The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has called on Ghanaian citizens to take keen interest in issues of social accountability and not leave the fight in the hands of only Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
The Commission observed that the demand for social accountability from public officials and institutions was done largely by CSOs, thereby painting a picture that individual citizens were not interested in demanding accountability from their leaders.
Mr John Yibile, the Sissala East Municipal Director of NCCE made the call during a public education campaign on social accountability at Kassana community in the Sissala East Municipality.
He noted that over the years, there had been one sided efforts for public officials and institutions which was to account to their superiors about their actions.
“This top-down approach has not been very responsive and alienates the citizens from participating in matters that affect their livelihood”, he pointed out.
Mr Yibile noted that the approach coupled with several abuses of entrusted power was de-motivating citizens and dissatisfying them with the delivery of social services and development.
“Citizens are considered satisfied when there is high level of social accountability through social auditing”.
He defined social accountability to include; the obligation of public officials to explain or justify what they have done or failed to do regarding the resources entrusted to them and the efficiency of resource utilisation through citizen’s engagements.
Mr Yibile further explained that social auditing through citizens engagement was imperative for a just and democratic governance, which could lead to trust between citizens and public officials, increase awareness of the operations of the local government and empower citizens to demand accountability from duty bearers.
Mr Salifu Wahabu, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Tumu Area Office, told the people that while they prepared themselves to demand accountability from public officials, they should also look within their communities and hold each other accountable for the ills that was drawing them back.
“As we hold our leaders to the principles of transparency and accountability as citizens, we should endeavour to practise environmental accountability to the future generations through sustainable use of our environmental resources.
“The way we use environmental resources to satisfy our greed at the expense of the larger community especially the case of rosewood is detrimental to the environment”, Mr Wahabu added.