STAR-Ghana Foundation, a national centre for active citizenship and philanthropy, has organised its third Active Citizenship (AC) Dialogue to empower citizens of the country.
The dialogue, which coincided with the STAR-Ghana’s 5th anniversary, was under the theme, “Empowering Citizens, Enriching Nation Building: Fostering Active Citizenship for Sustainable Development in Ghana”.
It was attended by Prof Akilagpa Sawyerr, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, lawyers, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), organised groups, media among others.
In her welcome address, the SGF Governance Council Chairperson, Dr Esther Ofei-Aboagye, acknowledged the commendable strides made by STAR-Ghana Foundation over the past half-decade. Dr. Ofei-Aboagye underscored the resilience displayed in the face of dwindling global donor funding. She cast a spotlight on the AC Dialogue as a flagship initiative integral to STAR-Ghana’s overarching strategy in promoting active citizenship.
She noted that the AC dialogue will serve as a vibrant crucible for participants to exchange ideas, share experiences, and explore best practices. She that the collaborative atmosphere facilitated networking opportunities, enabling stakeholders to forge meaningful connections aimed at enhancing civic engagement initiatives across various sectors.
She indicated that as STAR-Ghana Foundation navigates the challenges of sustaining active citizenship amidst a dynamic global landscape, the success of the third AC Dialogue stands as a testament to the foundation’s unwavering commitment to fostering dialogue, inclusivity, and citizen empowerment.
She underscored the organization’s dedication to cultivating a culture of civic engagement that transcends challenges, contributing significantly to the vision of a sustainable and vibrant democratic society in Ghana. She reiterated the belief that empowered citizens are the cornerstone of a prosperous and resilient nation.
Addressing the audience, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, former United Nations Envoy to West Africa and the Sahel Region, has cautioned Ghanaians to be wary of the divisive, religious, and ethnic sentiments emerging ahead of the 2024 General Election.
He stated: “The commitment to the betterment of our country is a collective responsibility and must transcend political, religious, and ethnic boundaries.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing some divisive tendencies in our society, and we must all be careful about them, especially when we have elections in 2024. When it comes to election year, all our demons come out.”
Dr Chambas said the criteria used in electing the leaders of the country must transcend religious and ethnic considerations. Thus, the yardstick the citizens should use must be based on the messages, policy recommendations, and alternatives on how the best political parties manage the affairs of the country.
He, therefore, urged citizens and political parties to make the 2024 General Election an issue-based campaign.
“So please let us focus on messages when we are choosing our leaders in this country,” he emphasised. He expressed concern that despite Ghana’s significant progress in democracy, there were lingering challenges that prevented the country from fully harnessing the benefits of democracy.
The former UN envoy said Ghana’s recent drop on the corruption perception index, coupled with a drop in World Press freedom ratings, had undermined the country’s democratic credentials. He suggested that Ghana should address those challenges by creating an open dialogue platform for citizens to actively participate in governance.