Given the perception of alleged corruption in the sole-sourcing of contracts, the government must demonstrate its support for transparency, accountability, good governance and against corruption.The highest office in the land is the President, which is one of moral leadership, as President Teddy Roosevelt said of the U.S presidency. With such high bar for moral leadership, the President and his cabinet are expected to be of the highest moral standards, purposeful, swift, uncorrupt and decisive in the decisions and actions they take on issues related to their conduct and performance while in office.There should be a standing procedure that all members of the Cabinet receive good governance training and practices.
The preservation of moral authority depends on being honest, keeping one’s word and fulfilling one’s promises. In this regard, some members of the Cabinet have repeatedly failed, and have missed several opportunities to demonstrate to the public that they are committed not by words but by their actions to do differently than the last administration in relation to good governance and moral leadership. However, the public perception is that the government is weak and indecisive on several issues. Among them is the lack of commitment to prosecute senior members of the last administration who are deemed culpable of alleged corruption and other illegal practices.
Another is the authority seems incapable of reviving the struggling economy, solving the high crime rate, reducing corruption and shrinking the high level of poverty and homelessness that exists in the country. Due to its waffling and indecisiveness on the issue of corruption, many are convinced that the government is not committed to transparency, good governance, and accountability—the effect of which is the erosion of moral authority and the demise of the state. What has been indelibly recorded since this government came to office in May 2015 is that it vacillates, bundles, acts slowly, leaves things to fester, and does not take charge when it matters most. It is alleged that some in the cabinet are arrogant and derisive of the public, while others are influenced by and obsessed with the not-so-hidden fact of the power they wield.
The President is the undisputed Head of State and leader of the government, but after three years in office, he has not reshuffled the Cabinet or has disciplined any public official for misconduct or wrongdoings. He has only removed the portfolio responsibilities of two ministers that of health and energy, simply because the government was humiliated by the drug bond scandal and the ridiculous oil contract it signed with ExxonMobil.
Despite public outcry and some harsh criticisms by this newspaper and local and international oil experts, there has been no effort to renegotiate the oil contract by the government. ExxonMobil is given a free reign to wreak havoc on our energy resources and exploit the nation.
The reality is the previous administration has effectively lowered the bar on leadership and good governance. However, this government has the opportunity to raise the profile of what it means to have good governance, only if it redeems itself on matters of public waste, corruption, nepotism, cronyism, and administrative bungling, which were evident in the last government. It must take decisive actions to stem the haemorrhaging of public trust. The responsibility of a leader, with all his or her human frailties and imperfections, is to leave an office in a better than that which he or she inherited.
There are consequences for poor governance and indecisiveness such as declining public trust, which the Opposition can grab on to score political points. However, the Achilles heel of the Opposition is the fact that it too had its share of scandals, corruption, indecisiveness and immorality to be taking the government to task. But the Constitution gives the Opposition the role to hold the government accountable. However, in order for the Opposition to maintain credibility in doing its work, it has to come clean on its own past, while setting out very concrete steps for preventing recurrence.
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