Last week’s foundation course, exposed me to a lot of issues regarding my profession as an election officer, it gave me food for thought. As a scholar and student of public policy and administration, what kind of responsibilities will this course place in my care, based on the information I would have gathered and assimilated, that I would have to pass on to those in my work place who would be the first people to notice something different in me as I go through this course.
My conviction with regards, to issues of election policies, justification and immediate implementation of administrative processes, ensuring, the ethics of free, fair and credible elections are implemented and the bottle necks of administrative bureaucracy reduced, if not totally removed, is the question I ask myself “but you are one person” how do you effectively make a distinct difference in your environment. I am hoping that by the end of this program and with the help of all I will come in contact with at Walden University, I would have found answer to questions as they unfold.
John Waliggo says by definition, ethics is a Greek word “ethos” meaning character while Morality derives from the Latin word Mos , plural Mores which mean customs or people’s values and traditions, people’ heritage or ways of life and conduct in a given community. Moral values vary from community to community and from time to time. Among people who share a common heritage or have similar cultures or religious beliefs, some of these values cut across sections of the various communities. Amanda Baker in “Fundamental concepts” says that morals form ethical principles, and they are defined by the individual.
She says that ethics are similar to law but are not laws; it has to do with making your own choice and doing that which is right, like an election officer, morals have a major role to play in this work environment. Election officers are saddled with the choice of right and wrong during elections, here their morals come into play as they are in the field and not monitored by any one. In a work environment based on her analysis, I would say that ethics, forms the ground playing rules for the staff, the morals of the staff in this case is based on personal conviction, be it right or wrong.
The term “Morality” can be used descriptively to refer to some code of conduct put forward by a society or normatively to refer to a code that, given specific conditions would be put forward by all rational persons. This means that there is a world of difference between ethics and morality. Moral formation in Africa is given to children right From the tender age in order to acquire the habits, attitudes, beliefs, skills and motives that enable a human being fit into the community.
Each and every aspect of life contributes to the moral formation of an individual. An individual lived in and was part of the community and it was everyone’s duty to uphold the community’s values. Morality was and still is part and parcel of the community. The study of ethics, in my opinion, is a search by human beings on how the quality of our lives can be improved. The basis for ethics should be morals and not the other way round. Aristotle aligns with Plato and Socrates in saying that virtues are the core to a well-lived life.
Aristotle says that ethical virtues like courage, justice are complex in nature and he rejects Plato’s idea that training in metaphysics is the basis for understanding the goodness of man. In his opinion what man needs to be able to live a fulfilled life is an appreciation of the way virtue honor, pleasure and wealth fit together. He says that practical wisdom cannot be acquired only by learning general rules that there is a need for practice and the need for the use of deliberate social skills for our daily use.
Ethics are the rules of conduct that we recognize with regards to certain types of actions, this is how things are done according to the rules as laid down by the people. The ethics of the election environment calls for free, fair and credible elections. The question is, do the stakeholders have the right morals to up hold the ethics of elections as agreed by all according to the laws of the land. While morals are habits with respect to right or wrong conduct. Ethics have to do with what the society say are the rules of the game, while morals is looked upon from a personal level.
Morals have to do with the beliefs and habits with respect to what is right or wrong of a person, but ethics carves its definition from what others say it is. The practicability of merging the theories we come across with everyday life is another challenge, as each of our environment is different, the sensibility of the people, their beliefs and their aspirations differ, how do we effectively merge, what we read, which invariably is who we are, with what we meet in the field on a daily basis, and uphold the law is the crux of the matter.
It is possible to improve the process of elections using these theories which are practicable, effective and implementable with the right will power and values. Morals and Ethics are two parallel lines that flow along the same path and eventually do meet. REFERENCE Gert, Bernard. (2012). “The Definition of Morality”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed. ) retrieved from http://plato. stanford. edu/entries/morality-definition/ Kraut, Richard. (2010).
“Aristotle’s Ethics”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed. ), retrieved from http://plato. stanford. edu/archives/win2012/entries/aristotle-ethics/ Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2008). Ethics and Social Justice: Fundamental Concepts. Baltimore: Author. Featuring Amanda Baker John Mary Waliggo (2005) Law and Public morality in Africa: Legal Philosophical and Cultural issues http://www. justice. gov. za/alraesa/conferences/2005uganda/ent_s3_waliggo. pdf.