State opening of parliament
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Democracy is a means for the people to choose their leaders and to hold their leaders accountable for their policies and their conduct in office. The people decide who will represent them in parliament, and who will head the government at the national and local levels.They do so by choosing between competing parties in regular, free and fair elections; hence government is based on the consent of the governed.
A working democracy is therefore one in which the ability of
the elected representatives to exercise decision-making power is subject to the
rule of law, moderated by a constitution that emphasises the protection of the
rights and freedoms of individuals, and which places constraints on the
leaders, and on the extent to which the will of the majority can be exercised
against the rights of minorities.
Tomorrow is the state opening of the National Assembly and
the president, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya AJJ Jammeh, in
his capacity as head of state, as dictated by the constitution, will proclaim
the official start of the Legislative Year. During the session, the president
will outline the development plans of the government before deputies for
The National Assembly composes of representatives of the people. Therefore it is only a democratic leader responsible to the people, who will appear before such a house to seek the consent of the people on the policies and programmes of the government. Moreover, the principle that engenders separation of powers engenders as well, checks and balance mechanisms. The opening of the National Assembly by the president will permit such mechanisms to operate, thus strengthen the rule of law.
A democratic society is not ordained by God. It is created by people with conscience. There is no doubt that the leadership of President Jammeh has bred such a society in The Gambia. The three arms of our government are operating on the basis of separation of powers with the necessary checks and balance mechanisms. Citizens are given a choice as they retain political sovereignty and are informed of the actions of the government through the legislature. This is what democracy entails.
Author: Daily Observer