Penplusbytes connects citizens to the Assurance Committee to Hold Government to Account
Penplusbytes through its Connecting Citizens phase two project has engaged the Committee on Gov’t Assurances (CGA) in a citizens’ forum at Duase, a suburb in the Manhyia North Constituency of the Ashanti Region. The objective of the forum was to bring citizens and civil society organizations in the region to engage with the CGA on its oversight responsibility in monitoring the promises and assurances made by the executive arm of Government. The forum was organized with the support of Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
The event was graced with the presence of dignitaries including Honourable Collins Owusu Amankwah, who doubles as the Chair of the CGA and Parliamentary Member of Manhyia North Constituency; traditional leaders; Assembly members; religious leaders; opinion leaders, the media and over 400 citizens from the community and its environs.
Hon. Owusu Amankwah ceased the opportunity to engage his constituents on the work of the Committee through monitoring of promises and projects announced by sector ministers or the government thereby making sure that these projects stayed on course, ensure due diligence and yields the needed impact.
Jerry Sam, Deputy Director of Programmes, indicated that the project has so far succeeded in bridging the gap between Ghanaian citizens and Parliament by creating awareness about the work of parliament and enabling citizen participation in the legislative and oversight work of parliament. Penplusbytes was able to achieve this by developing communication channels between ordinary citizens and parliament through the work of the Committee on Government Assurances (CGA) of the Parliament of Ghana through the use of simple digital tools such as mobile (SMS & Whatsapp), mashed up with online platforms (web forms, social media etc).
The Project Implemention Team (PIT) oriented citizens on the key activities of the committee on government assurances, some selected assurances the committee is providing oversight responsibilities on behalf of parliament which they have to give a report to the plenary.
The key concerns from citizens were the poor state of road infrastructure in the Ashanti Region; the accountability measures/oversight work the CGA has undertaken so far; and the powers the CGA has to ensure that Ministers and for that matter the government delivers on its promises. The Chair of the CGA in response, said the citizens’ forum is one of the key aspects of the CGA’s work as it serves as an avenue to gather citizens’ feedback which will be added to comments from citizens across the country to serve as evidence-based information to hold sector ministers to account on assurances and promises made.
The next citizens forum will be undertaken in the northern part of Ghana together with a validation visit of some of government’s promises such as 1D1F, one district one dam etc.
Thereafter, the CGA will hold a public forum with sector ministers to either commend them for good work done or sanction them.
Kwami Ahiabenu, Director of Innovations stressed that the “Connecting Citizens with Parliament” project is set to provide citizens with a greater voice to input in Ghana’s democratic governance process while making parliament more responsive to demands of citizens as they hold government to account.” He therefore encouraged citizens to get involved in the work of the Committee to in order to achieve greater good of the public.
The organizers charged citizens to be involved in the work of the Committee by leveraging the various innovative channels of the project (www.govassurances.gov.gh) to demand accountability from the government on its promises so as to ensure effective governance.
About the Project
Connecting citizens to parliament II, is a project with funding support from OSIWA with the sole aim of leveraging technological innovative tools to engage with citizens to effectively monitor assurances, promises and undertakings given by Ministers of state on the floor of Parliament on specific sector issues (health, education, employment, oil and gas, power, and roads & highways etc.).
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 utilization of mining, oil and gas revenue and resources.