Three organisations have launched the “Ghana Elections 2016- Amplifying Oil and Gas and Election issues,” project in Takoradi last Thursday.
They were Penplusbytes, a non-governmental organisation, with support from the Ghana Oil and Gas for Inclusive Growth (GOGIG) and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA).
The project, which is aimed at heightening awareness on oil and gas governance issues in the country, has been initiated in response to the need to ensure greater inclusion of oil and gas in the electoral discourse before, during and after the December 7 general elections.
Launching the project, the paramount chief of Essikado traditional area, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, urged political party leaders to learn from the mistakes of past leaders in order to promote development.
He mentioned that, Ghana was blessed with natural resources, which needed proper management.
“We are blessed with not just oil and gas but also gold, diamond, bauxite timber and several other natural resources, so we should not complain always. I ask that our leaders should use the proceeds from our resources for national development only,” Nana Nketsia, said.
The Chief Director of Penplusbytes, Kwame Ahiabenu II, explained that, during the project implementation, Penplusbytes was expected to undertake a number of activities, including online/social media platform set up and running a voters’ compass, media engagement, bursaries,
“It is our aim to highlight issues which will transform the ideologies of the parties into tangible and actionable policies and proposals for the improvement of public scrutiny of Ghana’s extractive sector,” he added.
The Chief Director stated that, the project was premised on the fact that since Ghana started producing oil in commercial quantities, political discourse in the sector had been characterised by the questions on how much money had accrued from the production of oil and what had been done with the revenues from the sector, whether investments made with the oil revenues yielded any value for the electorates.
The launch saw the outdooring of the online voters Policy Compass platform, which was built to allow potential voters express anonymously, their political opinions on a wide array of topics, and see which party or candidate was closer to them ideologically.
Kwame Ahiabenu disclosed that, though the voters’ compass was originally an online platform, it would be modified into a radio phone in programme, to make room for Ghanaians without online access to share their opinions.
He said, there would also be a two day editors’ liaison in Takoradi to further push the project agenda in newsrooms during the election period and beyond.
From Raissa Sambou, Takoradi