The National Commission for Democracy (NCD) has organized a one- day workshop for Public and Civil Servants drawn from various MDAs including officers from all the National forces to enhance their capacity with a view to promoting the ethos of democracy and good governance on the theme “Promoting Democratic Good Governance” at the Makeni City Council Hall on June 19, 2014.
He said the Commission is very keen in ensuring that the people get the requisite knowledge to enable them perform their roles in pursuance of democratic good governance noting that they have an obligation of complementing the effort of government in order to perform its duties effectively to meet the need of the people.
Emphasizing the need for a good citizen, Dr. Kargbo pointed out that a good citizen is one who always works to promote the ideals of the state by honoring his obligation whilst the state is also obliged to cater for its citizens by providing the necessary support to enhance the capacity of its people.
In his welcome address, the Commissioner Northern Region, Bai John Conteh, informed participants that the workshop is planned to be a thought-provoking event intended to enable state actors to use civic lenses to examine, question and provoke practical responses to the principles of democratic good governance and its ideals in the Sierra Leonean context.
He said the training will help trigger policy and intellectual debates that will further provide lessons learnt and recommendations to specific state institutions on how to improve on service delivery, transparency and accountability.
The Commissioner of the Northern Region stated that the workshop that has brought together state actors drawn from state security institutions and key Ministries in the Northern Region will examine and discuss the extent to which these key governance institutions have been able to strictly adhere to the principles of democratic governance.
Informing participants about the mandate of the Commission, Bai John Conteh noted that the Commission was established by an Act of Parliament and its core mandate is to develop and sustain public awareness of the constitution and the rights and responsibilities it bestows on citizens. He said the Commission is also charged with the responsibility of developing and disseminating programmes geared towards cultivating nationalism, patriotism and loyalty in the state in every citizen, and promoting the citizenry to render assistance to appropriate lawful agencies in the maintenance of law and order.
The Principal of the University of Makeni (UNIMAK) Reverend Father, Professor Joe Turay, in a PowerPoint presentation elaborated on the concept of democracy and good governance and noted that good governance promotes economic development.
He reiterated that in a democracy, people should govern themselves through the system that they choose through open and transparent processes saying that development is delivered only by governance that is democratic.
He said democratic rule is differentiated from other type of rules through citizen’s participation, equality, political tolerance, accountability, transparency, regular free and fair elections and the love of democracy itself as a value.
The Professor further elucidated on the concept of democratic governance as he alluded to the UNDP’s definition of democratic governance as comprising mechanisms, processes and institutions that determine how power is exercised, how decisions are made on issues of public concern, and how citizens articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their interest.
The Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Commission who also doubles as the moderator of the workshop, Mr. Kallie Sillah, noted that Sierra Leoneans have gone through a sordid experience in the past which they will no longer afford to have a repeat of and that is why they must endeavor to adhere to and espouse the tenets of democratic governance.
After the plenary, participants made group presentations pointing out some of the values they have learnt in the training and made solid contributions, especially in the areas of procurement and devolution of functions to Local Councils, for the Commission to transmit them to the appropriate authorities.