“Ordinary people in Africa states surprise me” a passenger sitting next to me in a taxi at the middle seat loudly told me. We had just bumped into a pothole. “whenever their local governments civil servants implement the policies made by the politicians they fall on their knees and praise them and the government for doing so” he continued.
“Politicians in their own right have known where it benefits them most and that is where they concentrate their efforts for political gain” another passenger at the back row chipped in as if she knew where this conversation was heading to. Probably she had caught it at its tail! They were talking about the pride both the political leaders and civil servants in Africa take while carrying out responsibilities bestowed on to them by the community and their humility.
The civil servants do not want to be the odd men out in their line of duties,they always take their time especially when it comes to the signing of bank checks and withdraw of money from the accounts where they are signatories in the name of being extra careful with financial rules and regulations.
It does not a matter whether the accounting officer is big or small in size so long as he has the power to suction for the release of funds from the banks,he can take his time envisaging on the best time and methods to do just that.It does not matter either from which school he graduated ,he has the master key to make things move.So a politician has to severally convince him to quicken on the process of doing some work in his area of jurisdiction.Many times with kickbacks,promises of promotions,or threats- whatever it could be.
That is Africa with its politicians and civil servants-yes implementers of set down policies. Every one want at least some glorification and to be noticed.
Usually this is done at the expense of development.Development programs are stuck through out the time an accounting officer is waiting for some one to plead for his permission.
The development thinkers had thought that it is the best alternative to create two blocks in the implementation of development programs- the policy makers and the civil servants.in order to avoid conflict of interests.But these are the people who have caused this continent most of the suffering.Policy makers at any level of decision making think that they are the only lot that have the greatest powers while civil servants on the other hand wait to punish them with delayed implementation.
Ordinary Africans in the villages hope to see their livelihood improved at all times. They ostensibly know that the responsibilities and authority to collect tax from them entirely rests with those they put in positions of leadership and always expects them to use the natural resources in their powers optimally well to the benefit of every citizen.
Not so many areas ordinary people want their leaders to focus for their crucial benefit.They expect them to allocate funds in the areas of agriculture,education,transport ,health,culture and perhaps technology.However whenever a proposed budgeted for proposal is implemented the people glorify the politicians as though what was done was a fovour!
That is where my fellow taxi traveler got the greatest surprise. Why the aggrandizement? Why the praises? Are these people not in line of their own duty? Their obligations.
I have seen an impoverished old woman in Uganda giving her own hen that lays the golden eggs to the politician during a rally in her village.When I asked why she did that after the heavy weight had gone, she replied “It was a gesture of civility.You never know the gentle man will remember me one day and pay me in the same currency as I have done”but the politician to who you gave your hen has more than enough.I argued. “I know but how are we poverty stricken village dwellers going to be noticed unless we force our selves on to those who have in abundance and holds political and corporate powers as well.She ended the interrogation.
I was not convinced all the same by the argument of the old woman.Even the mantle of throwing praises have engulfed the ordinary people for the sake of winning favors I asked my self. The government worker want to be recognized and the politician too struggle for glorification and front places at functions and assemblies.What a surprise!
For every road that is constructed or a school that is build a politicians and his civil servant expect praises or glorification.Praises are in many forms.It could be be a portion of what a contractor has received as a cost for building the school or for the construction of the road or some thing else that commiserate with his status and put down the status of the giver.
The desire for glorification in the circles of African development has driven good decisions in the limbo.Bodies like East Africa Community,African Union,Comesa and alike suffer from glorification and praise syndrome to the detriment of the countries where they are.
For now a decade has gone by since the African Union was formed.Would it be a crime if some one disgruntled by what it has done so far say that its powers rests in the convergence in one of the African country’s city to eat and enjoy a pompous meeting while most citizens of African countries are displaced as a result of conflicts and civil wars?.A good example is Southern Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo.
We hear praises and counter glorification in favor of the leaders they call gallant sons and daughters of Africa and a new bleed of African leaders being bestowed on to them whenever they are in such important summits on behalf of the African child.
Africans would like to see their resources used by the people they give political and economic powers to decide on their behalf very well other than wait for glorification and praises events before something important is put in motion.They want to see their countries develop and have an changed life for the better.
Thanking someone for the job well done is not bad but seeking self aggrandizement in order to effect development put many civil servants and political leaders at the helm of arrogance and derail development.
Political leaders and civil servants should all the time remember that whatever they do is done in line of their own duty and a right to their fellow citizen not a favor.
What is your line of argument in this context?