A US-based Ghanaian scholar, Prof. Stephen Kwaku Asare has argued against using perception-based surveys to rate the performance of government appointees.
“We need more evidence. Perception surveys are not enough,” he said on Joy FM Tuesday.
The accounting professor who is also a lawyer was speaking on the back of a recent survey which has rated the performance of ministers and Members of Parliament.
That survey conducted by the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana was based on public perceptions of the work of government appointees and MPs.
Explaining the research, Senior Lecturer and head of the research team, Dr. Isaac Owusu-Mensah, said the research is aimed at seeking the views of electorates about their Ministers and MPs’ performances. See the full survey here.
But Prof. Asare has discounted this approached, arguing it is inadequate.
Perception gives an idea of the public’s evaluation of the work of their officials. But this is not enough to fully judge their competence or otherwise, he observed.
According to him, what is required is an objective parameter to assess the performance of government officials and their work.
This objective parameter, he argues, must include the key performance indicators the government has given to its appointees.
As a result, Prof. Asare has encouraged researchers and those who seek to evaluate the work of public servants to seek information from the Minister of Monitoring and Evaluation who may furnish them with performance targets of government appointees.
Alternatively, he suggested that the Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr Akoto Osei, periodically publishes assessments his office has made on the performance of government appointees to apprise the public of what has been achieved.
According to Prof. Asare, if the minister fails in this regard, his own competence must be questioned.
On his own assessment of the performance of government appointees, he said he expected more from them given the large numbers but this remains subjective analysis since he has not done any empirical studies on their output.
However, to the extent that the president who appointed them has not seen the need to change many of his ministers, the assumption is that the ministers have performed to his satisfaction.
This is true because according to him the president is the appointing authority and has what it takes to know who is performing or not.
Narrowing the conversation to the performance of the Special Prosecutor, Prof Asare said that he does not expect much from that office given that the underlining factors which militate against the prosecution of corruption in the country have not been removed.
These factors, he argued are underfunding, limited lawyers and expert hands and the slow judicial process.
According to him, if these factors which were frustrating the Attorney-General’s office had been addressed, there would not have been the need to create the office of the special prosecutor in the first place.
After all, what the Special Prosecutor is expected to do could have been done by the Director of Public Prosecutions with supervision from the office of the Attorney-General.
He believes the fact that after one year only one case is being prosecuted by the office of the Special Prosecutor illustrates the difficulties faced by the Office.
This is notwithstanding the fact that every new office requires time to set up and to fully become operational.
He has, however, advised the Special Prosecutor not to focus on prosecuting only members of the opposition as that office was created because the office of the A.G was lethargic when it came to prosecuting members of the government.
“If you have a special prosecutor focusing on only opposition elements I see that as a failure,” he argued.