At some point leaders, current and aspiring, are going to have to make some hard but important choices. The state of public services is related to usage by leaders. If they don’t use them, they have no incentive to improve public services.
The President and Ministers routinely shun public services that they are supposed to deliver. They claim to be the best at delivering services that they themselves won’t use. Let us look at a few of the contradictions:
The Minister of Education will send their kids to private school, shunning the public schools under his charge. A minister scandalously mocks local universities, praising foreign universities and his boss, who is the local university’s Chancellor, takes no notice.
The President and his Ministers fly to South Africa, India or China for medical treatment, shunning local public health institutions. Their families also use foreign facilities. They fire doctors and nurses when they complain of slave wages and dismal working conditions.
The President and his Minister of Information and Publicity subscribe to DStv with its multiple channels but insist on one television broadcaster for the entire nation, when there could easily be more. 40 years after independence, the country has one less than an average station.
The roads to the President’s homes – both rural and urban – are well paved. Other places are lucky when they get a presidential visit because their roads get fixed in preparation for his trip. That’s of course if he is not flying by helicopter.
The national airline has an ancient aircraft which is sometimes impounded for unpaid debts. But that’s no issue for the President. He flies a hired private jet whenever he wants to travel. There’s no personal incentive to improve the national airline.
Why are we surprised then, that leaders don’t care much about public services? This is a non-partisan issue which applies to all of us regardless of political affiliation. If elites don’t trust the public services they run how will they have incentives to make them better?
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