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GMEC delegation from Zambia visit Ghana

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THE AFRICAN PEER REVIEW MECHANISM (APRM) AND GHANA'S DECEMBER 7TH ELECTIONS PDF Print E-mail
Written by Cornelia Amoah (PAO)   
Thursday, 05 March 2009 09:37

The NAPRM-GCThe APRM, the voluntary self-monitoring system of governance was agreed to by African governments to carry out the ideals of NEPAD. Based on its four thematic areas, the APRM spearheads Democracy and good political governance, economic   governance and management, corporate governance and socio-economic development.

Needless to say, Ghana was among the first six countries to declare her intention to accede to the APRM and boldly went through the entire process of peer review in spite of the initial lack of understanding and appreciation by some Ghanaians.

Today, African countries at different stages of peer review, turn no where but to Ghana, the pacesetter in the APRM for information, for direction and for guidance. The international community has recognized the singular effort of Ghana in pushing the APRM Agenda forward and for NAPRM-GC for introducing the Oversight Committee Concepts in which the masses play a leading role in the governance system, unlike before.

Stating the obvious, Ghana is going to the polls on the 7th of December 2008 to choose parliamentary candidates and a presidential candidate to form the next government.

The political parties are already in the field, doing what they know how to do best. They are travelling the length and breadth of the country, long stretches of sometimes bumpy, dusty roads and dangerous bridges even at odd hours in order to reach the men and women who qualify to vote and solicit their votes. 

Political activity is at its highest with all the candidates assuring the electorate that they have the answers to the economic, social and political ills in the nation.

Ahead of the elections, everybody is speaking against the use of abusive and provocative language, violence and bloodshed.

Peace groups made up of the young and the old, traditional and religious leaders, NGOs, individuals and political leaders themselves are all blowing the horn for peace and crying unto God for peaceful elections.

It all sounds good but the disturbing observation which is striking, however, is that reports of violent confrontations and unimagineable destruction of  property in some parts of the country as well as the use of unpleasant and provocative language keep coming. Since virtually everybody is preaching peace and non-violence, who are those who are causing this unnecessary mayhem and the disturbance of public peace?

These developments raise concerns considering the painful legacies election-related issues have left some countries of the sub-region and the African continent.

What the nation needs is for all the presidential candidates and indeed all political parties to realize that they have a duty to ensure that the procedures and practices of the APRM become part of the whole electioneering process to remind ourselves and to give citizens the opportunity to discuss and contribute to the changes and reforms needed to ensure true peace and security, respect for human rights and the rule of law,the  prudent management and equitable distribution of the nations resources to attain good governance.

This is based on the four thematic areas of the the APRM;

  • Democracy and Good Political Governance:
  • Economic Governance and Management
  • Corporate Governance and
  • Socio-Economic Development.

 This way ,  governance  in which the grassroots participate will lead to Good Governance that brings contentment to the citizenry.

 What many of us probably do not know  or may have pushed to the back burner is that when the results of the December 7th elections are declared, and the winner is sworn -in as the President of the Republic of Ghana, he will have less than two weeks  to attend the  APRM Forum of Heads of State on behalf of the people of Ghana.

Since the APRM is not for personalities but countries, Ghana has already been scheduled  to attend the periodic country review  in January 2009.

There certainly has to be some interest and preparation to ensure that Ghana’s president goes to meet his colleague Heads of State in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, fully armed with information on the APRM. This is crucial and we have to work at it . This depends very much on the country's performance on the December 7th elections. Let us be mindful of the fact that  the eyes of the world are on Ghana.

We cannot afford to fail. Let us put into practice, all that we know at home and what we have learnt abroad on how to ensure CREDIBLE and PEACEFUL elections.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 August 2010 15:02
 
NEWS COMMENTARY ON AFRICA UNION DAY PDF Print E-mail
Written by Cornelia Amoah (PAO)   
Thursday, 05 March 2009 09:12

NEWS COMMENTARY ON AFRICA UNION DAY 25/5/08 AND THE NEED FOR EVERY GHANAIAN TO COME TO UNDERSTAND THAT THEY ARE THE REAL OWNERS OF THE AFRICAN PEER REVIEW MECHANISM, BORN BY THE AFRICAN UNION AND THE NEW PARTNERSHIP FOR AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT (NEPAD)

Cornelia Amoah - NAPRM- GC Public Affairs OfficerThe 5th month of May may understandably mean many things to different people but for Africa and its history, the month of May and specifically the 25th of May 1963 is a landmark   -the formation of the Organization of African Unity in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. This date brings memories of   strong leaders like Ghana’s Osagyefo Dr.  Kwame Nkrumah, Presidents Abdul Gamel Nasser of Egypt, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Ahmed Sekou Toure of Guinea   and Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and the significant roles they played to break the shackles of   imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism.

