THE first rule of sound governance is that the ruler should communicate with his people. The ruler should not confine himself in an ivory tower and be satisfied with what his advisors present to him about the conditions of his people.
In such conditions, the advisors usually portray things as though everything is perfect because they believe that the ruler does not want to hear negative matters so that his mood will not be spoiled, and that he prefers spending time in pursuing affairs that are far from what his people are facing in terms of the challenges and problems, which ultimately leads to the disintegration of his power, or creates chaos or even uprising.
Also, there is no doubt that the collapse of states lies in responsibilities being assumed by those who are neither fit nor concerned about handling them and catering to the interests of the people. They are not concerned about what the society faces in terms of the daily challenges, but they rather seek to exploit such challenges to achieve the highest possible number of personal benefits for them, regardless of the internal crises that this method may lead to.
This is clear from the Arab kingdoms in Spain. Their leaders became detached from reality, and all that they did was entertain themselves. This led to the rise of a revolution against them, which made it easier for the Franks to take control of their kingdom and ravish their people.
Contrary to such self destructive rule, there are rulers who are keen to listen to the voices of their people, and follow up on the challenges and problems they have in a bid to facilitate ways to solutions. Such leaderships continue to survive and evolve in governance to this day.
To affirm the negative role played by those who do not want the goodness of government and the power of the state, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – the Vice-President of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai – wrote in his book titled My Story, “I hate rumor mongers. They ruin your heart. They destroy institutions. They focus only on the negative. They never tell you about the positive … and the good side of people.”
For this reason, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, and other leaders of the Emirates go out to people to listen to their problems and follow everything being published in the press and social media. They do not confine themselves in ivory towers because, in their conviction, the rule is based on the wisdom that leaders obtain from their people, due to which their decisions are clear and unambiguous.
The clarity of such decisions spares the state from a lot of negative effects, and prevents misinterpretations made by those who get affected by them.
In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for example, we see royal decrees that do not accept misinterpretations, and no one would dare to alter or circumvent such decrees.
This also applies to the most democratic countries in the world, where the top concern of the ruler is to stay close to the people. He therefore chooses competent advisors who present the facts to him without sugarcoating.
Such advisors know that their interest is the national interest and not the other way around. Any defect in the decision means undermining the state internally, or even causing a popular uprising. In order to avoid this, they work with sincerity because it is the basis of loyalty to the homeland. That is why their countries develop and their democracies continue in strength.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times