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Opinions of Sunday, 21 February 2016

Columnist: Daily Guide Network

Of ‘transpositional’ blunders

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These are not halcyon days for the National Communications Authority (NCA). Even as the authority was dressing its wounds in the aftermath of an image-denting exposé by the media, it still hosted a press conference to reverse the bad press: the result was an aggravation of the condition of the regulator. We can only sympathise with the management of the authority as we wonder what could have entered their heads to risk a press conference ill-prepared.

If the idea was to inflict an integrity bruise on those behind the exposé, especially the civil society organisation seemingly leading the charge, it failed, having fallen flat on its face.

It is not known how long it would take for the authority to recover enough to hit town confidently to defend its so far deference-deficient policies full of shortcomings.

Not even the most flamboyant and result-achieving PR firms, British or American, can alter the fortunes of the NCA today, its image even outside the country prompting myriad questions and the bottom-line being about integrity bordering on veracity.

We have observed how the exposé of IMANI has come under a sustained fire from the NCA which we are amazed would think that their feeble and unsound premises could help them out of the quagmire.

They have condemned the report upon which the IMANI group’s argument is based, regarding it as fictitious. We would have thought that in organising such a high-notched press conference shortly after the media exposé, the non-fictitious one would be dangled in front of news-hungry media representatives. In the end though, it was a haranguing discourse bereft of the stuff that would compel critics to change their minds.

. In the end, all left the venue more disappointed than even before, making the exercise another time-wasting venture with nothing positive achieved.

When so-called transpositional errors go beyond a certain level, as in the NCA case under review, eyebrows must be raised. We are hard-pressed not to conclude that the authority is covering up inappropriate…, for want of a better expression. In the event, they are fumbling all over the place, each point raised suffering massive integrity challenge.

Indeed, the authority hiding behind the transpositional blunders so it can enjoy some immunity from verbal queries in the court of public opinion is by itself a display of its incompetence. Nobody is expecting perfection from what by all standards is a human institution, but then a certain level of competence is what is expected from a state authority of the status of the NCA.

Much as we sympathise with the management of the authority for suffering such magnitude of pain, we would not spare it the condemnation which state institutions must suffer when they display such magnitude of incompetence.

When institutions whose publics are not restricted to the local scene show such gross incompetence, the fallouts are international in dimension, providing ingredients for discussions in multinational boardrooms.

Couldn’t such entities be more serious with the manner in which they operate, for God’s sake, by sticking to their core mandate and avoiding others which eventually expose them beyond redemption?

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