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Parliamentary autonomy

Mar 6, 2012, 1:04 PM

Parliaments all over the world are the law-making organs of governments in democratic countries.

Parliaments face ongoing challenges in asserting and exercising their  autonomy and independence and in playing a strong and effective role in a country’s political dispensation.

Its functions include enacting bills and ratifying agreements between the country and other countries and bodies.

Part of their oversight functions include to scrutinize public bodies and institutions on their spending of public resources, and the management of their respective offices.

In normal circumstances, they are supposed to work independently, without any direct interference from any quarters, notwithstanding there is need for checks and balances with other arms of government such as the executive and judiciary.

The recently validated draft National Assembly Autonomy Bill  would, no doubt, consolidate efforts being taken to cultivate and nurture the principles of parliamentary democracy and governance.

Hopefully, it should also clearly define the status of the parliament.

We hope that the draft bill when enacted would help the parliament to be more autonomous, and in attaining the quest for standards.

We firmly believe that an independent, effective and efficient legislature is a prerequisite for any functioning parliamentary democracy.

We do hope that the proposed bill would equally give the electorate more powers to hold their representatives accountable, and to be sensitive to their needs.

We hope that the National Assembly Autonomy Bill will reinforce the supremacy of the Constitution, wherein the assembly derives all its powers, and also safeguard our democracy.

We further hope that provision of support services to our National Assembly members will be equally captured in the new bill.