A democratic nation is expected to be managed collectively and inclusively which institutional and organizational experts will call teamwork. In recent months government sought to remind citizens of the collective actions to reduce corruption.
The same call is being made to citizens when discussing the disregard for value for money and standards for road construction and misuse of national assets as well as the surging discriminatory access to socio-economic opportunities for the youth and the needy.
While encouraging the reminders to citizens, it is of greater weight to remind the government, state officials, contractors, and providers of services to the state that they have constitutional and statutory obligations to ensure value for money and religious adherence to standards and professionalism in doing any work for the state.
We cannot hide behind the need for citizens’ activism and watchfulness to forget the constitutional and statutory obligations imposed on government officials and state institutions to ensure that projects are well supervised and delivered to acceptable standards.
It seems when we are unwilling to call a spade a spade by blaming government officials, engineers, contractors, and those who gave clearance for work done which sometimes show dangerously poor job done, then we start singing the chorus ‘citizens are not helping and the government is all of us‘.
Does a project supervisor and a minister with a number of technical men and women under his or her control need citizens to ascertain that a poor job is done in constructing a dam or a road?.
The truth we do not want to ‘face’ is that in an environment with endemic nepotistic tendencies, ethnic discrimination, partisan political discrimination and fear, “citizen activism, watchfulness “do not exist. Nepotism, ethnicity and partisan political discrimination kill and erase the zeal for citizens to do their part. We need to deal decisively with the factors that kill collective efforts.
What is potent now is that those with constitutional and statutory obligations to fight corruption, ensure value for money and standards must not transfer that responsibility. Those who are appointed and paid to do such must be encouraged to do so.
This is the era for those with official responsibility to be above board in performing their duties. This is a huge national challenge that needs leadership to deal with.