Ghana Decides, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and a BloGh Project which aims at promoting a better informed electorate for free, fair and safe elections in December 2012 through the use of social media channels has organized its first online discourse using Google plus, a multilingual social networking and identity service owned and operated by Google Inc.
The first ever Ghana Decides social media dialogue deliberated on the promises that were made by the flag bearers of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), People’s National Convention and the Convention People’s Party at the just ended Institute of Economic Affairs Presidential (IEA) Debate and other matters of national interest.
The forum had participants from different backgrounds with diverse opinions on the deliveries from the various flag bearers and additional issues of national concern.
Among the issues that participants talked about were the Free Senior High School (SHS) Education proposed by the flag bearer of NPP, matters about youth and Technology development, and separation of powers.
Some participants were of the view that free education at the SHS level will face problems in sustaining it and that funding was going to a major problem. Others thought free education at the SHS level would rather have a negative effect on the quality of education in the country. The suggested that governments should rather concentrate on improving the quality of education in the country.
Infrastructure and increasing work load on teachers are part the reasons why some of the participants think the NPP flag bearer should re-evaluate the decision of free SHS education.
On Technology, the contributors noted that the flag bearers failed to talk about it or said very little about it.
The world is at a point in its evolution process where technology is the driving force, and the contributors noticing this, said it is about time Ghana invested more in the technology sector, since technology is now the pivot of the developing economies
Contributors said government should desist from the use of foreigners in fueling the technological development in the country. They were of the assessment that if government invests in the youth, the country can domestically witness technological advancement.
The Post IEA forum on Google plus which was the first of its kind to be organized in Ghana by Ghana Decides was described as very educational and insightful by participants.
The IEA presidential debate is a political platform fashioned for presidential candidates of political parties with representatives in parliament to outline their goals to electorates and answer questions from the public.
However, out of the four political parties with representatives in parliament, only three took part in the debate with the ruling political party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who had to unanimously pick the President Mr. John Dramani Mahama as their new candidate upon the death of their elected candidate and sitting President Professor John Evans Atta Mills refusing to take part.
This situation conversely made some members of the forum to suggest that the IEA should expand the number of political parties that participate in the debate to give room to other political parties who may not have representatives in parliament but have very good ideas they can sell to Ghanaians.
The non-partisan project also aims to educate the youth, civil society organizations and public institutions on the effective use of social media for social change.
In their closing remarks, one of the participants Chiefy Nduom suggested that Members of parliament should not be allowed to occupy ministerial positions, since it violates the principles of Separation of Powers. Other members who agreed with him said there is the tendency for conflict of interest in the discharge of duties, and also, it belittles the existence of Checks and Balances.