The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) has said the prospect for partisan political capture of the government’s Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP) by political party actors and their bureaucratic supporters is high.
CDD said the instinct for political capture appeared to originate from two sources; ‘First, there is a strong belief that these flagship projects, like IPEP is a manifesto promise, which must be guarded by the party to ensure its success.’
It said ‘The second source is that party faithful see IPEP as a reward for their hard work and therefore controlling the process will be to ensure material dividends.’
This formed part of the findings of ‘The Monitoring the Initial Implementation of the IPEP dubbed the One Million One Constituency Programme Maiden Report’ conducted by the CDD and presented at a forum in Tamale by Dr Kojo Asante, Senior Research Fellow at CDD.
The CDD with funding from the Department for International Development under its Strengthening Action Against Corruption project, is implementing the IPEP Tracker project.
The project seeks to monitor the implementation of IPEP to ensure the mistakes of the past with regard to the work of Development Authorities were not repeated.
The report found that knowledge about IPEP among stakeholders was low but high among New Patriotic Party (NPP) members, the composition of Regional Adhoc Committees on IPEP was dominated by partisans of NPP, and limited knowledge among key informants about the criteria the Regional Ad-hoc Committees used for selecting and prioritising infrastructure needs.
The report said ‘There is a an urgent need to ensure that the District Assemblies are not used as a political party vehicle to dispense patronage to individual party financiers, communities and organisations in a manner that distracts from its mandate and sets it up to fail.’
It said there was need ‘To create institutional relationship formally by strengthening linkages and partnership between the Development Authorities and the National Development Planning Commission, Regional Coordinating Councils (RCC) and the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).
It added that ‘This relationship has to be properly defined and institutionalised within appropriate legal instruments or policy.’
The report said there was need ‘To establish stronger accountability mechanism that ensures citizens oversight in the implementation of all the development interventions under IPEP policy at the regional and district/constituency level.
It called for effective information dissemination about the IPEP and the work package of the MMDAs to the public to aid in demanding greater scrutiny of its budget.
The IPEP programme, predicated on the government’s economic vision that systematically decentralising infrastructure development would spur economic growth, create jobs, and reduce poverty, would see government allocate one million dollars per each constituency annually.