Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Accountability as the Golden and Cultural Phenomenon

No government can succeed in anything without strong institutional functionality modals. At any level, there has to be day-to-day methods for micro-accountability. Auditors should only play supervisory roles as their duties come once in a while. For South Sudan, we need self-perpetuating methods that’d remain as cultural…daily. Psychologically, South Sudanese should understand that accountability is a daily happening.
Corruption isn’t going to end through the arrest of few individuals. What the government has to do is to establish systemic instruments that can act as deterrents for would-be corrupt employees.

What we have to understand is that auditing is a yearly event that does little in fighting corruption in Africa. In that case, what the country needs is structural establishment of across-the-board modalities that can make sure accountability becomes a golden cultural phenomenon.
The recent suspension of Finance Minister, Kosta Manibe, and Cabinet Affairs Minister,Deng Alor, is a political faux pas. While some might rush to argue that the President has finally got some nerves in fighting corruption, the arrest raises more curious questions than answers. Admittedly, the incident makes South Sudanese even more wary and confused than comforted.

What’s the fate of the 75-fellows letter? When is the president going to report back to the nation about what happened to the letter?
The suspension of these two ministers and the subsequent investigations are going to neither to reduce corruption nor assure anyone that the president is serious about fighting corruption.

Fighting corruption shouldn’t be a political cherry-picking. The president has to either do a systemic overhaul or devise modalities that can be applied by every single worker in South Sudan. Accountability shouldn’t be restricted to government departments either. It should apply to everyone in both the public and private sphere of work…and at all levels.
Each and everyone should be enlightened and given strict directives in order to know that accountability is to be made a cultural phenomenon in South Sudan. Strict transitive causal relations can help: A->B->C->D. Every single person should understand that they are accountable to someone above them. This accountability modal shouldn’t be restricted to fiscal enterprises. The modals should be applied to any given task that directly affects the lives of South Sudanese and their developmental future.

Regular accountability meetings at every given department should be made mandatory. A culture where people know that they can be called anytime by their superiors is the culture we want. If one knows that one’s boss can call anytime for one to account for the hours worked, the quality of work or any task money-related, then it would be possible for people to keep clean records of what they do.
For instance, employees should keep their records because their supervisors can call them anytime to account for what they do; whether they adhere to codes of conduct and their job descriptions. Supervisors should also keep their records because they can be summoned anytime to account for what they do in front of departmental heads. Departmental heads should also keep their records clean as they might be called to account in front of directors. And this should continue up to the ministers, to the parliament and to South Sudanese citizens. Without this systemic inculcation of the culture of accountability, arresting or suspending individuals only becomes an excuse; a political ruse meant to cover up the macabre malady of corruption.

National Audit Chamber (NAC) can either devise these modalities or the government can contract an independent consulting company to make sure that accountability isn’t restricted to government officials. NAC yearly auditing is just a pinch among all the ingredients required for workable and effective accountability.

Let what we do be transparent! Let accountability be cultural!
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As someone who grew up in war conditions and lived as a refugee for a long time, I'm sometimes considered by many people in the 'west' to be prone to (or have) low self-esteem, be poor or illiterate. Living as refugees or displaced persons, who depended on the good will of others put people in a situation where they don't think much about themselves. But that's not everyone though.

As I stood by our front desk at my place work talking about Race and Identity in relation to my book, Is 'Black' Really Beautiful?, the issue of why many African peoples in North America become so over-sensitive when racial issues come up! For many rational people, this owes its origin to slavery and racial segregation.

But one of my coworkers, a person of European descent, was surprised to realize that her 'black' friend, a very intelligent woman, easily becomes irritated by simple things she [friend] considers racist. The friend considers any mention of a watermelon racist; and complains a lot about 'white privilege.' This means that discrimination is considered something 'whites' don't face because of 'white privilege.' In any discussion between 'blacks' and 'whites', 'white privilege' issue comes up!