I believe that a country’s future lies in its strength of ability to let the decision of its own economic, political and social precedence bloom with a direction from the Government, in partnership with and a non-negotiable accountability to the people who live in the country.
In this way, good governance brings the enlightened purposefulness of the people into governments’ process of reaching a decision. Good governance is seeded on the standard assumption of constructing secure, ‘fertile’ and sound communities while pocketing three most important factors that contributes in its production –
- Inclusive and accountable decision-making.
- Equitable civic participation and voice.
- Effective public service delivery and government responsibility.
While these may give birth to the possibility of a chaotic handle leading to a confusing order, given the acquaintance to restrictions, yet it promises to deliver a response to not only the present but the future needs of society. Principles of good governance have always been based upon the certainty that corruption must be abstracted, the views of minorities should be taken into account and that the voices of the most susceptible in society are heard in a unanimous decision-making.
Even if there may not be non-deviating links between democracy and rehearsing every aspect of good governance, clearly accountability, transparency and participation are strengthened by democracy, which themselves are factors conducive to democratic quality.
But then the inter-dependency lies here. Accountability cannot be observed by compulsion, that too without transparency and the rule of law. Government institutions, the private sector and civil society organizations must be accountable to the public about what they have done, will do or have failed to do.
Accountability involves reciprocal and mutual transfer of information. For example, in the case of Civil Society Organizations (CSO), sharing information with the community is a fundamental responsibility in return of which community members are presumed to do the same with the CSO. This obviously asks for the emergence of law, order and legislative environment for barring any threat or obstruction.
Participation by men and women, old and young is an indispensable basis of good governance. Whatever may be the legitimate medium; participation mechanisms can stipulate the opening for see-through feedback so that governments can attend perceptions from a broad diversity of people regularly, develop policies and design decisions that prove fruitful for other democratic processes. Although participation attracts oxymoronic situations – freedom of association and expression on the one hand and an orderly civil society on the other, governments that consult its public can be imagined to be at a better position in governance.
Though some countries have tended to encourage the inherent capacity of public discussion on matters of governance, there has often been a dearth of instrument for pursuing the outcome of the discussions to the right conclusion. The need for a collective approach is missing but the potentiality here is quite promising. The one advantage which the government often overlooks is that such steps would enjoy more support, once taken.
There are examples of new democracies which have developed their platforms for significant social, political or economic recoveries with use of referenda, where people vote for or against a specific proposal, law or policy, rather than for a particular candidate, party or general policy platform. Depending on a country’s constitution or national level policies, referenda can either yield confining or advisory outcomes. Usually governments either announce referenda via the legislature or simply allow its citizens to solemnly supplicate for it directly. A famous example is the referendum of January 2011 in Southern Sudan, which succeeded in a negotiated condition of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that helped put an end to that country’s 22-year civil war.
Hence, civic participation is the ladder to creation of better governance which dishes out the concrete benefits in the form of verified responsiveness, enhanced development as a result of cross-sector collaboration, better-informed policies and more equitable public service delivery.
The key is to remember that a Government’s primary duty is to protect its people instead of designing their lives along unbroken lines. Because will of the people is the source to legitimate happiness of all.
To Educate, Engage and Empower – that must be the motto.