Art of governance

“Laugh and the world laughs with you” may not be a suitable adage while waiting in the lobby of the doctors’ clinic. The culprit was a book published in 1986 by Jonathan Lynn and Antony Jay. My chuckles and smothered giggles invited unforgiving, piercing glances from the invalids there. This book was also a rib tickling comedy teasing the highest offices of governance, broadcast by the BBC. Let me share these magnificent observations that rose up from the book to explain the behaviour of scammers.

First, the eligibility criteria to assume the office of governance. It’s a job that needs no specific qualifications, has no compulsory hours of work and requires no performance standards. It provides power, perks and pelf. It is quite acceptable to want to be seen as a thinker, person of power, people’s friend or just a good person. The position can be coveted by genuine intellectuals, but one should never dare own up to it. The only trait that is frowned upon is the luxurious need of the aspirant for a clear conscience.

Veterans offer sound advice to the novice. “To be admitted, learn to speak.” For continued employment, learn to shut up. Never speak when angry: you will make the best speech you will ever regret. Since notoriety is preferable to obscurity, master strategies and techniques that may be useful in getting around the law. Irregular transactions are better than malpractices, because irregularity means there’s been a crime, but cannot be proven; malpractice means there’s been a crime and can be proven. Next, learn to tackle instructions and requests from bossy colleagues. Pass them on to a subordinate as a recommendation or a suggestion, strictly in person, never over telephones.

Proximity with peers does not equal affinity, so, maintain a facade of harmony and vent your warlike instincts on them in subtle ways, time to time. The possibility of labouring under the misapprehension that “what is right for you personally is by definition what is right for your country,” becomes unavoidable. Hence, when you err ensure that you are governed by the principle of collective irresponsibility.

Remember, although there are lots of things people want you to do, lots of things you should do, and any number of things you can do, there are very few things you have to do, except stash away boodle for your progeny. Finally, never believe anything until it’s been officially denied. Happy governance.

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