The Northern Development Forum has organized a one-day regional stakeholder consultation meeting in Wa to engage political parties, amongst others in a citizen-led process of influencing national priorities on the development of Northern Ghana.
The meeting which was held in Wa brought together representatives of various political parties, faith-based organizations, Traditional rulers, Disability groups, Civil Society Organizations, and the Media to discuss and produce a document that would highlight the critical developmental needs of the people of Northern Ghana which would be shared with political parties so that, any political party that wins power would prioritise and work on the issues captured in the document.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Chairman of the forum, Major Albert Dong-Chebe (Rtd) said it is critical to engage stakeholders on the development of the north in an election year such as this year.
He said the meeting would help to “produce a workable document which would capture the true reflection of the critical issues affecting the northern part of Ghana” for governments to work with it.
Major Dong-Chebe (Rtd) lamented over the difficulty in getting a political party in government to tackle critical necessities in the north since parties who win power priotise their manifesto promises over any proposal or policy not captured in their manifesto.
He therefore saw the need for northerners to prepare a well thought out developmental priorities and push for it to captured in political party manifestos.
“From our own experiences in the past political parties have shown much commitment to their manifestoes, there is the need to ensure issues about development in Northern Ghana are captured in the manifestos of political parties before elections so that when a party wins power, our issues are already reflected in the manifesto, so that we have the guarantee that these issues would be implemented,” he said.
Feruzah Wuniche Salisu, a technical support staff with Star Ghana Foundation who made a statement on behalf of the Executive Director of the Foundation, said the meeting was very important as it helps to take forward key recommendations that are crucial for the development of Northern Ghana.
“To find expression in government plans and policies, it is necessary to seek to influence political parties manifestos for the development of Northern Ghana using the summit recommendations as an entry point”.
Miss Feruzah emphasised the foundation’s “commitment to work to promote active citizen, accountable and responsive governance and inclusive development.
For his part, Prof. David Millar, Member of the Steering Committee of the Northern Development Forum and president of the Millar Open University urged the media to focus their discussions on the four thematic areas captured in the policy proposals to political parties and also engage politicians on the concerns raised at the forum so as to ensure insightful and thought-provoking deliberations in the media landscape.
The stakeholder engagement was held under the theme,” Keeping the Northern Ghana transformation agenda in the manifestos of the political parties for the 2020 elections in Ghana”.
The deliberations of the meeting were held under four thematic areas namely: Agriculture and climate change, Peace and Security, Infrastructure and Private sector development and Health and Education.