The Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA), a vibrant anti-corruption and rural development civil society organization has said one of the surest ways of fighting corruption in Ghana is to empower local communities to monitor, participate and demand accountability and transparency from their local assemblies.
The GDCA has in the last decades introduced most communities in Ghana to use of Social Accountability Mechanisms to increase popular participation, transparency, accountability and local government performance.
In a statement issued and signed by Mohammed Musah, Officer in charge of Economic Governance Project, under the Empowerment for Life Programme of GDCA in commemoration of the 2019 International Anti-Corruption Day, the organization said that corrupt affects Ghana in multiple ways.
The event was under the them: "United Against Corruption, " which focuses on corruption as one of the biggest obstacles to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs.
“Corruption in Ghana has been a sensational topic in politics; often being used as a reason to substitute one government for another. Across political regimes; both dictatorial military regimes and democratic regimes, the issue of corruption has always maintained its luster among citizens,” it noted.
The statement maintained that corruption costs lives, and costs people their freedom, health or money, and also affects national development.
The GDCA therefore called for concerted efforts to stem the tide of corruption at all levels, demanding governments, individuals, and CSOs to intensify various strategies and policies to help fight corruption in Ghana.
Meanwhile, GDCA has largely operated in the local government space with Social Accountability Mechanisms to increase citizens’ participation in every sector of the local economy.
Recognizing the fact that traditional accountability mechanisms which concentrate on the “supply side” of governance have failed to deliver results in promoting good governance and minimizing corruption, GDCA insists on the use of social accountability approaches to achieve better results.
The GDCA through its Economic Governance project under the Empowerment for Life (E4L) Programme applies Social Accountability tools in checking corruption in capital project contracting and contractor selection processes and in internal revenue generation and utilization by the District Assemblies.
Through the use of Social Audits, Oversight Committees, and Community Scorecards and Town Hall Meetings, citizens are offered the opportunity to monitor the execution of capital projects by the District Assemblies. As a result, Quality and value for money issues of the capital projects are raised directly by project beneficiary communities for redress by the duty bearers.
“Through the community scorecards, citizens are able to score the District Assemblies in terms of their compliance to the provision of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (ACT 663) and the directives of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA)”, the statement indicated.
The GDCA’s intervention according to the statement has not only increased transparency and accountability in the utilization of District Assembly revenue but has also reduced likelihood of corruption, through citizens’ oversight of capital projects, and has increased value for money at the local level. The various contractors, being aware that their work is monitored by citizens, have been mindful or sometimes compelled to adhere to project specifications and quality standards.