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Good Governance: Role of Individuals Vs Institutions

Good Governance: Role of Individuals Vs Institutions

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Prof.Syed Ahsanul Alam on Jul 19, 2008
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Good Governance: Role of Individuals Vs. Institutions
By - Prof. Syed Ahsanul Alam, Chairman-CGGEmail:goodgovernancebd@gmail.com,Fax:0088-031-2550872In the recent years, Bangladesh made some progress in many areas of economic and social development such asmaintaining macroeconomic stability, growth in exports and in remittances, increase in enrolment in primary education,improvements in female's education, reductions in infant and maternal mortality and improvement in women'sempowerment. Yet there are growing concerns that Bangladesh 's development prospects are frustrated by badgovernance. One does not need to go in the nitty gritty to understand how bad governance affected the economy. Expertstell us that two percent or more of the GDP is lost to corruption and bad governance. Bad governance results to huge lossin economic growth annually. Bad governance and corruption deter investment, waste national resources and disequateallocation and increase insecurity. Moreover, the poor suffer most from the consequences of bad governance andcorruption. Amongst the major governance weakness: pervasive corruption, weak governance, absence of monitoringinstitutions seriously affects economic growth and poverty reduction in the country. Though the methodology used byTransparency International (TI) to measure corruption has been subject to many questions, yet holding the first positionin Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for 5 consecutive years has tarnished the image of Bangladesh .
A. Good Governance: Rule of Law not rule of men or women
Good governance is an extension of the principle of the rule of law. Any society is well-governed when there is a rule of law, not a rule of men or woman. A modern state is extensively governed by rules, regulations and laws, by complexguidelines and instructions, restrictive, prohibitive and penal procedures. Good governance can become myth for the people when the public representatives, bureaucrats and judiciary put rules and regulations aside and start ruling by using political office for personal gains. It has often been seen in history that an elected government may not be democratic butautocratic in practice imposing dictatorship of the head of the government. This can happen even in the parliamentaryform of governments. It is ironical that, the democratic world is satisfied if the adults of a country can cast their votes at a periodic interval in a festive mood. But little do they bother whether these festive periodic exercises called election(made in Bangladesh) puts the voter in a helpless coercive situation to choose muscleman or criminals nominated by party A or party B as their representative only to endorse a rule of terrors or criminals.The basic problem of maintaining rule of law in Bangladesh is the belief of a powerful group of politicians, bureaucrats,elites, business personalities and other persons from other professions, that although all human beings are created equal,they are more than the created equals. Law and judicial systems exist for those who are less equal than them, allowingthem to float above the law and the arms of the court are not long enough to reach them. This irony in the day to dayaffairs of Bangladesh is the breeding ground of corruption, mis-governance and mis-fortune. The search for a policy andsystem to combat corruption is essentially a search for a leveler, except death which will cut the size of those more-than-equals to their proper size and dimension. If corruption is to be combated, it would have to be addressed both by way of achange of mind set and a change of consequences.
B. Good Governance: People Centric Governance
The broad concept of good governance is the process of governing with maximum participation of the people. GoodGovernance refers to the broad set of actions that a government undertakes to ensure people centric socio-politico-economic mechanisms to function effectively. Good governance, then, arises from actions of a government which is
honest, transparent, accountable, efficient, and institutionally sound. Establishing good governance in Bangladeshrequires reforms of the political System, electoral system, state machinery – and institutions to monitor the governance.Weakness in governance is most visible by rampant corruption in economic and business arena in Bangladesh . To tacklecorruption, we cannot just focus on the demand side of corrupt payments; we must also combat the supply side. Thegovernment, public sector, private sector, ministers, parliament members as well as individuals were all pre dominantlyinvolved in corrupt practices in Bangladesh . To combat corruption, we must focus on most of the infected organs of thestate.
C. Good Governance: Conceptual Framework 
A number of multilateral organizations ( e.g. UNDP, World Bank, OECD) and bilateral organizations have emphasizedon the elements of good governance and its impact on development. Multilateral organizations generally equate goodgovernance with sound economic management based on (i) Accountability; (ii) Participation; (iii) Predictability and (iv)Transparency.The concept of good governance has been clarified by the UN's Commission on Human Rights and identified the keyattributes of good governance as:1.Transparency 2.Responsibility 3.Accountability 4.Participation 5.ResponsivenessHowever, there are some bilateral donors who are not satisfied with this narrow economic definition of good governance.They would like at least
more elements to be included as an essential part of good governance, namely (i)Democratization; (ii) Human Rights; (iii) Rule of Law; (iv)Cuts in Military Expenditure and (v) Probity.
stated that:
Syed Ahsanul Alam, Associate Professor of Marketing, University of Chittagong in his article "Road MapTo Good Governance -
The Nine 'I' Model
" explains that "Democracy cannot flourish in the absence of goodgovernance."He explains: "The pre-condition for good governance is effective democratic institutions for democratizing the society.Improvement of the living standard of people cannot happen where people cannot participate in governance, humanrights are not respected, information does not flow, and civil society and the judiciary are weak. According to him
During the previous regimes Good governance in Bangladesh was far from the actual consonance of the term. There areseveral factors and issues that are constraining the very process of good governance. The major factors are i) corruption,ii) politicization of administration, iii) weak democratic institutions, iv) autocratic parliament, v) absence of the rule of law and vi) absence of meritocracy etc.The ESCAP of the United Nations has emphasized for good governance, the participatory nature of the government andthe rule of law. According to this definition, good governance has
major characteristics -"It is i) participatory, ii)consensus oriented accountable, iii) transparent, iv) responsive, v) effective, vi) efficient, vii) equitable and viii) inclusiveand follows the rule of law."By the rule of law ESCAP means fair legal frameworks and impartial enforcement of laws by an independent judiciaryand incorruptible police force.
D. Good Governance: Role of Individual Stakeholders
Everyday policy makers, professionals, business leaders, sociologist, economists and others independently generateamazing number of ideas and thoughts. The reasons that these ideas don't come to fruition is because like-mindedreformers do seldom collaborate to bring changes. There are a lot of international and domestic organizations, NGOs,government agencies, opinion leaders and others – that are all individually working on tackling corruption in a piece-meal fashion. A more comprehensive approach to address governance will be more fruitful. Corruption can bemarginalized if not eliminated if all stakeholders work together in a coordinated manner against corruption.Ideas and thoughts are ineffective if not put to actions. Unless what is thought is acted upon, such thought has no value.What is important is the commitment of all the citizens – leaders of respective fields– to take on the challenge of replacing bad governance with that of good governance and to do one's own part to address it in a collaborative manner.Corruption, as in all affairs in society may be viewed from the two sides:
a demand side
a supply side
. The
demand side
can only be curbed by reforms of institutions, strengthened enforcement of law by a transparent judiciary.As the owner of the country all citizens are affected by bad governance everyday, and as such they should insist reformsof the legislative, executive and judicial organ of the country. The stake holders of good governance should get united toraise voice against corruption to curve the
supply side
. Thus the citizens will have to participate in the crusades againstcorruption and only moral support to the Anti Corruption Commission (
) is not enough to eliminate corruption.
E. Good Governance: Role of Civil Society
Citizens face potential corruption practically at every level and every sector of life. It could be the local police, T.N.T,electricity and water authority, municipal corporation or the tax department. Government alone cannot succeed incombating corruption without the active participation of civil society and citizen action groups. Civil society is in the best position to articulate the grievances of the citizen and highlight priorities of action on corruption to governments. Civil

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