By Mohamed Massaquoi
A nationwide sensitization campaign for the Open Government Partnership (OGP) has commenced in various districts, chiefdoms and regional headquarter towns across Sierra Leone, as residents in the respective communities are expected to fully participate in the process.
The Federation of Civil Society and the Media and other civil society groups have partnered with the Open Government Initiative (OGI) to stimulate effective participation in governance by every Sierra Leonean.
The OGP was launched in 2011 to provide an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. Since then, OGP has increased from 8 countries to the 63 participating countries. In all of these countries, government and civil society are working together to develop and implement ambitious open government reforms.
While launching the Pay No Bribe campaign at the Miatta Conference Centre in Freetown, few weeks ago, President Ernest Bai Koroma noted that the OGP was an important concept geared towards opening government to public scrutiny in the interest of transparency, good governance and accountability and more importantly effective management of natural resources and community protection.
“The OGP process is significant to our democratic process; my government is always committed to public debate and interactions. That was the reason the OGI was established immediately I became president. We will ensure that the necessary environment is created for the OGP process. That is why I want the OGI and its partners to take a lead in the entire process of OGP,” he said.
Only recently, the OGI organized a national conference where representatives of various civil society groups and government departments critically examined the OGP process and procedures, and how they can work towards OGP grand challenges as the OGP aspires to support both government and civil society reformers by elevating open government to the highest levels of political discourse.
The Director of OGI, Ms. Khadija Sesay said the OGI has created the platform for civil society and the media to play a key role in the development of the country, adding that the OGP is an important tool to strength good governance and democracy.