Connecting Citizens to Parliament Forum to be held in Tamale
In order to have structured engagement mechanism between citizens and parliament, Penplusbytes with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) is organizing a one-day forum on Wednesday, 9th September 2015 at the conference hall of the University of Development Studies (UDS) in the Northern regional capital of Tamale.
This forms a part of the Connecting citizens to Parliament project aimed at enhancing the ability of citizens to hold duty bearers accountable through increased interaction between them and Parliaments’ Committee on Government Assurance (CGA) to ensure effective and timely public service delivery across the country.
The forum will provide the residents of Tamale, a unique opportunity to have firsthand experience of the workings of the connecting citizens to parliament project including its multiple channels of engagement such as the short code 9030, web-platform www.assurances.gov.gh , mobile app admin.assurances.gov.gh/mobile, as well as social media tools such as Facebook www.facebook.com/govassurancesgh and Twitter @govassurance.
The Assurances Committee of Parliament, CGA, a Standing Committee of Parliament, created by the standing Orders in 1998 to exercise oversight responsibility over the Executive. Order 174 (2) of the Standing Orders of Parliament mandates the Committee to pursue all assurances, promises and undertaking given by Ministers from time to time. Additionally, the Committee also reports to the House on the extent to which such assurances have been fulfilled. Therefore, the Committee on Government Assurances seeks accountability to the Ghanaian people through their elected representatives.
Connecting citizens to Parliament project, since its inception, is now a very important mechanism which fosters greater interaction between the CGA and citizens through the expansion of the consultative base to include the input of citizens – civil society organisations and individuals – in the tracking of assurances and promises made on the floor of Parliament of Ghana thereby supporting oversight role of the legislature.
The Executive Director of Penplusbytes; developers and mangers of the assurances platforms, Kwami Ahiabenu, II, describes the role of CSO’s and citizens as crucial to the project. Adding that, “the direct engagement with citizens (in the project) is an essential component as, aside from holding duty bearers accountable, they tend to also provide the CGA with vital, on-the-ground information on the selected assurances and promises that are currently being monitored while the committee takes the chance to provide similar feedback from their end of the assurances tracking process to close to information loop”.
The forum in Tamale will be the 2nd of its kind after a first was held in Ho last August where, members of the CGA, led by its chairman, Hon Emmanuel Bedzrah, directly engaged with the local people, CSOs working within the governance and accountability space, and the media on the work of parliament and the committee; providing a platform also for the Citizens to pass on their concerns about on-going projects under close monitoring of the Committee and beyond and this is expected be no different as it will go a long way to empower citizens to play an active role in enabling good governance through supporting the work of parliament in playing an effective oversight role over the legislature.
Note to Editors
Penplusbytes is a not-for-profit organization driving change through innovations in three key areas: using new digital technologies to enable good governance and accountability, new media and innovations, and driving oversight for effective utilisation of mining, oil and gas revenue and resources.
Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) is an open society foundations that works to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people.