The Executive Director of StarGhana Foundation, Mr Ibrahim-TankoAmidu,has urged Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to contribute to the inclusive development of the country through their operations.
According to the Executive Director, “it was not surprising to see people hide behind CSO to push an agenda whether it is inclusive education, free maternal health, constitutional reforms, but the agenda should be one that promotes the inclusive development of this country.”
Mr Amidu made these remarks on the sidelines at a CSOs forum in Accra yesterday on the theme “Reflection of the conceptual and developmental issues of CSOs in Ghana and the sustainability challenge.”
Organised by the Star Ghana Foundation, the forum was to create space for civil society actors to consolidate ideas on how to sustain the sector as well as reflecting and brainstorming on matters of mutual interest and discuss development with sector-wide implication.
MrAmidunoted that the attempt to bring all CSOs under one umbrella would be difficult to achieve due to the differences in ideologies.
He, however, said there were some issues which were of common interest such as accountability which they could achieve collectively.
Moreover, Mr Amidu professed that despite the numerous contributions made by CSOs in democratic governance, there were still some challenges faced which include the decline in assistance to the sector, none existence of a regulatory framework and the issue of accountability.
He, therefore, argued that the best way to address these issues was to come together as a collective unit and develop mechanisms to help solve the problem.
Asked if CSOs were given the free space to operate in the country, Mr Amidu opined that there was largely an enabling environment for CSOs to operate.
He added that “there may be specific challenges or concerns and for the political class these days, is all about vote. So, as soon as an organisation say something that a party perceive not to be in their interest, they come after them.”
MrAmidu, therefore, called for the protection of the public space to ensure that CSOs continued their advocacy work without fear or favour.
“How we can support each other to withstand these treats and ensure that we do not lose our voice and do not stop advocating on the difficult issues is very important,”Mr Amidu said.
“The space itself needs to be protected so that organisations can advocate on the issue of concern to them without fear of being victimised by government, political parties and commentators,” MrAmidu added.
BY BENJAMIN ARCTON-TETTEY