Authorities and Accountability

In an evaluation blunder, the Royal Civil Service Examination failed to clear 97 graduates in the prelims. Though a possible mishap involving the graduates’ prospects was averted after the mistake was identified, think of it: had it not been detected, who would be accountable?

The Supreme Court is of the stand that those caught with SP+ are not guilty versus those caught with SP. This has led to an institution that interprets legislation to actually usurping legislative roles. Where is the divide and balance of powers? Who should be accountable for all the arrests made prior to this verdict?

Airlines staff tested positive for drugs. Yet, after a period of suspension, they will continue service (disservice). Where are the penalties and rules that will deter such practices? If the trend continues, lives of passengers flying can be put to great risks. Why is Bhutan Narcotics Control Agency (BNCA) acting defensive? Who is accountable in this case?

Members of Parliament (MP) are reported doing table tours. Recorded number of days of constituency visits shoots through the roof, defying permissible limits. The next instant, it is reported that the National Assembly (NA) secretariat erred with the reports. Whom do we blame? The secretariat for not verifying facts or the MPs themselves for being lax about providing correct information?

Recent cases of authorities ducking accountability are alarming. If the law makers turn law breakers whom do we turn to? Who will be accountable to advise, guide and govern? Who will be responsible for the society’s rise or ruin?

This is a scary thought. If we identify the microcosm of the issue, it all boils down to individual responsibility. A person who is irresponsible to himself will do little good to or for society. This is the fundamental law that governs authorities and powers as well.

Basically, a human being is driven by his chief desire. And a collective body of human beings with the same desire can form a mastermind that can achieve great things or dissipate into oblivion, even destruction.

The individuals who form the authorities should remember that the best person to judge you is you, provided one is honest enough. And the authorities need to remember that though accountability is expected of them, they are also endowed with the ability and resources to think, analyze, suggest and advise. Not being driven by herd mentality, motives of being validated or people pleasing, but a critical head and compassionate heart, plus genuine motives always help while making and executing decisions.

Also, weighing the larger and long-term good against short-term benefits could be a reliable compass to direct decisions, words and actions. Be pragmatic and idealistic at the same time. It is a good combo.

Passing the buck helps little. If we have erred, we must admit it and make amends. It might not be too late to damage control. Show decisiveness, show swift action.

Accountability is a mature, responsible word. Followers will have the back of authorities that are accountable. And if we fall, we can always rise up again. There is no such thing as an incorrigible failure unless we decide to be one.

So yes, the Royal Civil Service Commission blundered but it can learn from the experience. The Supreme Court again took an image beating but it can learn how to uphold its institutional finesse. BNCA let off the airlines staff who tested positive for substance abuse lightly but it can learn to strengthen its laws and mandates. MPs might have misinformed the NA secretariat or the latter might have compiled a grossly inaccurate report but both can learn to act in synergy in the future.

Just do not act defensive and play the blame game. Be humble. Own up mistakes. Make amends. Be accountable.