LAST week’s celebrations of Mandela Day, in which various Namibian firms, including the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group took part, served to remind and inspire us to strive for social justice.
This involves a multifaceted challenge to adopt policies and strategies for addressing poverty and inequality, while promoting economic development, and must happen under the guidance and within the broader regional and multilateral context.
We were once reminded that the achievement of these goals require constant action and vigilance, but also good governance. Social justice cannot be achieved amidst corruption, the abuse of power, and inward-looking national policies. Poverty, inequality and exclusion cannot be addressed without good governance.
Governance embraces a wide-ranging cluster of rules and principles for decision-making and the exercise of public power.
Namibians have witnessed over the years how public power is often abused, and how it has not exercised for the public good. This happens even though the Namibian Constitution demands the exact opposite.
Good governance respects the rule of law and advances transparency. Accountability is another key tenet of good governance. State organs and structures, which exercise power, must be accountable to those who will be affected by their decisions and actions.
It is also about participation by men and women in the political and administrative processes that affect their lives. It is ultimately about real outcomes.
Good governance has become a legitimate and generally recognised international yardstick, for ensuring economic development and fairness, within and beyond national borders. Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies, for sustainable development, as well as the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.
Studies about the achievement of Goal 16 of indicate that among the institutions that are most affected by corruption are the judiciary and police. Corruption, bribery, theft and tax evasion costs some developing countries billions of dollars every year. The rate of children leaving primary school in conflict-affected countries reached 50 percent in 2011, which accounts for 28.5 million children, showing the impact of unstable societies on one of the major goals of the post-2015 agenda – education.
The rule of law and development has a significant interrelation, and are mutually reinforce each other, making them essential for sustainable development on a national and international level.
The neglect of good governance undermines poverty alleviation strategies and policies to address inequalities and inequities in societies.
The Namibian irony is that while the constitutional order constitutes an official good governance guide, bad governance outcomes are often the reality. It is time that we are reminded that good governance will only be achieved through dedicated effort, inclusivity, transparent structures, and vigilance. This is true for national, regional and multilateral levels of governance.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015