According to Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) the resurfacing of some negative democratic tendencies have remained problematic on the continent and needed to be tackled proactively.
CDD- Ghana also expressed worry about the manner in which some governments on the continent had abused political power by extending their terms of office, a situation which threatened Africa’s democracy.
Mr Paul Osei-Kuffour,the Programmes Manager of CDD Ghana, made this known at the opening session of a two-day media workshop on the “I Am Aware (IAA)” Project, underway in Accra, and organised by the CDD-Ghana.
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is supporting the CDD-Ghana to implement the IAA project, a social accountability initiative to strengthen citizens’ access to government service delivery performance, planning and resource allocation information.
It creates further opportunities for engagement and dialogue with policy bureaucrats and frontline service providers, thereby strengthening accountability and governmental responsiveness to service delivery.
Selected Journalists and media practitioners drawn from the Bono, Ashanti, Eastern, Upper East, Northern and Upper West regions are attending the workshop on the theme: “Strengthening Civic Participation at the Local Level; The Role of the Media in Improving Civic Space and Fostering Civic Engagement at the District Level.”
Mr Osei-Kuffour said, “CDD survey confirms the capture of democracy by private individuals in parts of the continent”, saying the extension of terms of offices of Presidents in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea did not augur well for Africa democracy.
He said although Ghana had made significant progress in her democratic governance system with some liberal media environment, the media in the country was confronted with challenges of continuous government control of the state-owned media.
Mr. Osei-Kuffour said challenges of delays in the disbursement of the District Assembly Common Fund, rising level of inequality, corruption in the management of national resources, as well as lack of transparency in the distribution of royalties, were inimical to the growth and development of the nation’s fledgling democracy.
He, therefore, urged the media and civil society to reflect and re-orient their programmes to well inform and inspire citizens to be interested and actively engage in decision making processes to deepen local government.
Mr Mohammed Awal, the Team Lead for Social Accountability, CDD-Ghana, highlighted the role of the media, and called on journalists to develop interest and put a spotlight on local government and accountability.
He also entreated the media to develop interest in highlighting the voices of the vulnerable and minority groups, especially People Living with Disabilities, and youth to inform policy formulation and implementation.