Analysis

Accountability A Powerful Tool Of Our Young Democracy

If the Budget works and achieves its target by empowering people and strengthening the economy then it will score good marks. If it fails to achieve its intended purpose then it will lose marks. The people will be the judge.
03 Aug 2020 15:16
Accountability A Powerful Tool Of Our Young Democracy
Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during the Parliament sitting last week. Photo: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji

Sometimes people forget or don’t fully comprehend the important role that accountability plays.

It’s an essential and powerful pillar of our young democracy.

It weaves its influence from a home to every facet of national life.

When it is understood it will positively impact our choices, decisions and actions.

Last week’s Budget debate in Parliament demonstrated contempt over the importance of accountability with the abuse of parliamentary privilege by some MPs just to look and sound good.

Some put the cart before the horse by saying that the Economy Minister must step down and people should vote out the FijiFirst Government in the 2022 General Election.

It’s part of their wish list. But the impact of this 2020-2021 National Budget will be known before 2022, the first outcomes during the next 12 months.

The FijiFirst Government will be held accountable for this Budget. It is answerable to the people. it has been given the mandate by them through the ballot box to manage the economy. It has produced what it believes as the best formula to help the nation face the economic challenges of COVID-19 now and the future.

If the Budget works and achieves its target by empowering people and strengthening the economy then it will score good marks. If it fails to achieve its intended purpose then it will lose marks. The people will be the judge.

So it may be premature to pre-judge Government and its Budget. The final outcome will vindicate either Government or the Opposition.

Under our democratic institution, an accountable Government is responsible for all the decisions it makes on behalf of the people.

It also means that public officials elected and un-elected have an obligation to explain their decisions and actions to the public.

So in 12 months we will hear from Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and he will give an accounting of how the Budget performed and presents a new Budget in Parliament.

We go through this annual cycle until we come to 2022 when the people will decide whether they want the FijiFirst Government to continue or not in a free and fair election.

Accountability is a common thread that runs through our democratic processes and we should value it. It features in the four key elements of a democracy – choosing of a government by the people in a free and fair election, active participation of the people in politics and civic life, protection of people’ human rights and the rule of law where the law applies equally to all people.

Political parties in Opposition need to realise that not only Government is under public scrutiny, but also them too.

Accountability applies to all irrespective of which side of the political divide people belong too.

It is an essential component of good governance in both public and the private sectors.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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