• January 21st, 2019
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Giving accountability a true meaning


President Hage Geingob has declared 2019 as a year of accountability – restoring the hope of many a citizen.
Our front page story yesterday, titled “ACC investigating ministers on Geingob’s request”, perhaps best explains the President’s intentions with his bold declaration for the year ahead.

To account means answering for one’s own actions or decisions – and this is exactly what Geingob did when he asked ministers to explain in writing corruption accusations made against them in the media and elsewhere.
It did not appear that Geingob was entirely satisfied with the explanations, or why else would he still knock on the door of the ACC to go through the ministers’ replies for further scrutiny and possible action?

This is what it means to hold people accountable. The innocent would be cleared and those guilty of any unethical conduct must face the full consequences of their actions.

With this particular action, Geingob has shown that he is not afraid of being labelled a meanie or micromanager. He also showed that he is he is not scared to offend his political allies, even during election year.

Of course it would be a slap in the face of accountability if President Geingob chooses to ignore any recommendations by the ACC to take action against any minister whose conduct was found to be wanting. In other words, holding anyone accountable should be seen to be practised in its fullest and not just a populist pretence.

Accountability must be practised across the entire spectrum of society, as opposed to just the political and central government space. Being transparent is the first step in becoming accountable. Accountability and transparency are like Siamese twins. They are conjoined and the moment one of them is no longer alive marks the demise of the other.
Accountability also means the ability to take full credit for one’s full actions, so it should not only be seen as a punitive tool to name and shame individuals or institutions.

At institutional level, obligations of public enterprises and agencies, which are entrusted with public resources and duties, must be answerable for fiscal and social responsibilities, to those who have assigned such responsibilities to them.
At individual level, we often encounter politicians refusing to answer to media inquiries, on account that they “are not answerable” to the fourth estate. This is failure to account.

Because ordinary citizens, the general electorate, do not have direct access to politicians that they have voted into power, they rely on the media to determine whether those elected officials are indeed delivering on their promises. 
Answering questions in the media on national issues is therefore part of accountability that President Geingob wants to see this year. If anything, answering national questions should actually be made a mandatory obligation for especially those holding public office.


New Era Reporter
2019-01-11 10:00:15 10 days ago

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