The word honorable has something to do with people and their character or actions that are honest, fair, or worthy of respect. The person honorable believes in truth, fairness, and doing the right thing amid a difficult situation. Such individual tries to live up to some higher principles above the average person. There are various examples of honorable behavior required by different people within any society. They are not the same, but they are all worthy and revered. In sports, the losing party shaking hands with and congratulating the winner is considered honorable. For instance, it is ethical to leave a note on a parked car when you mistakenly smash someone’s car to contact you. Telling the truth even when it hurt is an honorable thing to do. The term or title honorable is also used for people in authority deserving honor like judges or high-ranking politicians in some circles. The title honorable and its implications are what I would like to talk about within the Ghanaian and, for that matter, African political circles.
As far as I know, and I can remember, every elected official or senior public or civil servant is called honorable within the Ghanaian political cycles. From the president through the members of the bench or bar (judiciary) to the parliamentarians (legislature), everyone has the title honorable. That is, everyone within the executive, court, or the legislature can assume the term. It also means that irrespective of the person’s behavior or character, past or present, he/she is honorable. Whatever the person did to obtain the position is unimportant, and whatever the person does or did on the job does not matter either. The title honorable within the Ghanaian political circles command a lot of respect and power. Those who are accorded the title wield great privileges and have access to opportunities that average citizens never dream of. In short, the title honorable has been misused and abused to say the least. The politicians on both sides of the political isle have abused the title so that it means nothing anymore. Their public lifestyles and utterance show nothing honorable to the average Ghanaian. This is what the future generation is witnessing on the daily basis. Political insults and name calling in the name of a party is the norm. Both NPP and NDC are guilty.
Leadership in any sphere generally comes with a lot of responsibilities mandated by the position or the title. The leader’s decision or action has grave consequences due to their decision’s impact in both the short and long-term. The leader’s responsibility is shared with the group or team, and it is task-oriented. Responsibility comes with the position, job, title, or processes. The leader’s responsibility also evolves with the work, position, or title. With the leader’s responsibility also comes accountability. Accountability comes after the fact. It means what happens after the responsibility has taken place either correctly or poorly executed. It is the process of taking ownership of the results. It can never be delegated, assigned, or shared like responsibility. It is the ability to take charge or credit for what happens after the responsibility is over. Taking responsibility for everything that occurs as a result of the actions or inaction is accountability. Accountability has to be demanded by a leader or a higher authority or a responsive individual. Anything short of this makes leadership responsibility and accountability a joke. When the leader does not deliver on the responsibility, and he/she can determine the accountability, then honorable leaders tend to do dishonorable stuff to the detriment of the followers or the team. Leadership accountability is, therefore, crucial to the workplace (organization/country) success. Lack of leadership accountability leads to waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in high places. The implications of a lack of accountability are huge for organizations or institutions. It leads to negative engagement from team members and inevitably affects performance outcomes in an organization.
The accountability source needs to be separate, independent, and beyond the responsibility; otherwise, the responsibility is not undertaken, nor the accountability demanded—Ghana’s democratic systems are framed, so the source of accountability and responsibility are the same. The framers of Ghana’s constitution had a mindset where the origins of responsibility and accountability emanate from the same source. Therefore, it has been a challenge for the separation of powers and independence between the three government branches to work efficiently. The result is a lack of accountability within and between the branches allowing the so-called honorable leaders to do dishonorable stuff with impunity because there is, or there has been no accountability.
A military regime promulgated Ghana’s constitution upon pressure from the public and the opposition parties (the major one being the NPP). The military government did not want to relinquish power when the county returns to civilian and constitutional democratic rule. The regime wanted to contest the general elections and knew it would win the elections, so all the articles and the clauses in the constitution were frames to mimic the military regime’s interests and prerogatives. All the government institutions get their power and authority from the same source- the President. All institutions under the regime derive their authority from the chairman of the PNDC. The opposition and the public did make a lot of noise about the constitution’s one-sidedness, but the regime’s policy at the time, was my way or the high way. The opposition is not entirely innocent in this unfortunate situation. The opposition has won elections more than twice with the majority in parliament, but they chose not to correct this one-sided constitution problem because they benefited from it.
A constitution is a document that controls the laws of the land and this is a fact. Whenever there is a problem with the constitution, it affects every law of the land. The most serious aspect of this unfortunate situation is all the lawyers and the judges in the nation trained from 1992 until today studies this wrong and faulty document. I can only say that the leaders from both political parties do not care about the country. There is nothing like patriotism within public service or political parties. It is no wonder that we have leaders with honorable titles doing dishonorable stuff with impunity. These leaders know the problem, but none wants to talk about it. It is like a mother who takes her sick child to the hospital for treatment. Upon leaving the hospital, the physician called to inform her that he has prescribed the wrong medicine for the sick child, so DO NOT give the medicine to the child. After receiving the doctor’s message, the mother went ahead and gave the child the wrong medication anyway. Why? It is because the mother does not care, or she is stupid. Can we also safely say that our public and political leaders simply don’t care about the citizens or the country. Something for us all to think about.