The Open Government Partnership was formally launched, in New York, on 20th September 2011 by President Barack Obama at an event held alongside the United Nation’s 66th General Assembly. Representatives from 40 countries attended the OGP launch, including Presidents Mwai Kibaki and Jakaya Kikwete of Kenya and Tanzania, respectively. These two countries are two of only five other African countries that have committed to the OGP and are currently working on their national action plans. Twaweza’s Head, Rakesh Rajani, was also at the event on behalf of Civil Society organizations. In his closing speech President Obama emphasized the role of citizen driven accountability and made specific reference to Rajani’s remarks.
The Open Government Partnership is a new multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies in order to strengthen governance. In the spirit of multi-stakeholder collaboration, governments and civil society organizations come together to form the steering committee of the OGP.
To join the OGP, participating countries must adhere to a high-level Open Government Declaration. Member countries must deliver a country action plan developed with public consultation; and commit to independent reporting on their progress going forward.
The launch of the OGP was closely followed by media representatives from all over the world. The US Wall Street Journal published pictures from the event. The East African reported on the event and published two articles; Open and shut case: Those govts that involve citizens in policy will prosper and US praises Kenya, Dar for revealing govt data, as well as, an opinion editorial.
President Kikwete of Tanzania referred to the OGP and Tanzania’s participation, in his habitual monthly speech. Habari Leo, a Kiswahili newspaper in Tanzania wrote a story focusing on Kikwete’s reference to the OGP.
Following these developments, at the request of President Kikwete, Twaweza has briefed senior officials at the State House and the Permanent Secretaries, and is expect to brief the cabinet before the end of October. Twaweza will also support the government consult with the public and prepare the initial country action plan.
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