Assessment Of A Ten Year Period – Kwesi Jonah

CRUSADING GUIDE -- Mr. Kwesi Jonah, a Research Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in charge of Governance has said that the recent African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Report is not a sole assessment of President Kufuor and his Government.

“It is not about one individual President”, noted he, “for example the period for which Ghana has been assessed extends from 1992 to 2004”, Mr. Jonah underscored.

According to him, the period “includes years that had been spent by the National Democratic Congress NDC and the ruling Government”.

Noting that the assessment covers four key areas - Political Governance and Democracy, Corporate Governance, Economic Governance and Socio-Economic Development – Mr. Jonah lauded the exercise, saying “for me, honestly, it is very good, it is good that the people who are ruled – civil society organizations – would have the opportunity to assess their own governments”.

He said if the mechanism had been in place in the past, “then many of the things that happened, like coups d'etat would not have happened”.

He said the mechanism would have brought governance to the doorsteps of the governed and not provide anybody with the pretext to usurp the peoples' mandate and foist himself on them.

Mr. Jonah, however expressed fears that given the fact that African Governments are powerful, in future the mechanism could be massaged by putting pressure on those doing the assessment “to tone down on certain things”.

Meanwhile, Professor Adjepong, Chairman of the National Governing Council of the APRM, last Friday corroborated Mr. Jonah's position on the period of the assessment and other factors.

Speaking at a press conference to react to issues raised in the media and the various interpretations that were being made by others on the APRM Report, Prof. Adjepong said the APRM Report was neither an assessment of the performance of the President, the presidency nor for that matter the Executive.

He said the APRM questionnaire used for the exercise requested that the focus should be on recent issues and that recent meant a period within the last five to ten years.

According to him, “when the national assessment took place in 2004, it could not have focused only on the current administration. It may be instructive to add that some aspects of the report were based on analysis going as far back as over 20 years”.

The Chairman of the Governing Council of the APRM underscored that the Report was “national in character and not an assessment of any specific administration”.

Explaining, he said, the three arms of government – the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary – were subjected to scrutiny as well as the work of independent institutions like the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

Other areas that featured in the assessment, he said, were the media, trade unions, the private sector and non-governmental organizations.

“In effect”, he underscored, “the review process covered both State and Civil Society organizations in terms of the effectiveness of governance in the four areas of the APRM”, adding that “the review was national in character and covered the state of governance in Ghana in its entirety”.

He explained that Ghana had not yet been reviewed under the APRM and that what happened in Abuja, Nigeria on June 19, 2005 was a presentation of the Ghana APRM Country Review Report by the Panel of Eminent Persons to the APRM Forum, which is made up of the Heads of State of the countries subscribing to the APRM.

Prof. Adjepong said the peer review by the 22 African Heads of State would come on in August, this year.

He also explained that the Report was not a Government of Ghana Report but a Country Review Report, reflecting “the views of Ghanaians, by themselves for the good of Ghana”.

He also pointed out that the recommendations made by the panel were not conjectured by the panel, but rather the recommendations came out of the various interactions with stakeholders and a review of how Ghanaians themselves saw the state of governance in the four key areas of the APRM. He said an amount of $2.847 billion would be required to implement the recommendations – Programme of Action (POA) – by which the country's weaknesses and deficiencies and shortcomings would be adequately addressed to put the country back on the right footing.