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11.07.2005 General News

Districts enlightened on Governance Issues


Accra, July 11, GNA - National Governance Issues Forum (GIF) has organised seminars for assembly members, politicians, civil society groups, religious and opinion leaders in 22 District, Municipal and Metropolitans Assemblies throughout the country.

The 22 assemblies in five regions - four in Western; five each in Central and Eastern; six in Volta and three in Greater Accra, were enlightened in the principles of governance through public deliberative methodology under the National Governance Issues Forum (GIF).

The public deliberation methodology exposes the beneficiaries to a process through which citizens are empowered to define the problem confronting their community, group or nation from their differing viewpoints and to make collective choices for meaningful public action.

The Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) in collaboration with DANIDA with support from UNDP, National Governance Programme and the African Capacity Building Foundation, a non-governmental organisation based in Zimbabwe, organised the seminars.

The forums were on the general theme: "Civic Participation in Poverty Reduction".

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, IDEG Executive Director, explained that the public deliberation was a means of engaging citizens to discuss the most pressing public needs and to find common ground upon which to take the appropriate steps, as a public to solve a fundamental problem.

"Public deliberations allows the varying voices to be heard and considered, it is also a means through which a community has the advantage of opening lines of communication among its members and between the people and officeholders, by weighing the likely consequences of different courses of action upon different sectors of our public. We as citizens can offer good advice to our elected governments."

Dr Akwetey said districts in the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper West and Upper East Regions would be covered under phase II of the GIF process.

The GIF forums, allows membership from private and public organizations and opinion leaders at both district and community levels to deliberate on developmental and governance issues, for the maintenance of close links with District Assemblies in facilitating action on decisions and programmes.

It offers a new way of talking about governance issues that would lead to positive action at all levels needed to develop and make democracy meaningful to the citizenry.

Dr Akwetey noted that the citizens needed to be empowered to see governance and decision-making as a shared responsibility rather than as the sole preserve of government institutions.

Issues discussed during the training were the principles of moderating, recording, reporting, naming, clustering, framing and moving from deliberations to action.