Thursday, April 21, 2005

Practicing Democracy Is Easy ...

once there is the freedom to speak. Chapomatic picks up a post from AfghanWarrior on an issue that came to a head in Afghanistan -- NGO spending priorities. It appears Afghanis, purported by NGO's there to be the object of their spending, think they aren't as direct an object as the NGO's claim and that the NGO's spend an inordinate amount of the donations on staff upkeep. From Afghan Warrior:
"The Afghan government has asked the NGOs to submit their work reports and expenditures for the last three years. President Karzai appointed a committee of local and foreign representatives to study draft legislation aimed at controlling aid agencies after some Afghan people raised concern over the bill. The Afghan government announced that they had drafted the legislation in a move which followed a government probe into the activities of some non-government organizations {NGOs} and amid the perception by many Afghan people that the organizations are squandering international aid money. Most Afghan people say that half of the aid money is spent on the personal requirements of these NGOs. Fierce debate is raging over the slow progress in making Afghan daily life easier. The Afghan people accuse NGOs of squandering funds channeled through them. The Afghan people welcome President Karzai for appointing a committee to control the NGO activities. President Karzai skirted the NGO controversy at the outset of the Afghanistan Development Forum last week and instead pitched for more control over the way money is spent. All organizations concerned are accountable for expenditure of the funds contributed to Afghanistan. In past three years Afghanistan was the eyewitness to considerable political development and to rehabilitation and economic development of Afghanistan. It should be explained to Afghan people alongside its expenses. So the people can be assured the funds contributed for rehabilitation of Afghanistan were not embezzled. The government is responsible for its people because it is established based on their vote."
Notice the process. People spot what they feel is a problem. They complain about it to their elected representatives. Those representatives do some investigation and develop some measures and the people keep tabs on what is being done and prod for faster action and/or better measures. Finally, some legislation is enacted (at least it sounds as though the legislation has been passed.)

No vigilantes, no fatwas, no disappearances, no local takeovers. Just "fierce" debate by an elected body with oversight by the people who elected them. In the end a reasonable structure was agreed upon for open and transparent review and monitoring of the activities of those entrusted to provide a public service.

All that happened because everyone has the freedom to speak up publicly about what concerns them. Freedom of speech, the core of openness and transparency, naturally leads to democracy.

There is another more interesting possible insight to this story and several possible threads of discussion from that but I'd like to look at it some before opening my big fat mouth so I don't find I did it just to put my foot in it.

2 Creaks:

Blogger Chap creaked ...

Thanks for the link, and good point.

5/01/2005 1:44 AM  
Blogger Dusty creaked ...

No prob on the link, Chap. Thanks for visiting and the comment.

5/04/2005 12:03 PM  

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