By State House Communications Unit :
President Ernest Bai Koroma has validated the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Action Plan at a special ceremony held in Freetown.
The occasion brought traditional leader, the media and civil society organizations together, to kick-start Sierra Leone’s participation in the OGP process.
President Koroma said told meeting that mind set of the people should include the right attitudes, by opening up in governance as the way forward.
He highlighted government’s openness and transparency involving politician and wide dissemination of the publication of the Auditor General’s report for its contents, promising to sustain the practice.
President Koroma reiterated government’s commitment to continue engagements with political parties on governance, for the good of the country.
The Head of State encouraged all to have faith in the country’s progress in transparency and accountability and reforms in other areas, declaring a passion for more public engagements and interactions with the people.
The President therefore called for more collaboration and encouraged members of civil society organizations to refrain from raising suspicions against each other and work closely as partners, observing that for a public official to be corrupt, it is a member of the public that seeks to offer bribe first.
He called for further intervention by the Attitudinal and Behavioral Change secretariat to change the mindset of the people, especially on corruption and other unpatriotic attitudes and behaviours.
President Koroma said the OGP Action Plan is being validated by Sierra Leone so that the country suffers if it fails and therefore government remains fully committed and will adopt any necessary.
He said he felt very encouraged by the message to Sierra Leone by the US Secretary of State John Kerry, and encouraged all to be fully involved in the entire OGP process.
The Minister of Information and Communication, Alpha Khanu who chaired the occasion, said the programme has a national character and was established in 2011, reflecting on the OGI programme in Sierra Leone which provides opportunity for citizens to ask government questions on important national issues, through town hall meetings.
Director of the Open Government Initiative Madam Khadija Sesay said the OGP was established in the US to enhance fiscal transparency, citizens’ engagement, asset disclosure, information and technology, improve public service, effective management of public resources and increase cooperate accountability. She disclosed that consultations with citizens formed the cornerstone of the OGP and lauded World Bank and civil society organizations for their support to the process.
Special Adviser to the President, former Minister of Information and Communication, Hon. Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo said that the OGI was formed to engage people in governance to promote citizens’ participations in government.
He said government benefited a lot from OGI’s town hall engagements with the people and that President Koroma had a unique opportunity with President Obama.
Alhaji Kargbo said the central focus of e OGP is the citizen and whenever one gets to mineral extraction communities, should be able to know that there were mining activities going on in such places.
Questions, concerns and answers formed part of the validation process