Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) Programmes Manager, Mary Awelana Addah

Programmes Manager of the Ghana Integrity Initiative, Mary Awelena Addah, says the formation of the Coalition for Democratic Accountability and Inclusive Governance or simply the Citizens’ Coalition is proof that civil society organisations are active and ready to speak out against governmental ills.

According to her, just like the proverbial broom and broomstick scenario, there is very little civil society organisations can achieve on their own, but when they come together – like they have in the Citizens’ Coalition – they will be able to achieve more.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, she noted that government officials who may mistaken the group to be a fluke are in for a surprise.

“We are not a political group, but we believe that as civil society we need to come together to ensure that people understand that they cannot take us for a ride anymore. As individual organisations the risk of communication is even that high, but with all of us coming together, you need to go through all of us to be able to get to anyone,” she said.

She stated that the Coalition is not meant to simply respond to present problems and fall into dormancy, but rather it aims at staying relevant and active for the long haul by challenging successive governments to do better for the citizenry.

“And we say groups are formed for different reasons, in this case this group is formed for the long haul and we have critical concerns that we’d want to address immediately and those are the economic hardships, the issues around corruption and others. But then in the medium term we are also strategizing as to how to continue to remain relevant.

“We need to be able to sustain what we are doing now – just like you said, some groups are formed, they come up, solve a situation and they are gone or disbanded, but in this case we know that we have critical economic challenges that have span time, that have span governments and so we need to be able to be prepared every time to speak out so that people do not in any way continue to form the erroneous impression that civil society and very active citizens who are in this country decide to remain mute when things are cool.

“That is not the case. At this juncture we want to show that civil society is active, we continue to remain so, and we would speak to the issues continually so far as they remain relevant,” she explained.

Mary Addah further added that the group will not just dwell on anti-corruption issues, but will branch out into several important societal themes such as gender issues, legal issues, energy issues among others.

“This is our mandate to speak up and be active citizens and for that matter we say we want to be part of this, because it’s beyond anti-corruption. It goes beyond gender, it also speaks to issues around energy, it speaks to issues around our legal regime, it speaks to issues around inclusion, and one of our key requests  or asks is around affirmative action and so you realize that this is a coalition that is not unique to a particular thematic area.

“It is a collective group that is speaking to all the ills of our society that need to be addressed and we are coming with facts, we are coming with figures supporting our advocacy to ensure that those we have voted for and put in places of power and those who have been appointed as public officers do the right things and when they make promises, we will ensure that we follow up, we will ensure that they at all times commit and also deliver,” she said.

The Coalition for Democratic Accountability and Inclusive Governance is made up of 34 Civil Society Organisations and 10 individuals of high repute.

The CSOs include; the Ghana Integrity Initiative, the Centre for Democratic Development Ghana, Media Foundation for West Africa, Africa Centre for Energy Policy, IMANI Africa, Africa Education Watch, STAR-Ghana, SEND Ghana, Trades Union Congress, Institute for Democratic Governance, One Ghana Movement, Citizens Movement Against Corruption, The Fourth Estate, etc.

The private individuals are; Akoto Ampaw, Martin Kpebu, Samson Lardy Anyenini, Clara Kasser-Tee, Prof Kwame Karikari, Prof. Takyiwaa Manu, Prof. Kofi Abotsi, Kingsley Ofei, Prof. Bokpin and Abdul Karim Mohammed.