Odekro, your local Parliamentary Monitoring Organization (PMO) was adjudged the overall best technology innovation in Education at the recent Mobex Africa Innovation Awards held on Saturday 29th October, 2018 at Labadi Beach Hotel.
The Mobex Africa Technology Innovation Awards (MIA) recognizes and honours excellence in technology innovation as well as individuals, businesses and organizations promoting technology-driven solutions. The winner of each award category is chosen by the prominent MIA Academy made up of academics, industry experts, public officials, private sector, entrepreneurs, company directors and scientists around the African continent.
Odekro is a Parliamentary Monitoring Organization based in Tema, Ghana. Odekro started off as an open data initiative in 2012 to empower Ghanaians to demand and ensure proper representation, accountability and good service delivery. The organization reinforces and complements ongoing efforts by stakeholders – CSOs, government institutions, among others – to improve social mobilization, citizen action and engagement using technology. With time, Odekro has expanded into a national platform for promoting transparency and popular participation.
Some Key Interventions
The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Hon. Joseph Osei-Owusu (MP, Bekwai) on Wednesday 30th May 2018 acknowledges that Odekro’s work is objective. Below are his exact remarks,
““Some members are not happy when the NGOs (Odekro) that work with us publish our names as having absented themselves, and indeed, taking steps to petition Mr Speaker to withdraw certain members from the House. Nobody will be happy if any such thing (should happen) but if you go by the record, indeed, some members have breached the constitution and they probably ought not be members of the House”.
On 20th March, 2017, Odekro issued a press release expressing grave concern at President Akufo-Addo’s appointment of 61% (67) of Ministers from Parliament as that can weaken Parliamentary oversight of the executive and a clear contradiction on the President’s own assertion that “Parliament, the legislative arm of government, must grow into its proper role as an effective machinery for accountability and oversight of the executive, and not be its junior partner”. We were also concerned about the cooptation of NPPs Parliamentary leadership into the executive. Then in July 2017, the Selection Committee of Parliament had to recommend to the House a re-composition of leadership of parliamentary committees because some chairmen and Vice chairmen of committees have been appointed Ministers and Deputy Ministers to various ministries and that will affect the oversight responsibilities of such members on the various committees that oversee the various ministries. In light of this, a chronically absentee MP for Assin Central Hon. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong was retained as the Chairperson of the Communications committee of Parliament. In our press release of 17th July, 2017, with empirical evidence, we doubted the competence of Mr. Ohene Agyapong as Committee Chair and argued that the case could have been different had the President not appointed so many Ministers from Parliament
Roughly a year later, we were vindicated. According to a member of the Committee, Hon. Sam George (MP, Ningo Prampram), the Communications committee of Parliament is basically not working and unable to meet because the Chair is “virtually always absent”, thus poor oversight on the Communications Ministry and by extension the executive arm of government.
In the absence of Odekro’s work on MPs attendance, the Privileges Committee’s recommendation that Mr. Ken Agyapong should be suspended for the rest of the 2018 session of Parliament or reprimanded could have effectively passed the test of parliamentary effectiveness; many Ghanaians will not have seen both sanctions as inconsequential.