OGI on nationwide strategic meeting for 2017


December 16, 2016 By Mohamed Massaquoi

One of the leading governance sectors in the office of the president, the Open Government Initiative (OGI) has embarked on nationwide strategic planning meetings with stakeholders including paramount chiefs, civil society members and government officials in Bo, Kenema and Makeni respectively.

The consultative confab was to update stakeholders on the activities of the OGI and to get first-hand information on the implementation of the presidential Ebola recovery priorities, popularize the 644 free toll governance line and to inform citizens on the Second National Action Plan for the Open Government Partnership, which has got international attention of recent times.

For the past eight years, OGI has been used as a national platform charged with the responsibility to bringing government closer to the people and the people to the government, as one of the strategies to strengthen good governance, accountability, transparency and people’s participation.

OGI was very instrumental   during the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease by working with government and non-governmental organizations in the fight against the disease, which was the more reason they were concerned about the recovery process.

Director of OGI/OGP, Madam Khadija Sesay, explained that now that the country has put the deadly Ebola behind, it was significant that they engage local authorities so that they could get feedbacks on the efforts of government in the recovery process.

She said the OGI has worked with paramount chiefs for the past years and that they were very much instrumental in the fight against Ebola, noting that they could still serve as monitors for the Ebola recovery process.

She added that they were looking at specific issues of fighting corruption, feedbacks on the implementation of the Ebola recovery and the free flow of information among locals, using the 644 telephone lines.
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 “We want you to help us monitor the recovery process. We have developed the 644 call line so that our people in local communities can contribute to the governance system of the country. I am not here to talk for the government but I am here to show the importance of feedback on developments in your respective chiefdoms so that the country can grow together. Your feedbacks will help government to do more in your community. We have developed a text message system and we are now working with community radios so that your messages will reach out to the appropriate authorities. This is important especially when social media has becomes a major challenge to the country,” she said.

She noted that it was good that people have access to information for better understanding and that OGI would continually work with paramount chiefs for the betterment of the country.

Hon. PC Bai Kasanga of  Bombali district  commended the OGI for giving  them the opportunity to speak out freely on issues affecting them in their respective communities, and that the chiefs have got a strong partnership, which he said has empowered them so much so that they were now able to  engage by government ministries and agencies on national issues like education, agriculture among others.

He said they were closely working with officials working on the presidential recovery to make sure that the people benefit.

Hon. Frank Kposowa of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party said it was very necessary for somebody to monitor institutions so that they could be effective, adding that he was at the meeting as part of his oversight functions but that the OGI has been an eye opener not only for members of the public but also to them as lawmakers.

“It is good that we take the issue of corruption seriously because if the country is corrupt free, we can use the country’s resources to improve on the standard of living of our people. Everybody is important in the fight against corruption. I am happy that the OGI has incooperated ACC in their community engagements. This strategic planning meeting is significant because as the year comes to an end, it is good that organizations put their houses in order before the new year ,” he noted.