Monday, 11 November 2013

Jonathan urges African lawmakers to stop threats to democracy

President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday challenged African parliamentarians to enact laws that could discourage anti-democratic moves that might drag the continent back to its dark age of military dictatorship.

Jonathan stated this in Abuja at the First African Legislative Summit organised by the National Assembly, in partnership with the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa.

The summit was aimed at addressing issues and challenges facing parliaments in African emerging democracies in the performance of their constitutional functions of lawmaking, oversight and representation.

He lamented that despite the progress that the African continent had achieved so far, there were still threats to democracy in some countries and stressed the need to do everything possible to resolve the challenges to discourage a revert to military rule in the affected countries.

He specifically challenged the parliamentarians to legislate against issues and actions that could lead to the collapse of the current democartic arrangements in any African country.

He said, “Separation of power is not separation of government, government is always one. If our parliaments work to make laws that promote good governance and design an enduring electoral system, it will always ensure emergence of a elected officials who will be the true representative of the people.

“Within few days in office, I made efforts to make sure that our legislature remained independent and vibrant so that they can carry out their responsibilities effectively. The relationship between the National Assembly and the executive, had no doubt, stabilise the polity.”

Jonathan noted that few years ago, African democratic climate was taken over by the military dictatorship and that the development created a wide gap between the roles of the executive and the legislature, which is expected to act as a check and make laws.
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