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DIALOGUE WITH POLITICAL PARTIES ON MANIFESTO PROMISES FOR CULTURE AND THE CREATIVE ARTS SECTOR

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Prior to Election 2020, political parties in Ghana have opened up a dialogue to discuss their manifesto, with respect to different sectors, with the general public.

Another episode of the dialogue, which comes off on October 21, 2020, will centered on the culture and creative art industry. Politician will be expected to elaborate on how they will improve the aforementioned industry when they are voted into power.

Below is the structure of the discussion;

CONCEPT NOTE DIALOGUE WITH POLITICAL PARTIES ON MANIFESTO PROMISES FOR CULTURE AND THE CREATIVE ARTS SECTOR

I. Introduction/ Background

In today’s world, the overarching concept in governance is to create a unique framework that will set your country and its system apart from the others. Countries are identified by their special way of life and governance which is usually referred to as the Culture.

Governance systems are usually dictated by the culture of the country. There are rules and values that are considered acceptable in exercising power and governance. The peoples’ creativity, ideals, special energies, and vision are essential for galvanising support for the development of a nation. Countries differ in ideas on how they approach governance and nation building. Culture which should be the bedrock for holistic national development, keeps changing through people’s own adoption or some form of imposition; so are our governance systems also changing over time. Changes that occur to governance are usually supported by the society when they are instigated by the society and mostly considered culturally legitimate. Thus, governance is strengthened when it is anchored on the unique culture of the people.

II. Ghana’s Democracy and Culture

By 1992, the preparatory works for the inauguration of the 4th republican constitution of Ghana had been concluded and the timetable for the elections slated for the 7th of December. This was another opportunity after three failed attempts for Ghana to establish a firm democratic regime that was to guarantee the integrity of our political system and offer citizens the opportunity to realise their aspirations. To ensure the provision of fundamental freedoms and the creation of a unique approach to governance, it was envisaged that incorporating the chieftaincy system into mainstream governance was highly necessary to promote our Ghanaian cultural heritage. This was encapsulated in the cultural objectives in the constitution of Ghana, under Chapter 6: the directive principles of state policy. (Refer to article 36 clause 8 and article 39 clause 1 and 2).

In furtherance of our constitutional objectives, the government inaugurated a committee in 2002, under the National commission on culture to draft a National cultural policy. Though this was successfully concluded and given cabinet endorsement, successive governments have not been able to actualise its implementation, save the creation of a ministry responsible for tourism culture, and the arts.

Meanwhile, the National commission on culture, the natural custodian of the cultural policy, have not been empowered with resources and funding to ensure the full application of the policy.

III. Problem Statement

The 4th republican constitution since its inception has ran uninterrupted for over 28 years, spanning across seven successive governments between two major political parties. Despite the major success chalked as the longest running democratic dispensation in Ghana, the key question is, have we been able to achieve the product of our objectives to situate development and social progress on the unique cultural heritage captured under “the
directive principles of state policy”? As we draw closer to the 7th polls in the 4th republic, this is a critical agenda we need to set to demand accountability from our politicians on strategies they seek to deploy to find lasting solutions to safeguarding our cultural heritage, as we pursue political stability and national development.

IV. Our Request

This proposal seeks your partnership to interrogate the manifestos out doored by the various political parties and align same to the constitution and the cultural policy to ascertain compliance by the parties and offer suggestions on their implementations in governance. The outcome of such a study could be presented at a forum dubbed: “2020 Elections Manifesto
In perspective; the role of Culture and the Arts in governance and development”

As key civil society organisations in the cultural space, our primary objective is to promote good cultural values and premise the country’s social, economic and democratic systems on a unique platform that resonates with the people and the needs of the country. Organising such a forum will undoubtedly create the opportunity to engage our politicians in our bid to give a major boost to enhancing our collective interests.

V. Objectives of the Dialogue:

Another opportunity to scale up our advocacy on safeguarding our cultural heritage lends itself by way of elections for another government for the next four years (2021-2024). Through the proposed dialogue, we hope to achieve the following key objectives.

  1. Highlight the essence and the need to revisit the 2004 cultural policy to anchor our governance system on the values espoused in the policy, to accelerate national development
  2. Underscore the need to strengthen the Ghanaian chieftaincy institution to play its rightful role as custodians of our cultural heritage by providing space in the administration of the state for inputs from the institution.
  3. Ascertain and scrutinise the proposals political parties are submitting in their manifestoes on the development of culture and arts and to assess how such policies lend support to objectives 1 and 2 above
  4. Engage politicians by interrogating them on the feasibility and applicability of programmes and policies espoused in their manifestoes.

VII. Timelines for Organising the Dialogue Forum (subject to discussion)

For the proposed dialogue to be relevant and garner the needed momentum ahead of the 2020 polls, we propose it is organised in the second week of October 2020. Ghana Culture Forum will make its secretariat and staff available to coordinate planning of the event.

We expect the other organising partners to offer logistical support for the programme. We do not expect much financial commitment, as we are exploring the opportunity for full sponsorship of venue, refreshment, entertainment etc.

VIII. Budget and other contingencies (to be discussed)

We look forward to having a brief meeting among the organising partners at your earliest convenience to fine-tune the details of the dialogue forum, to inform us on the nature and cost of the event. As mentioned under timelines, we expect to have full sponsorship of the venues and other components.

Please be assured that all Covid 19 protocols will be considered.

By Surely Gh

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