Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) across the country have been instructed to prioritise the involvement of agenda setting in government communications.
The Cabinet directive aims to refine and optimise the government’s communication strategies in alignment with a broader reform initiative aimed at streamlining government communication to the public.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah (fifth from right) with other Ministers and dignitaries after the programme
The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, conveyed this directive during his public lecture titled “A legal framework for communicating governance,” which took place at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) on Wednesday.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah highlighted that certain sections of the current legal framework, which facilitate the communication of governance, were characterised by ambiguity. He explained that these uncertainties within the laws often led to misunderstandings when conveying governance principles.
Consequently, he emphasised the urgent need to amend these legal sections to provide clarity, which would, in turn, support the government in its communication efforts.
“There are parts of the legal framework that have clarity and facilitate communication of governance. It is the ambiguous parts that create confusion in communicating governance. Amendment efforts to bring clarity to the grey areas should be seen to their logical conclusion urgently. Other non-legal imperatives necessary to facilitate agenda setting should also be urgently attended to,” the Minister said.
In the realm of governance communication within the country, a complex legal framework guides the process. This intricate structure draws its strength from several key constitutional articles. Central to this framework is Article 67, which serves as the linchpin. Article 67 defines the President as the nation’s executive authority, bestowing upon this office the supreme responsibility for conveying government actions, policies, and their ensuing consequences to the public.
Outside of that, the President reserves the right to appoint Sector Ministers to help execute the agenda of the government and serving as primary communicators for their policy areas, be it education or health. These ministers could make policy statements and field questions in Parliament, adding their voices to what government intends to communicate to the people.
This, the Minister of Information argued that despite the clarity of these constitutional directives, the legal framework lacked clarity in defining the mandates and roles of various government entities. Executive Instruments (EIs) that established Ministries failed to specify their mandates. The Civil Service Act and Presidential Office Act he said were silent on these crucial details stressing that this ambiguity cast a shadow over the coordinated efforts of government communicators and posed challenges in agenda setting.
To remedy the problem, the Minister said the office of the Counsel to the President had initiated efforts to review specific sections of both the Presidential Office Act and the Civil Service Act. This review, he said aims to inject much needed clarity and momentum into the functioning of various government components, with a particular focus on enhancing communication.