At the Kimbime Hotel yesterday, Campaign for Good Governance and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) launched the Sierra Leone National Governance Assessment project which uses the UNECA research instruments for monitoring good governance.
Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Edmond Cowan stated that Sierra Leoneans should not dismantle their institutions and system to be replaced by good governance.
“Before we were colonized” he said, “we used to have our system of governance and that is why we have our local chiefs though people are thinking the system is crude.”
The speaker said that in talking about good governance, attention should be paid to the culture, institution, people and the impact such would have on the country but not just to accept wholesale what was brought by other people or countries.
Good governance, he cautioned, should not be tied with donations and if a certain project was for the country, “we should be allowed to implement [it] and not be implemented by others.”
Mr Cowan said people should stop comparing Sierra Leone with developed countries; rather it should be compared with counties with which it was at par.
Giving an overview of the project, UNECA’s Director of Governance and Public Administration, Professor Okey Onyejewe said the ultimate outcome on measuring and monitoring progress towards good governance in Africa was the production of the African Governance Report (AGR).
Prof. Onyejewe explained that the first AGR was published in 2005 which was a study of 27 African countries.
He said good governance in all its holistic components “is a sine qua non and prediction for sustainable development.”
Talking about the role of ECA, the Director stressed that they were in the “forefront of promoting good governance and popular participation as a basis for the continent’s accelerated economic growth economic growth, transformation and renaissance.”
The overall objective of the project Okey Onyejewe explained was to create “an orderly and holistic mechanism for periodic cross-nation assessments of governance in Africa, gauge citizens’ perceptions on the state of governance in their respective countries.”
He said the report did not intend to chastise or vilify countries as it is designed as a tool to measure and monitor progress towards good governance, identify gaps, share cross country experience, policy recommendations and provide platform for dialogue stakeholders to advance good governance in Africa states.
Officially launching the project, Emmanuel Gaima of the Decentralization Secretariat stressed that the issue of good governance had become prominent since 1996 when the country had its first democratic elections.
He said the initiative was timely the country was preparing for elections.