Corruption - A social disease (Part 153): The role of NGOs during the Year of Accountability

22 February 2019 | Columns

Johan Coetzee - The African Union has proclaimed 2018 as the Year of Accountability. Our President has proclaimed 2018 as the Year of Reckoning.

Accountability implies answerability, rectification and can include liability.

Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) fulfil an extremely critical role in developing Namibia. NGOs need an open door to offices/ministries/agencies in order to access information, to influence and steer national debate. If NGOs are too critical then they are blamed, labelled and side-lined by governments.

Within the context of 2019 as election year and given the current national and Zimbabwean humanitarian and socio-economic challenges, it will require from NGOs to act with finesse, eloquence and build relationships of trust with public office holders. They should build bridges of hope with the public and influence politicians without getting too close to politicians. Protecting their credibility, exposing sophistry and waste of development resources with commitment and courage are much needed. There is an expression that, "in one’s comfort zone nothing changes".

NGOs have to find a balance between working with government and working in the interest of citizens. Maintaining scientific reputation of the highest standard is even more important than to be politically correct. NGOs should be inspirational to develop trust while promoting citizen advocacy.

On the one hand, harsh criticism and blame without creative and innovative strategies will not develop trust. On the other hand, the real impact of mismanagement, abuse of power and corruption can no longer be denied in the political and public sector arenas.


One of the critical roles of NGOs is to assist in improving public services in a geographically broader context. There is a trend of deteriorating quality of service delivery. NGOs are accountable to citizens in providing services and advice as objectively as possible. Accountability requires monitoring systems to improve the measurability of poverty alleviation programs.

Given the unemployment rate of 43.3% within the age group 18-35, one of the highest inequality rates in the world and drought amidst a depression it is clear that NGOs have their work cut out for them. It is a mammoth task to make every Namibian dollar invested achieve its optimum impact

NGOs working in the public sector has the accountability to liaise with strategic institutions to transform them in improving service delivery. Such strategic services include health, education, and revenue collection.

Given the 2017 Afro-Barometer findings that most people are not satisfied with public service delivery, a slight to moderate decrease in votes in favour of the ruling party will not be a surprise. Without a Voter Verification Paper Audit Trial (VVPAT), it will require a critical presence of NGO observers to prevent intimidation and election fraud.

The mediocre commitment of politicians to reduce corruption – a trend since Independence - requires a bottom-up approach in activating citizen advocacy to compliment a direct top-down approach. This includes inspiring citizens to voice their opinions in print and in social media to express their dissatisfaction with substandard service delivery.

What can NGOs do differently during 2019 to influence decision makers to get Government’ expenditure more aligned to what should be national socio-economic priorities, e.g. health, education and urban housing? A huge challenge is the few public office bearers that attend presentations of NGOs when research findings are presented. What can NGOs do to increase politicians and public officials’ - the decision makers’ - attendance at such presentations?

The final and most critical question is: In changing the development deficit, e.g. waste of public resources and skewed priorities: What legacy do NGOs want to leave? One of diplomacy and/or or one of inspirational change? I believe both are possible.

However, with a dysfunctional Namibian Non-Governmental Organisations Forum (NANGOF) that cannot get their house in order, the heat is on NGO’s.

[email protected]

Similar News


Aluta continua!

1 day - 20 March 2019 | Columns

Tomorrow is without doubt a significant day in our national history, as we pause to celebrate the spirit of our forefathers and struggle heroes and...

The stink of elitism

2 days ago - 19 March 2019 | Columns

This Thursday we will be reminded once more of the important task of nation-building, with Namibians likely being implored to guard against tribalism, racism, nepotism,...

The rantings of a teenager

2 days ago - 19 March 2019 | Columns

Evany van WykDo you sometimes just feel sick to your stomach? That’s how I feel right now. And I’m wondering why this is happening to...

How to start a business

6 days ago - 15 March 2019 | Columns

Annemarie ­Schüllenbach Registering your businessHaving a registered business gives you the right to officially trade as a business person; and it gives potential clients and...

Political will or gimmicks?

6 days ago - 15 March 2019 | Columns

A raft of cost-cutting measures aimed at curtailing spending in government was made public by Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila early last year. The cost-cutting measures...

What a mess!

1 week ago - 14 March 2019 | Columns

Much has been written and said about the new national education curriculum, which has massively impacted learning at many schools countrywide. It must be stated...

Our future is at stake

1 week ago - 13 March 2019 | Columns

The quality of education is dependent on a number of factors, ranging from policies, structures and the type of system being employed. It also goes...

Declare drought an emergency

1 week ago - 12 March 2019 | Columns

It is common knowledge that many of our drought-stricken farmers find themselves in dire straits, due to a prolonged dry-spell, coupled with sparse rainfall and...

#BalanceforBetter Banking this Women’s Day

1 week ago - 08 March 2019 | Columns

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter. “What better way to ensure better balance as a woman than to have control over your...

Corruption - A social disease (Part 154): Neurolinguistics for...

1 week ago - 08 March 2019 | Columns

Johan Coetzee -At board level, it is critical that the language used is constructive in order to allow optimum participation to make decisions (governance), to...

Latest News

Millions unaccounted for at NDC,...

1 day - 20 March 2019 | Economics

The Namibia Development Corporation (NDC) has failed to submit documentary evidence to prove how it spent N$90.1 million between 2015 and 2017, the latest report...

Aluta continua!

1 day - 20 March 2019 | Columns

Tomorrow is without doubt a significant day in our national history, as we pause to celebrate the spirit of our forefathers and struggle heroes and...

Africa Briefs

1 day - 20 March 2019 | Economics

No end date for Eskom’s power cutsSouth Africa's public enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said yesterday he cannot say yet when rolling blackouts will end, as...

Cob plundering suspects nabbed

1 day - 20 March 2019 | Crime

Leandrea Louw Two men arrested on Saturday for allegedly being in possession of 60 large cob made their first appearance in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s...

Unfinished pipeline impacts 7 000...

1 day - 20 March 2019 | Infrastructure

About 6 932 people and 33 790 large and 18 395 small stock units are facing thirst, as the agriculture ministry battles to finish the...

Apple unveils new iPad, updates...

1 day - 20 March 2019 | Technology

Sonam RaiApple Inc, in a surprise move on Monday, launched a new 10.5-inch iPad Air and updated its iPad Mini ahead of a March 25...

Climate change and productivity

1 day - 20 March 2019 | Agriculture

Climate change is a long-term change in climatic/weather patterns of the earth or region. Such change is observed in temperature and rainfall patterns, amongst others....

Palladium hits record high

1 day - 20 March 2019 | Business

Palladium surged to a record yesterday as the risk of a ban on some Russian exports added to supply concerns for the autocatalyst metal. Spot...

State supports non-compliant security firms

1 day - 20 March 2019 | Business

Employers and trade unions agree that one of the major issues facing the Namibian security services industry is that some government institutions continue to appoint...

Load More