Stakeholder responsiveness to draft electoral laws may not be the government’s real intention

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Mr. Editor,

On October 29, 2001, it was reported that the President had ordered that draft amendments to the electoral laws be published for comments from stakeholders. It is commendable.

Responsiveness is one of the three pillars of democracy, the other two being representation and responsible conduct of public affairs.

The publication of the draft provides an opportunity for stakeholders to comment and make suggestions. However, respecting responsiveness requires that responses be considered. If this is not done, responsiveness would not be achieved. I am writing this letter because I am concerned that responsiveness is not wanted or achieved for the following reasons:

1. GECOM is the agency that has the mandate for the conduct of the elections and will be the subject of a large part of the envisaged amendments, but the process has reached the stage of a draft amendment and GECOM has not been in any way involved.

2. The President’s directive was issued on October 29. The draft was published on November 6, but on November 10, when I checked for the last time with the GECOM secretariat, he still had not received a copy of the draft which had, four days before, been published. for public review. So I have no choice but to make the following observations.

1. The project emanates from the Chamber of the General Prosecutor and reflects the thinking of the Government and of the Party which occupies the seat of the Government.

2. In the consultation process, on the project, GECOM is not treated or considered as a major stakeholder, it is rather treated as a tool of the “powers that be” rather than as an agency constitutionally responsible for the conduct of elections.

3. This goes against the constitutional responsibility of GECOM and the principle of Governance: Inclusiveness / Participation, although our Constitution, in its article 13, enshrines this principle, and that the State finances a whole ministerial position in charge of the governance.

This raises questions: are we in another farce, even as we extol democracy and good governance? The publicly expressed mantra “The opposition has its say and the government gets what it wants”, government understanding and practice of democracy and good governance?

Truly,

Vincent Alexander


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