Open dialogue with the public to solve corruption
By Taye Kebede
Ethiopian News, Tigrai Online, March 29, 2016
The government is mobilizing the public in order to solve the rooted good governance, justice, corruption and rent-seeking problems that are seen in the whole country from the federal to regional level. As the demand comes from the public themselves, the reply must be given through the concerted activity both the government and the people do together.
People are like the sea. The activity of any of the officials, whether in the upper or lower echelon, cannot be hidden from the eyes of the public. The people officially tell all their complaint, frustration and dissatisfaction in every chance and platform they get. And they are still telling.
The people tell about the wide-ranging problems that frustrated them with clear evidence; be it government institutions, service delivery institutions, land management and administration, the construction sector, on condominium building and distribution, the plot of the rent-seekers, corrupts, brokers that spike the price of basic good commodities and products. And this was what was reflected during the recent review platforms that were held by the government.
Individuals lie, but not people. Individuals can falsely accuse officials when they want things to be done for them outside the realm of the legal framework. This type of revenge-fuelled acts has been going on from olden days to now. This type act that lacks truth and integrity won’t get us far.
As it’s known, there are those who falsely testify on innocent people in the court of law. And the people also know about those who collected their wealth through taking bribes using their government seat; those same people who forgetting their role of servicing the public end up frustrating the people without any good reason wanting special kickback and bribes, while of course stealing from the government and the public. And they are ready to provide the information on this.
There are many people from kebele, sub-city and government bureaus to regional state who reached a level of extreme wealth suddenly out of the blue. This heinous act is a crime that is committed against the country and people. And the government won’t let this pass in silence. The aim of the public mobilization is to find solution to this quandary. And the network these entities created is long and closely integrated, and they get their way by seducing government officials that are seated at key position and can partner to their criminal enterprise. They have traded, profiteered in the name of the people. They have hoarded huge amounts of wealth and possession in this process.
They have shot up from being low and mid level public servant to wealthy men like a rocket. Of course there are those who developed their wealth through the toil of their sweat, commitment, humble and serious work ethic. And these people should be encouraged and supported.
Other than this, for anyone who thoroughly looked into the saying ‘there is a crime behind every huge wealth’, they can see that there is truth in it. The people know and flat out say that those officials who control the embezzlement behind the scene from afar through their remote control while representing the people will have to get involved on the network.
As it’s known, the corruptors and rent-seekers say that they have various officials in their pocket to threaten and harass other people. This might be true or not. It might be a case of cheekily using the name of officials for their own end, or a case of a planned smear campaign that specific official. And the corrupt, rent-seeker force uses this as one strategy to get their way; and have been using it. But, now they should be stopped.
As an outcome of the government initiated public mobilization, and through the strong assessment made in Addis Ababa and Amharic region along with the public involvement and feedback, several leaders from top to the mid level that used to work at various sectors have been made to leave their post and be brought o justice to answer for issues related to corruption and rent seeking, issues in the justice sector, regarding land grab, embezzlement, and inability to service the public up to the standard.
And the public is bringing in evidences by actively participating as per the public mobilization. This good and promising start of clearing those culprits is expected to continue strong in other regions. Notwithstanding the fact that they are brought in to face the law, what should be worked upon is on bringing a better and successful procedural workings and organization.
Enabling the people to properly get government services and stirring subsequent satisfaction should be taken as its priority work by the government. Bringing good governance, better justice procedures, fighting and stopping rent-seeking and corruption is the main agenda of the government – and it is working on it accordingly.
The problem won’t be solved in one night. And it is not possible to do so. The issue is complex and sophisticated; and as it is hugely challenging, there needs to be ample time and attention given to it.
Although their levels differ, these problems have occurred in many countries of the world. Those governments that were able to listen to their people and identify the problem and able to take a swift and decisive action against were able to bring solution to the problem, while those who couldn’t do this have failed.
As our government is working on the issue through public mobilization and by talking to the people, there is a strong belief that it will solve the problem. And it is expected of the government to bring fundamental change on the issue by taking strong measures that have the consent of the people.
The fact that carrying on or shouldering this problem in fear of what might became can bring unexpected threat sometime in the future was an issue that was assessed and indentified by the ruling party EPRDF itself on its 10th assembly. And it has decided to wage a life or death fight against the problem.
The reform measures that are taken should be continuously assessed if whether they are bringing successful results, and also should get the consent of the people. Although it is not a new phenomenon to see entities with their own hidden agenda hijacking legitimate question/concern of the people and divert it to serve their own agenda, nonetheless, they should be stopped.
Lack of good governance is a wide-ranging problem. It is a concerning issue that should be met with a sophisticated and lasting solution. The reason why the people’s frustration grows is mainly because of lack of good governance and justice. The open dialogue the government opened with the people and other stakeholders is a big step that would lead to identify the problems and formulate solution for them. And this should continue strongly without losing its momentum.