$6.4m Project to deepen political accountability launched
A project aimed at strengthening accountability in the country's political system was yesterday launched in Accra.
The $6.4 million project, dubbed “Political Accountability Activity”, will among other things, address issues of electoral reforms, deepen political decentralisation, promote inclusive governance, and also support the development of peaceful norms.
It also involves building of synergies with independent agencies of government and civil society organisations to strengthen campaign finance rules and also prevent electoral violence.
It is envisaged that when successfully implemented, the project would ultimately assist political parties and the Electoral Commission (EC) to monitor compliance of electoral laws, as well as promote peaceful and tolerant political norms.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is funding the four-year project which would be implemented by three organisations —the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Federation for Electoral Systems (IFES), which are all under the consortium of elections and political process strengthening (CEPPS).
CEPPS is an umbrella institution made up of non-governmental organisations dedicated to advancing and supporting democratic practices and institutions around the globe.
Building on gains
The Vice-President, Programmes, of IRI, Scott Mastic, said the district level and the 2024 general election both presented what he described as a critical opportunity to build on the country's democratic gains.
He said it also reinforced the country’s reputation in the sub-region as leader of democracy in the face of recent political upheavals and growing regional instability.
The USAID Mission Director, Kimberly Rosen, said her outfit recognised the importance of accountable governance because it affected people's quality of life such as quality service delivery in health, basic education, agriculture and fisheries.
She said with democracy being challenged across the world “we must ensure that young people understand, appreciate, participate and defend democratic governance”.
The Resident Programme Director of IRI,Ghana, Sunday Alao; Senior Election Specialist, IFES Ghana, Gilbert Sam, and Senior Programme Manager, Central and West Africa of NDI, Alex Bailey, gave separate overviews of the project and the expected roles of the three implementing institutions.
They said ultimately, the project would ensure that the nation's elected politicians would be more accountable to citizens, while ensuring a higher number of people also benefited from the government’s programmes and democratic decision-making process.
They further said that the project would empower citizens to demand improved political accountability, support the country's political system to be more inclusive of marginalised groups such as Persons with Disabilities, women and youth, as well as support civil society groups to promote electoral reforms that would increase responsiveness of elected politicians to the needs of citizenry.
The Director of Training, EC, Michael Boadu; the Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Kathleen Addy; the Executive Secretary of National Peace Council, George Amoh, and the Research Manager, Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Daniel Armah-Attoh, all expressed commitment towards the successful implementation of the project.
In attendance were former national Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Peter Mac Manu, and the founder and leader of Ghana Freedom Party, Akua Donkor.