By Ammar BOUHOUCHE*, Professor at the University of Algiers (3)
Accountability is a nice word and everybody pays a lip service to this notion of ethical method work in any public institution. Its lovely meaning comes from the fact that it conveys the image of transparency, democracy and accountability to citizens and trustworthiness.
Furthermore, accountability is appreciated by public authorities and elected officials who claim that office holders will be neutral and public services will be depoliticized . But in fact ,reliance on the myth of separated politics from running public administration, is merely a slogan, used to achieve political results in any competition for any appointment in any public institution.
In reality, accountability is easy to define. It means that public services and their workers are answerable to their citizens directly and indirectly for the use of their powers, authority and resources. Very often, the term of accountability is used interchangeably with the meaning of “Good Governance”, transparency, equity, democracy, efficiency, responsiveness and integrity. ()
It is a fact that, such slogans are available accurately in dictionaries and on papers only. In theory, there are in every country institutions, legitimate authorities and universal suffrage. But, the functions of such institutions and executed policies differ from one country to another. Annual reports of TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL, show that the range of scales of corruption and misuse of power in public institutions vary from one nation to another. Furthermore, the civil wars are raging, at the moment, in Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, South of Sudan and Libya because of the lack of consensus on policies, absence of liberty and struggle for surviving and overcoming poverty and misery.
For such reasons, the author of this paper, attempts to examine the major issues which are considered to be a handicap for pursuing and executing policies, sharing authority and living together in one nation, in a peaceful manner, regardless of ethnicity, discrimination and ideology.
The questions, needed to be raised here as problematic for this study focus on the following matters:
- What is meant by accountability in the past and the present or the traditional techniques and new ones?
- What are the mechanisms of control?
- What the citizens can do about the problems of power rotation and sharing political authority?
- How to enhance the real accountability in the era of change and globalization?
In short, accountability in our era of change has no meaning if citizens do not accept change and adaptability to the new era of globalization and transparency. It is their responsibility to realize that the revolt in streets to change despots does not settle their economic problem. What is needed mostly is to dialogue and create consensus on policies and establish effective mechanisms for the execution of state laws.
 ) Richard Mulgan, “Accountability: an answer to expanding concept?”, Public administration, Vol 78, #3,
2000, pp 555-573.