July 21, 2016 By Mohamed Massaquoi
In recognition of his commitment to implementing the Open Government Partnership (OGP) initiative in Serra Leone, President Ernest Bai Koroma has been commended by civil society and the Sierra Leonean populace for a successful outcome of the national consultative meetings.
The development of the country’s second National Action Plan (NAP) was a rigorous exercise involving extensive consultation with various groups and individuals across sections of society to popularise and sensitise the general public on the OGP process.
The consultation gave Sierra Leoneans the opportunity to analyse their challenges within the context of NAP principles and grand challenges, to come up with specific recommendations for the second action plan, while milestone were drawn from suggestions and recommendations received during the consultations.
According to Director of OGP in Sierra Leone, Madam Khadija Sesay, the president was pleased with massive participation from the citizenry, adding that on 8 June, 2016 a multi-stakeholder meeting was held at State House involving CSOs, government officials from various ministries, departments and agencies, media and citizens’ representatives to strategise on how the consultation should be organised.
“In that meeting we agreed on fiscal transparency and open budget commitment, records management, aid transparency, extractive industry transparency initiative, implementing the recommendation of the Auditor General’s Reports, Open Contracting, among others. I want to report to the public that the president is pleased with the participation of the general public,” she said.
Giving an overview of the regional consultations, Madam Sesay said stakeholders were particularly grateful to have participated and that they advocated for safer communities, improving corporate responsibility, while those in Bombali district were concerned about deteriorating conditions in the education sector and massive unemployment among the youths.
“The people in the eastern region were concerned about the justice system, sexual and gender based violence and marital conflicts, accountability, among others, and southern region called for constant government engagement with the people, strengthen good governance, transparency and accountability,” she revealed.