TRANSPARENCY IS KEY TO ACCOUNTABILITY
With Odongo Odoyo
Just recently the government came out to aid almost 300 students who were stranded in Ethiopia after going there on sponsorship to study in different disciplines. Their case initially had a lot of bottle-neck between the country’s mission in Addis Ababa but wisdom was applied and their issue sorted out. This is an issue which should not have come out in the public domain if it could have been attended to amicably from day one. It is not the best idea to have matters of this kind handled publicly more so when in a foreign land. While the Ethiopia incident is just but few weeks back, another similar one is shimmering in Morocco where over 340 students are faced with starvation after the money sent to them which was above or almost the same with the amount sent to Ethiopia which was over 30,000 USD. The Morocco case is somehow funny because the money was received in the bank there but due to some logistics and bureaucracies, it is said Morocco refused to release the money and demanded it be repatriated back to Juba. These are foreign matters which should be handled diplomatically to the fullest and satisfaction of the parties involved. It should not be anything that can cause or create disagreement. What should however, be considered seriously is the plight of the students who are victims of circumstances. They are caught in this situation more so because of the coronavirus pandemic with its total lockdown. Rabat Government confirmed having communicated with Juba but interestingly Foreign Affairs here at home issued a write up which says they had not received the cash despite having been sent back almost three plus weeks back. What is more interesting is that had it not been the communiqué from the students, the Ministry may not have been able to come out to tell the public and more so parents and relatives who are anxiously waiting to know the fate of their loved. The mix in the Ministry needs some clarification as to what took them too long until two or three days ago to respond to Rabat that they had not received the money sent back to Juba. The best way to handle a situation is to be to open and transparent event if the worst come your way. Something is very telling that someone did not want the public and even part of the government to know that the transaction had gone kaput. The lives of these students depend on the government and only through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, their cases could be heard. Let it be known that by hiding or giving out half-baked information, too much damage is caused to the country. There must be sobriety in all that we are doing so that the integrity and image of the country is protected from in and outside the borders. Yes human is to mistake but there are some glaring and obvious mistakes that can be avoided for the sake of all inclusive. The Morocco case is one of them.