They had a passionate agenda to achieve total African independence and unity.

They were a group of selfless of dedicated leaders who could be described as those who wanted nothing but the political liberation and economic emancipation of their peoples.

They did their best in spite of the ideological groupings and regional blocs. 

With time, another crop of leaders emerged and in their dispensation; the cry of the people of   Africa has been that of misery, discontent with governance, injustices, strife, conflicts, dissipation of national resources and disregard for the welfare of the majority.  

With this tag placed on most modern day African leaders and  the continent of Africa rated as the poorest in spite of its abundant human and natural resources, African leaders had to come together to try and change this poor image.

Together they came, faced with the reality that the many years of administration of incredible major economic policies and programmes by western leaders, detached from the real needs of Africa have failed.

They needed to come up with their own policies centered on the people of Africa.

Under the auspices of the African Union, this brainstorm gave birth to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), a strategic development framework to improve the livelihoods of Africans. Out of this came the African Peer Review Mechanism, (APRM) a self-monitoring and assessment system of governance to promote the adoption of policies and practices that will lead to political stability, high economic growth, sustainable and accelerated development and increased economic integration in the sub-region and on the continent.

The APRM has four major concerns.

  • DEMOCRACY AND POLITICAL GOVERNANCE     - Promotion of Constitutional Democracy, Political Competition and Rule of Law
  • ECONOMIC GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT  -  Promotion of Sound Macro-Economic Policies that support Sustainable Development and Transparency in Policy-making
  • CORPORATE GOVERNANCE  -   The Promotion and Adoption of Codes of Business Ethics in Corporations, ensuring  that stakeholders like shareholders, employees, suppliers and consumers  are treated in a fair and just manner
  • SOCIO-ECONOMIC  DEVELOPMENT   - To Promote self-reliance and Build Capacity to achieve Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication

Some of the advantages of the APRM are that it fosters national dialogue and the participation and empowerment of citizens in national development. It enhances African ownership of its development process. It provides an objective basis for the use of peer pressure to adopt good policies and practices and enables countries to identify capacity gaps, weaknesses and deficiencies in order to provide solutions.

The PEER Review Process plays an important role. It goes through five distinct stages.

The gathering of political, economic, and corporate governance information, the country review visit, the preparation of the APR Teams report, the submission of the report to the APR Forum and the public release of the APRM report to the Pan African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, the Peace and Security Council and the envisaged Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the AU.

The striking significance of the APR process is that consultations are held extensively with government officials, parliamentarians, political parties, the business community, civil society, including the media, academia, Trade Unions, NGOs and Community and Faith-Based organizations to gather the information that will be used to asses the Heads of State in question.

An integral part of the APRM concept is the inauguration of District Oversight Committees which assists the National African Peer Review Governing Council by acting as advocates at the districts; ensuring  broad-based participation and transparency and the submission of  monitoring and evaluation reports.

Strictly, the criteria for membership of the APRM District Oversight Committees are noteworthy.

Principally, one has to be above reproach and of impeccable character – not associated with drugs, corruption, crime or drunkenness among others.

Even more importantly one shall not hold office in a political party.

This requirement for integrity, high moral standing and neutrality is a strong expression for all Ghanaian to think seriously and live mindful of character. Character, that will give one the courage to peer review another to qualify to be part of the process to peer review our leaders.

From this preamble, it is clear that the Peer Review of Ghana and Rwanda was not so much about Presidents John Agyekum Kufour and Paul Kagame but about the exercise of power by the electorate, who review their leaders at home before they are reviewed by their peers at the continental level.

As the nation marks AU DAY on 25/5/08 it is crucial for us as a people to get to understand the APRM and to reflect on our individual roles which we do or do not know or which we have ignored, and begin to play these roles.  

On this AU DAY, let the people of Ghana soberly reflect on the crucial requirements and opportunities the APRM offer and take a collective decision to do what is expected of us to make it work.

 Let it be a day to think seriously about Ghana our motherland and how to destroy the negative perception that it will be difficult to change the status quo in our nation.

Let us remember that the African Peer Review Mechanism, the independent, non-partisan and all-inclusive initiative is by the people and for the people. It is like the National Flag, the National anthem and the Coat of Arms. It belongs to us so let us use it.