Participants at this year’s University for Development Studies (UDS) Harmattan School lectures held in Tamale, have advocated for Ghanaians to adopt a positive attitude through ethical crusade or social re-engineering in order to enhance accountable governance in the country.
They said a holistic approach to the virtues of good governance was what could really make accountable governance a reality in Ghana, stressing that, this should be done from the home through the school system to the work place.
A communiqué issued after the two-day lectures held at the Tamale Campus of the UDS, a copy of which Savannahnews intercepted, recommended that the Constitution of Ghana should also be amended to address the problem of Executive dominance, in particular over Parliament, so as to improve checks and balances.
In Ghana, issues on corruption have recently gained frenzied in public discourse across the media landscape. This is due to the socio-political and economic challenges that the country faces.
The theme for the 2014 Harmattan School lectures ‘Accountable Governance- A Key to National Development’ is very critical in this regard. For instance, the communiqué cited some perceived corrupt practices involving the sale of Ghana Telecom to Vodafone; the drill ship saga by the Kuffuor administration and the Fortiz-Merchant Bank sale issue, the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority and the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency in the current administration.
The communiqué charged government to create the appropriate means and mechanisms for enhanced accountable governance in both public and private institutions, adding “State institutions mandated to fight corruption should be empowered to be independent in the performance of their statutory functions”, it emphasised.
Furthermore, the Right to Information Bill, it said, should be passed into law and the Whistle Blowers’ Act also pursued vigorously.
It charged citizens and civil society organisations to demand and secure space within the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies system for engagement on issues of transparency and accountability in the management of resources and service delivery.
Meanwhile, the Harmattan School started in 2005 as a platform for postgraduate students of the UDS to present policy papers for assessment as part of their training requirements. However, in 2007 the University institutionalized it as one of the fora for Think-Tanks to interrogate development issues in the country.
It is usually organised in February (during the Harmattan season, which runs from December to March each year). The 2014 Harmattan School thus brought together interest groups including Academia, Civil society organizations, Non-Governmental Organisations and Government agencies, to discuss the role of Accountable Governance in curbing corruption to accelerate the socio-economic development of Ghana and Northern Ghana in particular.
Since its inception, it has consistently broadened its scope by exploring the diversified Ghanaian Economy to propel National Development.
The effects of the discourse led to the establishment of a programme in Peace Studies in the University. Unfortunately the UDS is the sole sponsor of this all important programme thus this has affected the publication of the Harmattan School papers.