Duty, Responsibility, Accountability

The Spanish prime minister cut his holiday short due to slowed economic growth. The Belgian Prime Minister cut his holiday short his holiday due to an attack where two policemen were injured. The German interior minister cut his holiday short because of a train accident in which a child died. These are just some of the headlines you can read in foreign newspapers and on foreign portals. On our portals and in some newspapers you can read that Katica is on a Greek beach, Vilma is on vacation, and you can find no information on Jovevski, because it makes no difference whether he is on vacation or not. Legislative and executive politicians, like those in the judiciary, are rolling somewhere on sandy beaches and napping like cats on the waves of some of the near or far seas, while the state and citizens are continuously shaken by the “Reket” affair and the countless speculations about it.

As I read the news in my head, a few words come to my mind – duty, responsibility, accountability – words that are used only as a pre-election slogan or promise, and in essence mean nothing to most people. It is these three little words and their application and reverence that make the difference between democratic mature societies and those that only appear to be so. These words are the border between mature and civilized societies and those that are corrupt, enslaved and still feudal-like. These words are the border between Europe and the violent Balkans, they are the way of life and rule of the state, reflection and image of the mental health of a society and the democratic capacity of the state.

In English, there are two words describing this: accountability and responsibility. Often these two words are considered synonyms which are not at all true. Accountability is a word derived from the word accounting and translates as “to give an account”, a term unfamiliar to our state fathers and mothers ie stepfathers and stepmothers. This term marks the obligation to to publicly disclose and explain the reasons and circumstances for a decision, behavior or intent. The account shall be taken of the results of the performance and operation of the entrusted public office and shall reflect and express the subjective and personal obligation of the holder of public office to disclose and explain his/hers work, performance and results achieved. The word responsibility would translate to a reference to responsibility and refers to a mandate, which in political terms means entrusting certain powers to a group (political party) or individual and the political power to perform the tasks entrusted to them, and after a specified period of time to give an account of what was done before the entity that gave them that authority, that is the people. The people, with their votes in the elections, convey the political power and powers to perform certain things in their interest, a fact that politicians only remember before the elections.

The Macedonian language is a rich language and has proper words for all of this, so it is not necessary for a person to speak English to understand the essence of all this. The Macedonian language more precisely defines this area through three words – duty, responsibility and accountability. It is a right but also an obligation to undertake or do something that should or must be done, usually proposed by law or other legal act. Responsibility is the acceptance of the consequence of fulfilling or failing to fulfill the duty. Finally, accountability is the public display or demonstration of fulfilling or failing to fulfill performance or non-performance along with results. Just as there is an obligation to every right, to every duty there is a responsibility, and above all accountability. Unfortunately, for most public office holders, or ”high-ranking people” as one might call them, it is only a right, but not an obligation. In addition, their duty becomes a permanent, inalienable and hereditary right that not only carries no obligation but carries no responsibility, much less accountability. In developed democracies, duty always goes with responsibility and accountability, and for every single one, even the smallest mistake in the performance of duty, there is responsibility for it. It is inconceivable for the official not to report on the work done, to publicly and transparently present the results of his work and to bear the consequence.

In normal, democratically developed societies, the resignation of officials for the smallest mistakes in the department they manage or for moral reasons, are a normal procedure. In Norway, Minister of Fisheries Sandberg resigned over breach of safety protocols because he was carrying his cellphone on vacation in Iran. Our Special Prosecutor formatted and donated her cellphone somewhere and went on vacation. In Japan, transport ministers resigned just because the train was 5 minutes late. In our country, there was no rail traffic for days, air transport is suspiciously safe, and landslides on the new highway are a daily occurrence. The minister is on vacation. Japanese Minister for Reconstruction Imamura has resigned over an inappropriate statement, and here we have secretaries, ministers and advisers giving lectures to journalists on what questions are appropriate to ask and which are not. Presidents, prime ministers, ministers, judges, prosecutors were prosecuted for playing with state money or illegally using private funds while in our country racketeering, bribery, corruption are not resulting in sanctions but in privileges.

Only here there are double standards and rules, ordinary people and untouchables, only here the same evidence applies to some, but not to others. Only we have created a prosecution office that will prosecute crimes stemming from audio recordings, but the audio recordings where that same prosecutor is heard, are not proof. Not even 750,000 euros found in a bottle at a border crossing when it was illegally brought, nor 750,000 euros paid to a woman on who knows what grounds and that were immediately seized from her for some foundation, were no evidence enough that there is something fishy and dubious happening to our sunken judiciary.

Only in our country, the people are the ones being accountable before the state, and we lay accounts scanned and sent over the internet, and only in our government never lays anything, except sometimes, when we remember, we lay flowers on the monuments of the heroes they have been embarrassing for a long time.

Zvonko Davidovikj