Governance and what it means to govern
The word ‘governance’ by accident or on purpose is used in many quarters the world over, including in Sri Lanka. I, as an independent researcher, believe that no organisation can use or own the word governance other than the sovereign state.
The word came into being from the word ‘government’. Subsequently it also brought about the words ‘governor,’ ‘governing,’ ‘governmental’ and ‘governance.’
The word governance is owned by a democratically-elected state. My extensive research findings revealed that some words exclusively belong to the state. The word governance has had a very powerful beginning and history and exudes credo, authority, power, recognition, order, by force, charismatic association, esteem, respect, god’s fear, weight, ownership and belongingness.
It is a supreme word and not a single body can use it, misuse or loosely use it. The ideal situation is that it must obtain gracious permission from a sovereign state. It has a high degree of importance, value and respect. Actually the sovereign state is a ‘God’ (very specifically to me, my country).
The word was first used by the monarchy; the government by a monarch – monarchies – the royal family, then royal families of the Commonwealth countries – the state or the government. The monarch bestowed this powerful word to the Cabinet through a constitution; the Prime Minister and the Governor Generals respectively to be used very carefully, freely, but appropriately with high sense of responsibility and accountability (references – kings in the year 1000, and later 1640s Monarch Governance).
It had a statute, legal and supreme court respect and blessings. And it is a stately word, used by the sovereign state personalities such as kings, queens, prince and princess of various monarchies of countries namely UK, Irish, and the Commonwealth Countries and also Middle Eastern states.
The word governance they used to interpret in different contextual sense such as the government governs, governor governing, governmental issues and governance of Britain, etc. (1960s). And all these were used to rule a country, state or a province of its men, money and materials (resources in today’s contexts).
A country may have a constitutionally empowered government and its governance, ex: UK British Government, the ultimate responsible person is the Monarch – the Royal Family – The Head of State.
Accordingly, and very much later in Sri Lanka we had our first Governor General William Gopallawa appointed. Subsequently, with the constitutional changes the word used by the successive governments including monarchies to nominate provincial governors. Finally, the word became a core word of the state.
The first Governor of the Bank of England was Sir John Houblon appointed on 13 March 1632. In my professional view, central banks around the world cannot use the word governor because his/her title is central bank chief executive officer. If used the state dignifies or unduly elevate his status by the virtues of an inappropriate title, unsuitable, unlawful, or inappropriate designation.
The word governor in my opinion belongs to parliamentarians only as they are elected members by sovereign states. If the central bank chief executive officer is designated as governor, how would one call its Monetary Board? To me it is a joke. However, this had been done by the Bank of England and successive governments used to appoint central bank governors accordingly.
The researcher is confident the word governance is heavily used and misused by the respective governments and the private sectors all over the world. By doing so they should understand that they invariably, directly or indirectly insult their own monarchies. Ex: UK; it is Her Royal Highness, USA and Sri Lanka, the Excellency President.
The word governance for commercial imperatives; some powerful institution coined and used the word “corporate governance”. Only the regulator, the government can implement but all private and public corporates are executors of corporate governance but not governors as such. All use the basic corporate governance policies or a model developed by the state. It is a regulatory governing function.
Corporate governance rules come from the very legal contexts and only the state can govern but not the corporate. The state is the absolute owner of the corporate governance doctrine and the legal framework was done by them according to the country’s constitutional governance. Corporates cannot even change a single word. It is state-owned property, and the regulator is the state.
These are my expertise and extensive research findings on the word ‘governance’ and I would like to engage in professional discussions and meetings to explore in-depth views. Finally, please note this is not an insult to any professional authority.
(The writer is an Independent Researcher and PhD Aspirant/Sri Lanka.)