“Citizens are primarily responsible to act as movers and shakers of the demands of good governance and accountability” – Governance Expert
ACCRA, Ghana – Director of Research at the Accra-based Mutatio Institute Marc Amaliya believes that African countries “have gone past that era where we can outsource responsibility or cry victim. We govern ourselves now, and we misrule ourselves also.”
Speaking to E.K.Bensah on the “Africa in Focus Show”, which reprised the issue of governance in the context of Africa’s democracy, Amaliya said that, one of the difficulties in the conversation on governance in Africa “is the collective cross-comparative way of assessing situations.”
He believes that doesn’t help, because “African countries are at different stages of their economic, political, and even social integration.” He continues: “we still have immensely ethnically-divided societies that constitute States in Africa and we have countries with enormous economic resource-potential, and they are completely aloof when it comes to getting the political systems right.”
Conversely, “we have countries that seem to be at a certain equilibrium”, like Ghana, but “is completely helpless when it comes to doing things all by ourselves. We still need to be policed.” What this tells us, he avers, is that apart from talking about good governance and what it stands for, “countries are at different stages in their lives and they need assistance.”
Pressed by Bensah to explain why countries like Uganda; Rwanda; and Togo are economies on the rise, and delivering results, why can one not say that there is governance, even with “the paucity of institutions that exist?” To this, Amaliya explained “I do not know of anyone who out rightly dismisses the existence of governance, but the reason why there is a need to qualify governance...is because there is such a thing as bad governance.” Even failed States, he quipped, have some type of governance.
He added “whether it is Faure...or Kagame...or Museveni, in their individual stead, these people can claim to a certain sense of legitimacy, a certain source of authority from the people to govern that they remain popular and that they represent the wills of their people.” However, “there are constituencies that would object to that” – to the extent that “they would be pointing to serious shortcomings in their rule.
Amaliya emphasized that, in the long run, any conversation on governance in Africa, especially, needs to acknowledge the role of citizens: “we as citizens are primarily responsible to act as movers and shakers of the demands of good governance and accountability, and that seems to be the real gateway to where many countries are heading. There is an appetite and an irresolute interest in citizens to demand this”.
The “Africa in Focus” Show is hosted by Emmanuel.K.Bensah Jr from 14h00 to 15h00 every Wednesday. You can download all podcasts from www.africainfocusradioshow.org . Follow the conversation on twitter on @africainfocus14 , using #africainfocus