ISODEC to educate citizens towards issue-based campaign

Mohammed Suleman / Public Agenda
Monday, April 18, 2016

Pursuant to its mission for 2016, the organization, with support from STAR-Ghana has kick-started a project that seeks to enhance the electoral processes and engagements for peaceful, credible and inclusive elections towards the long term goal of helping to deepen and consolidate democratic governance in Ghana.

The project, Dubbed,’ Influencing Political Party Manifestos to Enhance Issue-Based 2016 Electioneering, has as its objectives, to facilitate political party manifesto alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) framework in the context of Ghanaian needs.

The project also intends to facilitate dialogue and discussions between political parties and citizens on national development issues including how to tackle the leakage of illicit financial outflows from Ghana to conserve revenues for development.

It further plans to build the capacity of citizens to engage constructively and effectively on national and local development issues that affect them in their communities using Information Communication Technology (ICT), while facilitating the interaction between citizens and the Members of Parliament in their communities with the aid of ICT.

At an inception meeting in Accra on Thursday, to rally civil society around the project, the project Co-ordinator, Mr Bernard Anaba explained that the project will aim at strengthening links between political party manifestoes and the Sustainable Development Goals framework as well as enhance the capacity of citizens to engage political parties on issue-based campaigns.

Mr Anaba indicated that the SDGs which have 17 key target areas have become de-facto universal development goals for all around the world. Aside from Ghana’s development needs as a matter, of course, it also imposes obligations for Ghana’s international commitments to development.

According to him, it is important to begin to mainstream strategies and policies for policy consistencies through individual political party manifestos and their vision for Ghana.

Mr Anaba disclosed that: “ISODEC will design and deploy an electronic portal to link citizens and political parties for the purpose of engagement towards the 2016 general elections, and also constitute a steering committee of CSOs from across the 17 SDGs to oversee the intervention from now till when the 2016 election results are declared.”

He added that each key stakeholder identified will have a dashboard on the portal for the purpose of engagement.

Roles of key stakeholders

Each political party, he expatiated, will have a page on the portal on which to engage with the public. There will be a section for blogs to enable each party debate issues dear to their party and in connection with the upcoming 2016 election. Each party can also receive SMS, pictures and videos as well as upload materials on the party and its activities and give announcements to members.

Sitting or aspiring Members of Parliament will also receive SMS and engage the electorate in the constituency under the campaign “text your MP.” Mr Anaba said the MPs will use the platform to articulate their manifestos, especially on how the 17 SDGs will be mainstreamed in their manifestoes.
The Platform, he stressed will offer opportunity to politicians to speak to the electorate and all Ghanaians on how they will fund the SDGs when they assume the mantle of leadership of the country. Emphasis, he said, will be placed on how they will tackle the tony issue of illicit financial outflows from Ghana in order to free up revenues for funding the SDGs

Expected role of CSOs

The Project coordinator further explained that CSOs are expected to mobilise and organise citizens to put pressure on political parties to make their campaign issues-based and also to talk directly to the 17 SDGs and how they will fund them largely using domestically mobilised resources, including reducing illicit financial outflows to free up revenues for national development.

Expected Role of Citizens

He said Citizens are expected to engage their political parties and put pressure on them to stay away from personal insults and attacks, as well as ethnocentric statements. Again, they will be able to use SMS to speak to and ask their aspiring MP questions and debate them on blogs on topical development issues dear to citizens.

Expected Role of ISODEC

ISODEC, he said will design, deploy, maintain and manage the portal as well as convene and host the CSOs steering committee. The organisation will also take care of the overall management of the intervention including financial, narrative and final report to STAR-Ghana.

Source: Public Agenda

By Mohammed Suleman