Transparency and Accountability (TA)
Ghana has made significant progress in achieving a system of good governance compared to other African countries, but there still exist a number of critical challenges that require urgent resolution to deepen and sustain the progress made especially in relation to accountability by governance agencies to citizens. Lack of accountability by Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to citizens management of capital development projects, including the construction of schools and health clinics, fostering greater accountability for their successful completion hamper the effectiveness of key government institutions. Vulnerable populations such as women and person’s with disability do not have their needs and opinions represented in district assemblies plans because they do not have knowledge of town hall meetings. Poverty also lowers their social status coupled with socio-cultural practices and hinders their ability to take action when their rights are violated.
Even though Ghana has a vibrant media, recent development compromises the independence of the media. In addition, many journalists are ill-equipped with knowledge and understanding of specific subjects, thus many editorial offices and stations lack specialists, thereby compromising the quality of reportage. There have been violations of media freedom in Ghana where publications are censored, publishers fined, suspended and publishing houses closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered. These challenges impede the media’s role as a ‘watchdog’ of government to promote good governance, reduce poverty and for that matter national development. It also affects the media’s ability in a democracy to provides a robust and reliable checks and balance structure which ensures accountability.
In sum, in most of areas of development actions, women, girls and other vulnerable population cohorts are usually unheard, unseen and uninvolved in decisions, these nagging phenomena must change!
A major requirement for ensuring transparency and accountability in governance and in society as a whole, is the empowerment of the citizenry to be able to seek and receive information on how their national resources are being managed by the people they elect to manage such resources. In a transparent and accountable governance environment, young people, women and Persons with disabilities ought to have the legal right to;
- Hold duty bearers accountable.
- Participate in decision making at the local and national level of governance.
- Participate in the electoral process.
- Promote and guard freedom of the media
to promote Social Accountability strategies that enhances good governance and promotes democratic principles. In conclusion, duty bearers must be honestly dutiful and right holders should be supported to hold their rights tight.