Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana has described as unfortunate comments by veteran journalist Elizabeth Ohene that CSOs perform “self-appointed roles” in the country.
Prof. Ransford Gyampo said CSOs play a role as a linkage between government and the governed, and are performing their duties diligently by making sure to scrutinize every policy of the government, therefore, describing their functions as self-appointed is unfortunate.
“The introductory part of her piece is quite unfortunate. She referred to CSOs as performing Self-appointed roles in Ghana.
“[But] a simple reading and literature scan of the role of CSOs and the state of current thinking in the area, in any democracy, will show that CSOs are actually on course, performing their roles required of them,” he said in a Facebook post.
The comments come after the veteran journalist in a write-up challenged the role of CSOs in the country, describing them as performing self-appointed roles.
The former editor of BBC’s Focus on Africa said, “the CSOs are currently very busy doing what they do best, which is to point out what the government is doing wrong.
“Since that is their self-appointed role, I wouldn’t feel the need to comment but for the persistent fact that the CSOs appear to think that any criticism directed at them means one is against them,” she added.
She, however, noted that it will be helpful if CSOs, rather than seeing every government as venal, channel their energies into appreciating at least some polices of the government.
She further described as hypocritical some actions by the CSOs.
But reacting to the write-up, Prof. Gyampo disagreed with the contents of the piece.
The Head of the Youth Bridge Research Institute insisted that “per their role in providing a linkage between government and the governed, they must scrutinise everything government does and reflect the concerns of the citizenry in their positions they articulate,” and that is exactly what they are doing.
“This may make them look anti-government. But so what? CSOs can’t be partisan sympathisers, period!
He further commented on the claims that CSOs are being hypocritical. Prof. Gyampo says “CSOs haven’t changed.”
He said CSOs did these same things [which Madam Ohene described as problematic] when the NDC was also in power yet no write-up about their self appointed role surfaced.