Good Governance as recipe for sustainable developement.
For any country to move forward good governance, respect of human rights and the rule of law are prerequisite for sustainable development. Most often African leaders view this as strings attached to loans granted by the economic institutions and Western Countries. If one looks at partnerships such as AGOA (2000) EU-ACP COTONOU (2000) these are acts and trading partnerships that advocate for trading and development in third world countries. But for African countries to benefit from such trading advantages, their governments are compelled to respect rule of law, good governance and human rights.
Hence many have tagged these policies as Eurocentric. Our concern should not be whether these are Eurocentric ideas rather, focus should be if these policies are well instituted could Africans finally see their continent as home? The surprise here is why should African governments be compelled or given conditionalities to do the right thing. It’s high time we learn to put our houses in order.
Its no secret Africans would stop at nothing to migrate to America and Europe, yet recent economic meltdown in that part of the world have proven that, there is “war in paradise” and it’s a paradise of survival of the fittest. Hence countless of African migrants want to return home, but ask themselves the million dollar question return home to what? Though the future and life in the West could seem so bleak, many Africans, especially Cameroonians still view Europe as their “promised Land “they say it’s better to die out there trying than die in Cameroon helpless. So this accounts for the enormous amount of human capital lost from Cameroon. This brings to mind the last 2012 Olympics games where Teams from some countries scored goal medals for athletes escaping in London. I am sure they told themselves “to hell with patriotism, our families need help and we need help, if the government cannot help us we would do it at any cost”.
Its annoying when we hear about billons that have been embezzled by government officials , yet as corrupt African leaders accumulate wealth, the African people are left with debts and watch helplessly as their natural resources are depleted with nothing to show in return. On the other side, Western bankers and governments turn a blind eye to the plunder of African resources and the illicit accumulation of wealth by the continent’s elites yet basic social amenities as health, education, energy, food, roads, all seem like the “African dream”. It’s common to see long convoy of expensive cars being driven by directors and ministers. Focus is why some governments find it so difficult in implementing policies that are geared at improving the living standards of citizens. The overall objective for good Governance and Administration is to contribute to establishing a citizen-oriented, modern and efficient public service and to reducing violence. An improved delivery of public services in underserved areas and the involvement of poor population groups that can assist in overcoming historical challenges in Africa and structural causes of poverty, inequality and violence.
The local governments should be strong and capable of implementing effective policies that are representatives of the people .So many developing countries trumpet democracy yet only see it as an item in their foreign policy. In Cameroon the parliament is more of a hand clapping assembly. The MPs voted into parliament are never seen until when its time for the next elections. Some of these officials complain of poor state of roads which makes it difficult to visit the people yet during political campaigns bags of rice, beans and some few farming tools are distributed in communities calling this “poverty alleviation” .This brings to mind the term”bellytics”which means politics for the stomach. Yet these MPs are unable to vote good laws that would be of greater impact to the lives of the people.
Local government, which is governance sphere closest to the people, has a profound impact on the lives of every citizen and on the social and economic opportunities available to them. There should be decentralization of power which is important for the growth of any country. In Cameroon though Yaoundé is the administrative headquarter the regional offices have not been delegated enough powers, it is common place to see elderly and old people board all night buses to arrive Yaoundé in the morning, Some even sleep outside government offices to pursue files either for salaries increase or pension. It’s a pathetic situation the state is like a superstructure, whereas a state should be an infrastructure and partner in development. Administration should be closer to the people. The further the administration would be able to solve the problems of the people. How can a country in the 21st century be so centralized .Why is the government afraid of decentralization? It should be noted that over-concentration of power breeds corruption, restricted access to decision-making process, and limited space for civil society participation in governance processes help propel violence and instability. If governments cannot check this then, the daily recurrences of civil conflicts would be inevitable.
Good Governance and administration should not be a game of “you scratch my back and I scratch your back “wherein those areas in support of the ruling government has more privileges over other areas or parts of the country .A good government and public service performance should be one that meets the expectations and needs of citizens, kin to overcome people’s mistrust in state institutions, fostering democracy and evidence-based policy-making should be a
Priority. African governments should know that good administration involves the people. Sometimes we think sensitization means educating people but it is important to note that sensitization could simply mean involving the people. Simple questions such as “what do you think we can do? Helps make the people participate in their own growth and development. Good governance and administration means one has to be very transparent and accountable .This is something which is clearly lacking in many countries. African Leaders treat the state as secret cults. Transparency means giving every details and truthfully too. Those who are rendering services in Africa make it difficult for those who are to be served. Administration should be made accessible to those who do not know what to do.
Our institutions are like mirrors, they reflect who we are and determine where we are going to. Because we don’t have strong social and security system, people tend to rely on handouts from governments and politicians. Development in human society is a many-sided process. At the level of the individual, it implies increased skill and capacity, greater freedom, creativity, self discipline, responsibility and material well being. Hence every both the government and citizens have a role in good governance.Maybe when Africans leaders begin regarding their countries as their home and not some “cake” to be eaten then the latent conflicts experienced in this part of the world, would come to an end.