December 1, 2015 By Mohamed Massaquoi
The Steering Committee of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in collaboration with their local counterpart the Open Government Initiative (OGI) yesterday tendered a position paper to the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) demanding inclusion in the new constitution.
OGP is a global effort to make governments more transparent, effective and accountable and to empower citizens in line with their aspirations.
Giving a background to the partnership, Chairman of the Steering Committee, Canon Ajayi E. Nicol said the OGP was a new multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.
He said the partnership was overseen by a Steering Committee of government and civil society representatives, adding that both civil society and government have seven representatives each who are working seriously to move the process forward.
“It takes political leadership. It takes technical knowledge. It takes sustained effort and investment. It takes collaboration and commitment between government and civil society to move the OGP process forward for the betterment of our people, that is why we have decided to make the following submissions to be included in the new constitution,” said Canon Nicol.
“That a clause be included in the constitution exclusively dealing with the OGP and OGI. We are also asking that the concept of OGP and OGI be an entrenched clause in the constitution; this will guarantee continued collective civil society and government participation in governance, thus fostering transparency, accountability and good governance. We also want the OGP and OGI process to be part of our governance structure of the country so that our people can get access to government,” said and added that for the process to be sustainable, any serving president of the country should act as chairperson of the OGP and OGI.
“The government of Sierra Leone applied for membership of the Global Open Government Partnership in October 2013 and by joining the initiative, the Government of Sierra Leone continues to reaffirm its commitment to embrace an open government declaration, deliver a concrete action plan, develop public consultations and feedbacks and commit to independent reporting on the progress, going forward,” he disclosed.
Chairman of the CRC, Justice Edmond Cowan, thanked members of the OGP/OGI for adding their position paper to the many the committee had so far received from diverse interest groups in the country.
He said their mandate was not to rewrite the constitution but to review it, including collecting information from the people to inform the national document.