Formal representative democracy is a goal that most countries strive to achieve with the exception of a few that have decidedly turned their backs on it. However, formal representative democracy needs to be fined-tuned continually to achieve a certain standard which provides optimal satisfaction to the people. For instance, for a democratic system to be stable, meet the needs of the people and inspire confidence in them, it is very important for the government to keep the people adequately informed of its actions, the decision-making process should be open and allow people to participate in it, and the government must act in a transparent manner and must be seen to be accountable to the people.
In pursuance of this, Transparency International initiated the Open Governance Project (OP-G) in 2013. A democracy in which the government is fairly open to the people is reckoned be an effective instrument against public sector corruption. The OG-P is being implemented by four national chapters of (TI-S) in Ghana, Indonesia, Peru and Ukraine. The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) is the implementing organisation of OG-P in Ghana.
The concept of Open Governance rests on four pillars: right to access information, participation, accountability, transparency. These must be underpinned by a robust information and communication (ICT) infrastructure to advance open governance.
The main objectives of the Open Governance Project (OG-P) are:
- To advance open governance as a key preventative measure against public sector corruption.
- Empower people to use their rights to information, participation and accountability to improve their lives.
- Establish a set of coherent Open Governance standards that can be adapted, at the national and international level
- Demand from those with power and influence to take their responsibility to implement open governance and act to realize benefits for the people
- To enable people improve their material conditions of life with the use of their rights to access information, participate in decision-making process, and demand transparency and accountability.
In order to effectively advocate for, and achieve the objectives of OG, it is imperative that GII collaborates with a wide range of civil society organisations and other stakeholders to mobilize a groundswell support to push for the adoption of open governance standards. In this regard, GII has identified the following organisations and government agencies as stakeholders to strengthen its advocacy and campaign activities. The list is by no means exhaustive, rather, GII is willing to co-operate with diverse organisations whose underlying principle is to improve the political governance in Ghana:
Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG)
Centre for Democratic Development (CDD)
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC)
Legal Resource Centre
The Steering Committee of the Open Government Partnership (OGP)
The core objective of the OG-P is to secure basic rights for citizens and to secure for them a central role in policy-making. But above all adopting OG principles should lead to concrete improvements in people’s material conditions such as improved healthcare, education, civic infrastructure and overall improvement in the their quality of life.