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Kan-Dapaah calls for collaboration to deepen governance structures

The Minister of National Security, Albert Kan-Dapaah, has called for strong collaboration between the government and civil society organisations (CSOs) to deepen governance structures in the country.

He said such a collaboration should drive inclusive governance and a commitment to hold governments accountable.

The minister said instead of leaving governance to political actors alone, CSOs must be ready to work with such structures to accelerate the development of the country.

“My advice is that CSOs should not leave governance to political actors alone. They must see themselves as part of the system. We can help our country better if we work together,” he added.

Mr Kan-Dapaah made the call at the 17th annual ‘Kronti ne Akwamu’ Democracy and Good Governance Lecture in Accra last Tuesday.

Lecture

The lecture is an annual event organised by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) to discuss issues relating to democratic development.

It was on the theme: “The evolution of the civic space in modern African democracy.”

In attendance were a Deputy Attorney-General, Alfred Tuah-Yeboah; the Director of CDD West Africa, Idayat Hassan, and the Dean of the Faculty of Communication Studies of the Wisconsin International University, Prof. Kwame Karikari.

Others were the General Secretary of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Nana Yaa Jantuah, and the Executive Director of CDD-Ghana, Prof. Henry Kwasi Prempeh.

It also featured prominent scholars and activists of local and international repute whose interests and work focus on the promotion of democracy, good governance and inclusive development.

Mr Kan-Dapaah said, “our Constitution realises the need for accountability and, indeed, has set up a number of accountability institutions to hold the government accountable”.

“But what you will notice in practice is that most of these institutions set up by the Constitution really do not have the independence needed to be able to hold the government accountable in the interest of society,” he said.

With the lack of independence on the side of government institutions, the minister said, CSOs were the only trusted bodies to hold the government accountable.

Situation

Prof. Prempeh said the West African sub-region and the world at large were experiencing the phenomena of authoritarianism, insurgence, democratic backsliding and shrinking civic space.

“In the Civic’s 2020 report, it noted that 87 per cent of the world’s population is now living in countries rated as closed, repressed or obstructed. These worrying trends include the disruption of peaceful protests, needless regulation aimed at shifting power from civic to political actors, digital-closure and surveillance, anti-non-governmental organisation (NGO) bills and restrictive laws, unlawful arrests and detention of activists and the like,” he added.

For her part, the Director of CDD-West Africa, Ms Hassan, said in Africa, the civil society movement had progressed in recent years.

She said activities of civil societies had become a barometer through which ordinary citizens gauged democracy in their respective countries.

Significance

Prof. Karikari called for more discussions and debate to save the civic space, which he said was central to the health of democracy, both in the country and in Africa.

“We must ensure that the space does not close completely because we have gone through periods when there were no spaces at all and we had to keep fighting so hard that we lost so many of our citizens in the process,” Prof. Karikari said.

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