04.08.2006 Africa

African Executive, Judiciary And Legislature Must Work In Harmony

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The Presidency, Parliaments and the Courts in Africa should work in harmony to advance the cause of democratic governance on the continent.

The three organs of state must see each other as partners who are destined to shape the destiny of their people, Mr Abdul Ningi, a Nigerian legislature said in the on-going Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) meeting in Accra.

He said such partnership should not lead to the compromises on the duties and roles of each organ as specified in the constitutions that created them.

Mr Abdul Ningi, who is the Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, National Assembly of Nigeria, was speaking on a topic: "Parliamentary Supremacy and Judicial Independence," said such an interplay would lead to good governance and prosperity if well nurtured but a partnership of inequality would spell chaos for the citizenry.

According to the Nigerian Legislator, in most Africa countries, parties' influence tends to cloud the real essence of government machinery. He said certain legislators of the ruling Party are whipped to toe the line of the executive at the detriment of the national interest and the legislature as a whole.

Mr Ningi called on African legislatures to re-assert themselves as the representatives of the people and prosecute their constitutional mandate as expected. He asked that the legislature be given their own budgetary lines and not wait for the Presidency for allocations.

According to the Nigerian Legislator, a form of financial autonomy would embolden the legislator to perform task like the oversight of the executive, scrutiny and approval of budget and financial policies and even the impeachment of the President when he fall foul of the law.

On how to achieve the independence of the African Judiciary, he prescribed conditions such as the appointment of Judges on merit and not on political expediency and the respect of court rulings by all well meaning members of society. "The judiciary must be strong and independent to ensure that no organ in the realm drifts into absolutism."

He said:" In the governance of each country, the fundamental thing required is what I call balancing the scale, which simply put, is that no arm or organ of government shall exceed the limits set by law in exercising its constitutional role."

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