There can hardly be a more damning accusation against the government over lack of accountability and transparency than that always made by the citizens. Yet, the government already appears to have mastered the art of sweeping everything under the rug, arrogantly thinking perhaps it will soon be forgotten. The question remains, can we really have a dispensation culture without transparency and accountability.
In this light, we can agree that the government are seen to be doing their best to desensitise people to wrongdoing, corruption, lack of transparency and accountability. When the people’s top concern today is the ridiculous prices, shortage of currency, chaotic traffic situation and the bad state of the roads, it becomes all too evident the government has succeeded in making people think that wrongdoing is not a priority issue.
Worse, people are often being led to believe that claims of wrongdoing are without foundation, invented by party rivals or critics to put the government in a bad light. There is no question that the situation over traffic and roads is horrible but lack of good governance ought to be of greater worry because it breeds other severe deficiencies.
It is now up to everyone and to civil society to see how best they could counter the government’s frontal desensitising attack. Inadvertently, the unmitigated refusal or extreme disinclination to disclose information could be said to have become a style of government that is seriously depressing the openness and transparency of the public administration.
The government is undoubtedly entirely aware of the people’s right to be informed of its actions but it has now reached the point where it feels it can very well ride roughshod over everybody, including the oppositions in parliament. A just remark would be therefore to say, the people’s right to an accountable public administration is being seriously prejudiced.
How can an administration possibly ignore such warnings? This is an example of trying to have or pretend to have a dispensation culture without transparency and accountability. Governing in cerements of secrecy is characteristic of a siege mentality and infuse a sense of uncertainty and doubt. This could possibly create a culture of impunity that led one to feel safe to neglect laws and regulations and to commit illegalities in the face of express provisions.
This is dangerous because those in government and the people close to the party in power may be encouraged to consider themselves untouchable, as quite a number already do. The government has kicked its own promises of transparency and accountability in the teeth. It is no easy business fighting this governmental barrage on key democratic values but the alternative is descending to steeper depths of decay.