The importance of public opinion


Al-Madina newspaper

MANY newspapers, media tools and poll centers are keen to monitor the work of the officials in various sectors over a period of time. They decide a certain time limit in months or days, the most famous of these being the first 100 days in office.

The media diligently review the work of the officials with a view to presenting them to the public opinion. This is a move that puts a lot of pressure on officials. It shows them that the media closely follow up on their work and the achievements they have made since assuming office.

The media makes it clear to the officials that this follow-up is not only done by the supreme authority which has appointed them but also by public opinion, which is closely monitoring their activities.

Most officials are deeply concerned about what the public opinion thinks of them. It is the compass that will show them where they are heading.

When officials take office, some of them might focus on petty things they normally call "arranging the home ".

They start with restructuring their ministries or departments, changing the names of divisions, reconstituting the committees and appointing a new team, which is different from the previous one out of the belief that the former team is not known or loyal to them.

The officials usually tend not to trust the work team they found in their ministries or departments on the ground that it is a team that is not qualified enough to execute their reform plans and strategies. After all, it is the team of the previous minister or official.

The officials lose much time in classifying and sorting out their work teams excluding the opponents and embracing those they consider loyal to them.

They also lose time on other trivial matters such as changing office furniture and redecorating the offices of their assistants.

Some of them also involve themselves in changing their departments for information and public relations. They lose much time on matters that are not of concern to the people who line up outside holding papers to process at these ministries or departments.

These trivial things are like moving sand that swallow any official who puts his or her feet in it. It will be difficult for them to get out of the moving sand once they enter it.

The officials will not be able to get out of the moving sand especially if they have some people around them who glorify their petty things making them believe that they are important for their work.

Some officials will be keen to respond to any invitation extended to them to celebrate their new positions. They will receive gifts presented to them on this occasion and will not hesitate to lose precious time in answering the congratulatory messages.

Some of them are keen that their first days in office are linked to change under the pretext of development. They do consider at all the possibility of continuing the work under the present conditions, which they have inherited from their predecessor.

When they assume office, the new officials will usually be keen to impress the public opinion by showing that they are delivering. Some of them will resort to the media to beautify their images in the eyes of the public opinion regardless of the achievements they might or might not have made.

The close follow-up of the trends of the public opinion should be part of our culture. We should inculcate in our society the culture of follow-up, assessment, transparency and accountability. We should spread these values so as to have a clear picture of what the officials have achieved during their time in office. This will no doubt improve the performance in all the ministries and government departments.