Public policy as defined by Thomas Dye, is what Government’s choose to do or not do. The authority of public and political officials ought to be exercised for and in trust for the citizenry. The fair and objective good of the citizenry ought to be pursued by all serving the nation.
Over the years, the institutional weakness of our governance and public service has contributed immensely to our inability to realise the country’s socio-economic potential. Corruption, absence of meritocracy, dishonesty, economic and political rent-seeking have characterised the public policy space. These have thrived under the opacity of the governance structures.
Public policy makers choose to act on our behalf in pursuit of their personal interests but at the cost of the Citizenry. Judgement debts get incurred and citizens pay. Public institutions are allowed to be run down to the benefit of public and political officials and the citizen is asked to pay. Politicians abuse authority and deny the weak citizenry justice or fairness with impunity. The procurement system is deliberately abused by public officials and politicians for personal aggrandizement at the cost and the good of the citizenry.
The above typifies the malfunction of public and political service and is driven by the absence of citizen visibility and the weak demand for public policy and service accountability.
At OneGhana we believe that the attainment of Ghana’s potential will remain an illusion unless the culture and attitude of accountability is engrained in our governance and socio-cultural structures. For example, it is important that the public official granting a safety permit realises and understands that in the event of a safety breech in the giving property, he will be held legally and administratively accountable. Where a public official takes an action that leads to a judgement debt to the State, he ought to expect to be held legally, financially and administratively accountable.
Political and policy accountability is of significant importance in the consolidation of our democracy. It constrains public office holders’ behaviour by increasing the cost of decisions aimed at satisfying private interests at the expense of the public interest.
OneGhana Movement seeks to promote and enlighten citizens to demand accountability from policy makers and public officials. Key to accountability is also the demand for governance transparency and information accessibility.