Member of the Third Parliament under the Fourth Republic ended their tenure at midnight yesterday.They have cause to be happy for faithfully discharging their obligations and living to see their roles successfully passed on to a new Parliament, unlike in the past.
Our political history has shown that in almost all the coups d'etat that took place, Members of Parliament (MPs) suffered considerably, since they were usually kept in prison custody for varying periods.
It is gratifying that at least seven of the pioneer MPs under the Fourth Republic will be sworn in, alongside 223 others,to serve this country for the next four years. Despite some inhibitions,the Third Parliament was more balanced and vigorous than those it succeeded.
It is still a matter of regret that the necessary complements that would enable our representatives in Parliament to discharge their duties as parliamentarians are still not in place.We have an obligation to meet the needs of the House, since a parliamentarian is not just a person elected to represent a constituency in the House but, more important,a person well versed in the work of Parliament.
As the MPs exchanged pleasantries and bid one another farewell, the occasion underlined the fact that we are transient and that whatever power we hold is ephemeral. There are some of the former MPs who may never return to the House. Whether they will continue to win the trust and confidence of the people depends on how they conducted their affairs when they were in Parliament.
It pays to be nice to the electorate, since their mandate is crucial.Whatever it is, both the Majority and Minority leaders were sincere in their assessment of the output of the Parliament that wound up only yesterday.We have to realise and accept that the interest of the country is supreme and that we must only talk of the past to help us chart a new future.
If we are to be stuck in the past as if that is the only way to go,we will end up not only in stagnation but also retrogression.Similarly,if we forget the past totally and act as if it never existed, our progress will be slow. We need to weigh issues and choose the path which can best help us to move on.
On a personal note, it was encouraging listening to the Minority Leader espousing the good work of the media. The media must always take into account the national interest and exercise the guarantees of freedom responsibly to remain relevant to national development.