• April 20th, 2019
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What accountability, by whom and when?


This year has been declared a year of accountability by the Head of State, Dr Hage Geingob.
Is accountability, in this election year, a one-off matter that re-occurs only once every five years or a consistent vow that will be seen every day?

Those in every aspect of governance must account every day of their work in terms of the prevailing and pertaining to existing accounting processes, structures and mechanisms duly in place.

If what the Head of State may have had in mind in terms of accountability is for the governors, in the broadest sense of the word, to mean each and every one who has been put in a position of trust and responsibility to only now account to the electorate, well and good.

But one cannot have any confidence in any governing system where those in positions of trust, accountability and responsibility are only called upon once in a while.

In fact election time is and cannot be the time for governors to account to the electorate. Simply this is a time for the electorate to take stock of the past five years which the governors, whatever their political hue, persuasion and or ideology, as co-governors, to answer to the electorate on what they have achieved during their tenure, as well as the failures.
Equally, accountability cannot be based only on a singular achievement and vice versa - on a singular omission or non-commission but must be a holistic overview taking every intermittent paucity and aspect of governance during the accounting period into consideration.  

Meaning no structure of and on the governance pendulum, civic and otherwise, can escape review; not a once-off review but a continuous and constant review, which is a totality of the various intermittent reviews.
More often than not during this period the inclination is and has been just to hold the governing party or parties to account with this party or parties often in the witness box of accountability. 

But good governance cannot and should not be a function of the governing party but all co-governors must equally account to the electorate as an ultimate function of a process of check and balances throughout the five-year period. In this process everyone and each had been having a role to fulfill. 

The media must have had its role to get the government to account. Civil society likewise. Parliamentarians as much. You name them. The question remains to what extent have all these strata of accountability and check and balances, equipped themselves to their respective tasks and responsibility for a holistic review of governance accountability. 
On the government or Cabinet level this is that can be referred to as collective responsibility, or accountability if you wish. Not only now in the year of elections but throughout and in between elections.  

It cannot and should not just be a matter of the various strata of governance pointing fingers but each and every strata must also within its realm of responsibility/accountability do a self-introspection how much it has contributed towards good governance. 

Not only this but also what its own shortcomings must have been. Because the shortcomings of each player in good governance must certainly have had a bearing, one way or another, on the total governance plain. Thus, the governing party cannot and should not be the one to account only.  Because whatever its successes and/or weaknesses cannot have been solely and purely its own. One may in this regard reference radical socio-economic transformation in Namibia, as it may have been instrumentalise and realised through the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF). 

There’s no denial that economic power remains in the hands of whites in Namibia and NEEEF has been envisaged to unbundle economic power and to bring Africans on board of the mainstream economy. Not as mere consumers but also as creators of wealth like their white capitalist counterparts. 

But this, it seems has been against the best wishes of the white capitalist class, compelled the government to scrap from the framework the crucial clause that was to guarantee the previously disadvantaged a great stake in the Namibian white capital economy. 

How then can the government or governing party be solely responsible for lack of a radical socio-economic transformation in this regard? Likewise the question begs whether the governing party was resolute enough to see such a radical socio-economic transformation in the country by succumbing to the whims of the industry? 

So those out there who may think that it is only the government that must be accountable, they have got it completely wrong because all somewhere and somehow are accountable.

Either by willfully sabotaging government plans (which essentially are national plans), or by misdirecting such plans through non-implementation or mis-implementation or by ill advising or not advising the government at all the case may be. 


Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro
2019-01-18 10:33:51 3 months ago

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