‘Lack of citizens’ participation impedes Ghana’s democratic growth’

Abesim, A local government expert has observed that the lack of citizens’ participation in decision making remains inimical to the growth of Ghana’s democracy.

Mr Edem Senanu, a Consultant at the Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee (IMCC) on Decentralisation, said this at a stakeholders’ sensitisation workshop on the National Framework for Popular Participation at Abesim, near Sunyani.

It was jointly organised by the IMCC Secretariat and the Brong-Ahafo Regional Coordinating Council and attended by religious organisations, traditional authorities, civil society organisations, heads of department and presiding members.

Mr Senanu indicated that until citizens checked and held duty bearers accountable, the country’s fledgling democracy would not grow or thrive.

He noted that the country’s governance system was polarised because of the low interest of citizens in decision making, hence the need to encourage and bring the local people actively on board in governance.

Mr Senanu called for effective collaboration between technocrats, media and civil society organisations to check and hold duty bearers accountable.

He underscored the importance to effectively inculcating civic education in the basic school curricula so that school children would understand their civil rights.

Mr Senanu said citizens remained the ultimate human resource of any country, and there was the need to afford all possible opportunities for people to participate in democratic governance.

He said until that was done democracy could not become a reality as enshrined in Article 35, 6 (d) of the 1992 Constitution.

Mr Senanu said democracies had thrived in the western world because those countries had made their citizens understand that they played critical roles in governance.

“Posterity would judge us if we fail to allow our democracy to thrive,” he said, indicating that participation in local governance was a civic right.

He charged metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to actively provide opportunities for citizens to participate in decision making such as fee and rates fixing.

This, he said, would compel citizens to pay their rates and taxes for the assemblies to mobilise the required revenue needed for development.

Mr Senanu called for the speedy passage of the Right to Information Bill.

Source: Ghana News Agency