Power is incendiary. Placed in the wrong hands it can ‘explode’ with devastating consequences.
Not everyone can handle the responsibilities of political office. Not everyone can handle the use of power. In the wrong hands, power can become deadly. Like placing a gun in the hands of a child.
One of the ways in which political power is exercised is through public office. And when power is put into the hands of those who do not understand how to exercise the responsibilities of public office, power can be recklessly applied.
Political responsibility, and especially ministerial responsibility, cannot be entrusted into the hands of those who have no demonstrated ability to deal with such high responsibility. It cannot and should never be handed to persons who do not understand how to use power responsibly.
The President of Guyana holds Executive authority. It is he who has the responsibility of assigning ministerial responsibility to those who will exercise executive authority on his behalf. That delegation involves the assigning of political power and must be done with great care and delicacy so as to ensure that power does not end up in the hands of those who are prone to abusing its use.
There have been cases – far too many cases, in fact – in which power has been exercised in a high-handed and reckless manner by the APNU+AFC administration. And it is obvious to even the most casual observer that there are persons who have been handed political power who should not even have been trusted with bookkeeping responsibilities.
These persons – and they know who they are – do not have the ability, the intellect or leadership skills to exercise political power. And in the absence of these attributes, they use power in a manner that destroys rather than improves people’s lives.
Many of them lack ability. It is said that you can put lipstick on a pig and that animal will remain a pig. It is the same with persons, you can put on a nice suit on them, provide them with a state vehicle, driver and all the other perquisites which come with public office and they will still behave like buffoons.
You cannot change a person by handing them responsibility. You cannot hope that in so doing they will become a better person. Those who are entrusted to lead must first have the ability to lead. And quite frankly there are many within the present government who simply do not have the ability to lead.
The second fault line is the lack of intelligence. And intelligence must not be confused with qualifications. There are many persons out there who emerge with all manner of academic qualifications, but ask them to do basic things and they will struggle. They are often clueless. Yet, many of them have found themselves in public office, barking out orders, but not having basic common sense in their thinking. Intelligence is very important and there are far too many dunderheads within the present administration who pretend that they know it all when they know very little.
Leadership ability has been seriously lacking within the APNU+AFC administration. Many of those assigned power have never led anything in their lives, not even a Boy Scouts troop. How then does one expect them to assume responsibility for hundreds of employees, much less be entrusted with acting in the best interest of the masses? Experience in leadership should be a prerequisite for holding ministerial and high political office.
One of the mistakes which all political parties make, is that they feel obligated to award public office as part of the distribution of the spoils of elections. And because of this, persons who have been involved in their political parties and campaigns end up in public office.
When the British designed the system of public administration, they knew what they were doing. They were able to distinguish between purely political functions – policy making – and administrative functions. And this is why they sought to establish independent civil services. They understood that the skills which someone may acquire within a political party – skills which relate to political mobilization and rabble rousing – cannot be transferred to that of public administration. It is a completely different skill set. The politician often does not fit comfortably into bureaucratic decision-making because the former expects compulsion while the latter demands compliance with organization rules and systems.
It is not surprising therefore that the APNU+AFC administration has experienced its fair share of abusive use of office. Political responsibility has, in too many cases, been placed in the hands of those who have not the ability, intelligence, experience or capacity for exercising political power.
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