… Chief of Staff commends OGP team
By Mohamed Massaquoi
State House Chief of Staff has commended the Open Government Initiative, OGI, for propagating the concept of Open Government Partnership, OGP, across Sierra Leone and the Diaspora, and commended the OGP national steering committee for their commitment in the planning, development and implementation of the proposed national action plan.
Dr. Richard Conteh made the statement while launching the national consultative programme on the OGP, organised by officials of OGP in partnership with civil society groups, media and representatives from government departments and agencies.
Dr. Conteh said the concept of OGP was a novel strategy for governments across the world to effectively carry out their responsibilities in a transparent and accountable manner, nothing that the OGP was formed in 2011 when the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, hosted seven other countries including the United Kingdom and Brazil to form an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to the need of citizens. He added that since then, the OGP has grown from 8 countries to 63 participating countries, where government and civil society are working together to develop and implement ambitious open government reforms.
‘’The aim of OGP is to bring civil society, the private sector and government at the same table to talk openly about affairs pertaining to transparency, accountability and citizens’ engagement in governance. After discussions among the aforementioned stakeholders, we would make commitments from government to her citizenry to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. Sierra Leone is already doing much in this area and under the OGP these efforts need to be amply demonstrated, monitored and evaluated over a period of time,” he further noted.
‘’In October 2013, Sierra Leone signed onto the Open Government Partnership (OGP)Initiative with our intent to participate in a letter written by me, as Chief of Staff to the OGP Support Staff in Washington, D.C. Subsequent to that the steering committee has chosen three out of five grand challenges to increase public integrity, manage public resources effectively, and increase corporate accountability. In connection with this Sierra Leone is expected to develop a draft National Action Plan for submission to the Global Secretariat of the OGP by April 2014, submit a final draft by June 15, 2014 and commence with implementation by July 1, 2014,” he again noted, adding that the National Steering Committee for OGP Sierra Leone was unveiled on March 4, 2014 at a meeting at State House.
Meanwhile, OGI Director, Ms. Khadija Sesay noted that as part of the mandate of bringing government to the people and the people to the government, they have organised series of town hall meetings with Sierra Leoneans both in and out of the country to discuss some of the grand challenges of OGP and how they can meaningfully contribute to the process.
She said the OGP demands public accountability, integrity, community safety, effective management of natural resources, cooperate accountability, among others, and that the initiative has created an enabling environment for government to reach out to the people.
“We want to have the views of all Sierra Leoneans, that was the reason we organised town hall meetings recently in Brussels, Holland, America, London, Guinea and all the district headquarter towns across Sierra Leone. The feedbacks have been relatively good and it clearly demonstrated that Sierra Leoneans are ready to participate in developmental programmes,” she noted.