A response to “Ghana’s absence at the OGP Africa Regional Meeting: Did it Matter?”
Mr Pethuel A. K. Danyo, Deputy Director at Public Sector Reforms Secretariat in Ghana, responds to Ugonna Ukaigwe’s blog post entitled ‘Ghana’s absence at the OGP Africa Regional meeting: did it matter?‘.
The OGP Africa Regional Meeting held in Tanzania ended on 21st May, 2015. Government of Ghana was not represented at the meeting. The absence of Ghana at the Conference, judging from the thrust of the article written by Ms Ugonna Ukaigwe, must have generated much concern among participating countries. The concerns raised by the writer are very much appreciated.
However in the attempt to carry across a genuine concern, the writer seemed to have been caught up in a maze of two issues; objectivity and subjectivity. To say that, ‘Ghana’s absence was made particularly obvious mainly because she did not make much progress in the implementation of the first national action plan…….’ and go on to conclude that this, ‘is a pointer to the level of commitment on the part of government towards the OGP processes.’ is heavily subjective.
Ghana’s OGP Action Plan development process has always been cited as one of the best of action plan development processes. Ghana’s Action Plan implementation has been evaluated by an Independent Researcher commissioned by the Global OGP Support Unit and the report launched on 3rd March, 2015. The assessment was done based on the criteria developed by the OGP Support Unit as follows:
- Not started
- Initiated the process
- Partly implemented
- Largely implemented
- Fully implemented
Ghana in her Action Plan put forward eleven commitments. Three commitments were fully implemented, four commitments were largely implemented, one had been initiated and two were not started. Therefore to conclude that Ghana performed poorly as the writer of the article under reference did is far-fetched. It shows that either the writer did not read the Independent Research Mechanism Report (IRM) or read the Report but did not understand the assessment method employed by the IRM.
Secondly, to submit categorically that it was because Ghana did poorly that was why she was represented at the Regional meeting is the figment of the writer’s fertile imagination. Taking into account the nature and readership of the article under reference, one would expect that the writer could have done a little research or consultations before she makes statements that are unfounded.
In any case, she admitted in her write-up that OGP is a process not an event. If is so, the question that needs to be answered is that Ghana was not represented in the recent Regional meeting. Does it mean that Ghana would not be represented in any future meetings? Does it also mean that countries that are members of the OGP community are complacent?
Ghana has been participating in OGP events. She has participated in video conferences organized by the OGP support Unit and shared her experiences on those platforms. Ghana participated in the Regional meeting in Kenya.
Agreeably, Ghana has always been touted as a beacon of ‘shinning’ democracy. For this reason, Ghana has always been aware of her responsibility as the torch bearer of democracy and would not renege on this important trust reposed in her by the rest of the African continent.
Ghana considers her membership of the OGP as an opportunity to further deepen her democratic structures. By extending a hand of partnership to civil society organizations in decision making, diverse views would be collated to inform policy making. In this way, incrementally, the quality of life of the people of Ghana would be improved. On this course, there is no room for complacency.
Ghana is open and therefore will continue to engage others in knowledge and experience sharing with the view to learning and imbibing new ways of making life better for her people.