By: Nathaniel Yankson
THE INTERNATIONAL Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Penplusbytes, yesterday launched its Post-elections Intervention project, aimed at overcoming the challenges and problems, which militate against citizens and the media’s ability to hold elected public officials accountable for promises they make during elections in the country.
The project is part of the broader African Elections Project, established in the year 2008. It began in March this year and it is expected to end in March 2011.
According to Dr. Kwabena Riverson, the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Penplusbytes, the project also seeks to provide easy and accessible information on political promises and development plans of elected representatives to the public, create citizens awareness on development issues, and reduce acrimonious campaign messages, which seem to attack personalities, while urging them to focus on developmental issues.
For this reason, Penplusbytes mentioned the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipal Assembly as the two geographic areas for the pilot study of this project.
The project activities would include developing a media guide for journalists, organize Face-to-Face fora, establishing online space for debate and knowledge sharing, and live reports from Parliament, and many more.
The selected assemblies, he added, would enable the project to track records of local government and political performance towards the development agenda of the nation.
Dr. Riverson explained that the project uses various sources of information, including the President’s Sessional address, Budget statements, Parliamentary question time, statements by the President and sector Ministers, as reported by the media, to track the developmental issues promised by the elected officials during any given electioneering campaign period.
Others are statements and publications by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), while gathering other information from research officers on the field.
This project is being undertaken by a coalition of Civil Society Organizations like the Ghana
Journalists Association, Centre for Democratic Congress, the African University College of Communication, and sponsored by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
A book on how journalists would cover post-elections in the country was also unveiled. It is titled – “Because Accountability Counts: A journalist’s guide to post-elections in Ghana.”
It has an overview of the country’s post-elections periods, governance, legislative issues, political parties and their manifestos, et al.