Ghana and it’s sister country Cape Verde is performing well in terms of open parliamentary legislation to the citizenry, report by the the Africa Parliamentary Monitory Network(APMON) has revealed.
According to the Report which was recently launched in Accra, Ghana scored a total of 63.03% to emerge as the most open Parliament in West Africa.
It was followed closely by Cape Verde (61.86%) and Serra Leone (57.97%) in that order.
Togo (36.26%), Liberia (33.65) and Guinea-Bissau (22.36%) were at the base of the table respectively.
The Open Parliament Index was launched in Accra with the aim of strengthening Parliamentary Institutions towards the advancement of parliamentary openness across national, subnational and regional Parliaments.
The Africa Parliamentary Monitoring Organization Network launched the maiden edition of the African Open Parliament Index (AOPI) in Accra on Wednesday, July 20,2022.
It urged sub regional nations to work closely with the citizens to promote democracy.
The Open Parliament Index objectively seeks to strengthen Parliamentary Institutions towards the advancement of parliamentary openness across national, subnational and regional Parliaments.
It also aimed at providing a standard system for accessing Parliaments across Africa using the three pillars of open Parliament including – Transparency, Civic participation and Public Accountability.
The Report which was presented by Executive Director of Parliamentary Network Africa (PN Africa), Mr Sammy Obeng said, Ghana is doing well among it’s neighbours and encouraged Members of Parliament and parliament as an institution to do more.
He said per the survey, Ghana led by a total of 63.03% to emerge as the most open Parliament in West Africa.
The second country that is also performing is Cape Verde, which scored 61.86% and Serra Leone at 57.97%.
Mr Obeng said Togo scored 36.26%, Liberia 33.65 % and Guinea-Bissau scored 22.36%, were at the base if the table respectively.
A Member of the working Group of the African Parliament Monitoring Organization (PMO) Network and Senior Program Officer at CDD-Ghana, Regina Oforiwa Amanfo-Tetteh said Parliament alone cannot address its short falla hence the need for support from State and non State actor organizations such as Civic Society Organization (CSOs) to assist.
She explained that the work of PMO is of essence because countries in Africa an are experiencing significant democratic backlash as several remarkable democratic progress are eroding.
She underscored the need for openness parliamentary practices as the only way to.main the sub-regional democracy, saying, the only arm of government that suffers when there is democratic interference is Parliament.
This, she said there was the need for Parliament as a principal stakeholder to show inherent interest in monitoring and accessing its own performance and ensuring that, it is meeting constitutional obligations and expectations of the public, Civic Society and the private sector.
She called on Parliaments in West Africa to reflect on their performance and improve where necessary to bring maximum efficiency to the work of the legislature.
The First Deputy Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu who welcomed the initiative said legislative representation is about representing and protecting the collective hope and aspirations of the citizenry by Parliament which is clothed with enough powers to make laws that could save the intended purpose.
Delivering the key note address on.behalf of Speaker Alban Bagbin, Mr. Osei Owusu said, it is sad to note that the public is loosing faith in the legislature and politicians in general.
He said the citizens believe their collective interest is being sacrificed for personal gains.
He said the Open Parliament Index initiative is very necessary and as it will go a long way to challenge African Parliaments to respond to the collective call of the people.
Considering the objectives of the open Parliament Index, Mr. Osei Owusu was of a strong view that Ghana’s Parliament is not faring badly at all.
MAIDEN AFRICA OPEN PARLIAMENT INDEX LAUNCHED
Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica), under the auspices of the Africa Parliamentary Monitoring Organizations Network (APMON) has launched the maiden edition of the Africa Open Parliament Index (OPI).
The Index which has assessed the openness of Parliaments in Africa was launched on Wednesday, 20th July, 2022, in Accra – Ghana under the distinguished patronage of the RT. Hon. Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin.
The Africa OPI is a joint effort with the APMON Working Group, which is made up of renowned parliamentary monitoring organizations in Africa namely, Mzalendo Trust (Kenya), Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Parliamentary Monitoring Group (South Africa), Africa Parliamentary Press Network (APPN), and the Pan African Parliament Civil Society Forum which is coordinated by the Center for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria. It also received technical support from Directorio Legislativo, an Argentina-based organization which co-founded the Latin America Legislative Transparency Index and Network about a decade ago.
The Open Parliament Index (OPI) which uses the three criteria of Open Parliament: Transparency, Civic Participation and Public Accountability, to assess Parliaments across Africa would be subsequently released every two years.
This criterion has been chosen considering the standards of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), the Principles of Parliamentary Openness and the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) Indicators for Democratic Parliaments.
The Index will enable civil society to work together with national and regional parliaments to identify systemic challenges to achieving parliamentary openness and to co-create reforms that will strengthen the capacity of parliaments to enhance their openness.
The rationale for the Index includes:
Provide minimum standards to assess the level of parliamentary openness across African national and regional legislative institutions.
Empower parliamentary monitoring organizations (PMOs) and Parliaments to monitor the level of progress in enhancing the principles of open parliament; Document parliamentary best practices towards supporting parliaments to be more open; and Leverage the partnership between civil society and parliaments to co-create parliamentary reforms, policies and action plans that strengthen institutions of parliaments to effectively perform their role of oversight, law-making and representation.
Dr. Amanda Coffie, Board Member of the Parliamentary Network Africa, indicated in her opening remarks that Due to the increasing concerns of instability and popular authoritarianism (military coups) across West Africa, Parliaments’ role has become more critical to maintaining democratic governance and ensuring that there is peace and stability across the sub-region. She however emphasized that, this cannot be achieved with weak and opaque Parliaments.
“The more Parliaments are open, the better the trust that citizens have in governments to provide equal opportunities and environment to sustain the political, social and economic development, while maintaining stability within a nation,” she said while adding that it was the reason the Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica) together with the African Parliamentary Monitoring Organisations Network (APMON) created the Africa Open Parliament Index (Africa OPI).
The Rt. Hon. Speaker, Alban Sumana Bagbin, in a speech read on his behalf by the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu, pledged his support for the initiative which would help shape Parliamentary democracy on the continent while ensuring that Parliaments are open and accountable to the people on behalf of whom they are working.
According to the Executive Director of PNAfrica, Sammy Obeng, “what does not get measured does not get done” and therefore the introduction of the Open Parliament Index, “would help track the progress of African Parliaments which form the backbone of thriving democracies and offer assistance where there may be shortfalls.”
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Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica) is a parliamentary monitoring civil society organisation working across Africa to promote Open Parliaments.
All questions relating to this release should be brought to the attention of Ms. Cynthia Afi Dzudzor (Senior Communications & Advocacy Officer) via email on email@example.com or WhatsApp