The people make the constitution work
A constitution is dead at its heart unless it is activated by the people. This nation benefitted from significant constitutional reform in the post 1997 elections with millions of dollars spent and the citizens involved in the process through widest consultations.
Yet we continue to hear calls for constitutional change by the very lawmakers and public officials who played a role in modifying the Constitution, have failed to give it a chance to work, or use the judicial arm of government to test it in our “collective quest to create the perfect nation,” as per the Preamble in this very Constitution. Instead we are witnessing constitutional violations by elected officials or delivery of substandard service under the guise that the Constitution hinders better performance.
Regardless of what one may think, the Constitution is paramount and it must be honoured and respected by every citizen, bar none. This country needs to see those placed in position of privilege use this instrument in defence and protection of the citizens.
In its present form the Constitution gives the citizens the protection of their fundamental rights and freedoms, makes clear the demarcation of the separation of power, mandates guidelines for accountability by public officials, and outlines how the nation’s resources should be managed, which offers a good starting point to get to work. And persons must be held accountable to these standards!
The Court is once again asked by the PPP to adjudicate on a legislative decision – the 2012 Budget cuts- and this augurs well for the nation. As per our Constitution it is the judiciary responsibility to pronounce on the interpretation of the law and it must be allowed to work.
This parliament strengthens the independence and the check and balance of each branch of government- executive, legislature and judiciary- and more so enhances their diverse views. In so doing, when refined, this will provide a better product to move the process of governance further.
Governance is about politics and politics is about people and people’s development. Unfortunately as the PPP activates its propaganda that the framers of the Constitution never intended for the parliament to have such oversight over the executive, it ignores critical components of the framers’ intent.
The framers did not make the president the supreme authority of the land as the PPP tells this nation; they made the president the “supreme executive authority” (Article 89). Two, the framers made parliament the nation’s supreme organ (Article 50), placing the power back into the hands of the people, to chart a course for their collective development.
As such ours become the responsibility and duty to make it work and we must at all times seek to do so!
The Leader of the Opposition, David Granger, is urged to rethink his calls for the president to act on various issues, since the responsibility also lies with him to address the areas he seeks the president’s involvement, and which can be achieved via the parliament.
The opposition should also examine the establishment of parliamentary commissions to investigate public officials’ conduct and the management of state entities. The much awaited inquiry into the 2002-2006 mayhem, plundering of state resources, scams, scandals, and denial of citizens’ constitutional rights are areas deserving of attention and strident action.
Our collective wellbeing is vested and protected in the Constitution which remains our single most important instrument to hold all accountable in furtherance of equitable development and peaceful co-existence. Achieving this requires an ever vigilant civil society and activist parliament.
Together this nation can and must succeed!