The greatest problem facing humanity generally in the world and Africa in particular is leadership. The Absence of good leadership globally has emitted the fear of total collapse of the world in the near future. This is because youths who will be leaders of the next generation have not been properly nurtured for such responsibilities by our current leaders through leadership with proven integrity, transparency and accountability.
Most leaders in Africa particularly in governance do not have any proven integrity, transparency and accountability. This is a major reason why corruption and abuse of office is endemic in most leadership positions in Africa. Similarly due to the absence of transparency, the public is deprived of timely access to reliable information on decisions that affect them. Perhaps this may be a reason for the freedom of information bill that is being pursued in some African countries. In the same vein. Lack of accountability has led to the misuse of public funds/resources. The overall consequences of all anomalies is that, the citizens’ needs, yearnings and aspirations are not met. To reduce these Consequences, Some African countries create Anti-graft Agencies to enhance discipline among Governments officials.
It is as a result of these lapses in different countries of the world that made the United Nations to offer a vantage point from which to view and analyze development in public administration around the globe. Thus, the concepts of integrity, transparency and accountability have been identified by the UN as part of the founding principles of public administration for leaders within the UN member countries.
For instance in Yemen, to upload integrity, public servants, must neither solicit nor accept anything from their fellow citizens to perform their duties thus creating a climate of confidence in themselves and in the public service as a whole. Similarly, in South Africa transparency must compulsorily be fostered by providing the public with timely, accessible and accurate information. In the United Kingdom transparency has become a standard of public life, where holders of public offices are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny that is appropriate to their offices.
The three core-principles of leadership in today’s topic of discourse integrity, transparency and accountability are co-dependent. Through integrity, public interest become paramount and provides the basis for transparency and accountability. Thus transparency without accountability becomes meaningless and make a mockery of sound public administration.
Accountability without integrity may not serve public interest. With proper integrity in Governance, public servants are expected to put the interest of the public above their own. Sound public administration involves public trust.
Sub-Saharan African is the home of the world’s poorest countries with associates disease and protracted Conflicts. Since 2003, the African Union (AU) adopted its convention on preventing and combating corruption. With 35 out of 53 countries signing and only 9 countries ratifying to date it shows, the unwillingness of African countries to imbibe proven integrity, transparency and accountability in public governance, integrity and accountability in public administration are also inherent among the principle laid out in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development NEPAD formed in 2001. To further measure conformity which the principle of NEPAD. The African Pear Review Mechanism was introduced in 2003. Also less than half of the 53 AU member States have acceded to the process. This is another indication of the unwillingness of African countries to adopt proven integrity, transparency and accountability in governance.
THE WAY FORWARD FOR AFRICA
To curb financial, human and environmental damages from corruption, African Governments must assure proven integrity, transparency of preparation and accountability in procurement and execution process and enforce all relevant laws. The civil society and the media should monitor public construction projects. Governments should apply minimum standard for public contracting including open competitive building. Full transparency requiring bidders must have internal-anticorruption procedures and sustainable sanctions when required. Governments should also apply transparency international and integrity pact for major investment project. Government should pay adequate wages/salaries to public servants/managers to safeguard corruption. All companies must comply with anti-corruption laws and regulations.
Lastly, for a result oriented and effective integrity, transparency and accountability. Cross-border cooperation for the prosecution of corruption or criminal acts and recovery of States assets will undermine corruption. To meet the basic needs of the poor in each Coventry, the various Governments should recover their stolen assets. This prevents leakages and makes services more accountable.
Although Governments have different Cultural, Political and Administrative environments, they face similar ethical challenges. Thus their ethics management approaches have similar traits. This is why high standard of conduct in public service have become a critical issues for all governments in Africa. Preventing misconducts is as complex as the phenomenon of misconduct itself. To curb the acts of Corruption, fraud and other illegal secrecy in Administration for public interest, and to enthone proven integrity, transparency and accountability,; public trust must be approached holistically as the thread of integrity, transparency and accountability knit together to uphold all public Administration. Fighting corruption is not an end in itself rather, it is of fundamental value in all Governments reforms. The lack of public trust undermines and even destroys political stability of nations. Infact corruption remains the single and significant obstacle to achieving the millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa.
Being experts of Lead Paper presented at the 3rd Leadership Development Conference in Accra, Ghana, 28th April, 2012, by Dr. Foloki Ebibotei. Research fellow, Africa Centre of Human Development & Administrative Leadership.
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