A friendly advice to some Governments Independent Contractors and Apologists

Thursday, November 25, 2010

We at IMANI, and indeed, we speak for many civil society actors, are growing quite frankly tired of motive-questioning by some senior apologists and independent contractors of governments any time serious national issues are on the table for discussion.

These groups should be reminded that their official role in this Administration and any future ones is to assist in illuminating the public about issues independent analysts raise. They have a greater burden not to question the motives of people who are contributing to national discourse in their private capacity with limited resources.

It  must be emphatically made clearer that  once you are paid out of public funds to conduct public education, IT IS YOUR JOB to ensure that there is sufficient information for independent analysts to do their work. Like previous governments, this administration makes little effort to be comprehensive in the information it releases to the general public, yet feel that a private analyst should have full access to official information.  We find such conduct disappointing.

Rather than going on ego trips and put independent organizations and analysts  into political party cells, the critical role  for these official appointees  is that they are ACCOUNTABLE to all of us in how they expend their  time and energies in ensuring the availability of comprehensive, accurate, information with respect to national policy issues. IMANI or its affiliates and the civil society at large is NOT accountable to them in the same regard.  We are accountable to the public and we will not seek private audience with any one first on issues they run to put out first in the public withought consulting us and other civil society actors first.

Recently, Hon. Samuel Ablakwa Okudzeto , the Deputy Minister of Information was full of praise for IMANI when we were the only think tank in Ghana, yes, the group that is made up of  the so-called “discredited Independent Analysts" (at least according to some faceless and uncritical bold face independent contractors) who defended Ghana and the Government across the globe on the rather illogical reasoning in a Forbes Magazine article suggesting Ghana is one of the most least well managed economies in the world.  "IMANI Alert: Is Ghana Amongst the Worst-Branded in Africa Now?" Read it @ http://imanighana.org/?q=node%2F159  and see who the true patriots of this country are. Additionally read our 2008 article under the previous government“What are their Business Plans for Ghana?” @ http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/economy/artikel.php?ID=150028 and judge for your selves about our professionalism.

Even with recent happenings on the economic front, we will still stand by our comments in the Forbes rejoinder.

It is just shocking how much joking, were it even to be matured, goes around in this country some times when it comes to  issues of national discourse. If we keep going at this rate, we will never progress.

Let me use this opportunity to thank all well meaning Ghanaians, Africans and our global friends for connecting with us and your faith and support.  Such support has helped IMANI to be named by the Foreign Policy Magazine and the Global Think Tank Program at the University of Pennsylvania, the sixth and fifth most influential think tank in Africa for 2008 and 2009.

This year, a peak into the nominations form the global think tank ranking program shows that we have been nominated in the category of top 75 top global think tanks in the world and one of only three African think tanks. This is from a shortlist of 1200 think tanks around the world.

Again IMANI is the only African think tank, to be nominated in the category of the most innovative think tanks, which had a shortlist of only 27 think tanks from the 1200 strong globally. So we don’t know whether we will climb up from the current 5th position or remain where we are especially as our competitors are fifteen times larger and very well funded.  However we are not in for the accolades and photo opportunities, as some do in this country.  One thing we care about is how well we will fulfil our mission by dedicating our time to fostering public awareness of important policy issues concerning business, government and civil society and not clamour for partisan positions in government, if that is what our foes fear.  So, if you care about us and want to support us with your widow’s might, please drop us an email to our senior fellow, Kofi Bentil at kofi@imanighana.com and copy kofi@bentilconsulting.com. And if you have suggestions as to how we can improve our public discourse, send an email to our development director, Bright Simons at bright@imanighana.com and bbsimons@mpedigree.NET.

Thank you!

Cudjoe is head of Ghanaian think tank, IMANI, a non-profit, non-government organization dedicated to fostering public awareness of important policy issues concerning business, government and civil society.  He is also editor of AfricanLiberty.org The Foreign Policy Magazine named IMANI, the fifth most influential think tank in Africa in 2010. Franklin was named Young Global Leader 2010 by the World Economic Forum.    Cudjoe is an Earhart doctoral fellow at Buckingham University in the U.K focusing on the impact of corporate social investment in Ghana and donor driven projects and a member of the 2011 graduating class of the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education for Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century.