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The APRM and Domestic Accountability in the National Governance System: The Role of Parliaments, CSO and the Media Presented at Training Workshop ‘Enhancing.

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Presentation on theme: "The APRM and Domestic Accountability in the National Governance System: The Role of Parliaments, CSO and the Media Presented at Training Workshop ‘Enhancing."— Presentation transcript:

1 The APRM and Domestic Accountability in the National Governance System: The Role of Parliaments, CSO and the Media Presented at Training Workshop ‘Enhancing the Role and Effective Participation of Parliamentarians in the APRM Process” Addis Ababa, May 12-14, 2010 by Kojo Busia, Ph. D. Chief, APRM Support Section Governance and Public Administration Division United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

2 2 Outline of Presentation I.What are the Challenges to Good Governance and Domestic Accountability in Africa? II.Why the need for Domestic Accountability System in Africa? III.How can the APRM Process Strengthen Domestic Accountability in Africa? a.Role of Parliaments b.Role of the CSOs c.Role of the Media IV.The APRM Value Added to African Governance Systems.

3 3 What is Accountability? Accountability refers to the process of holding to account, overseeing and keeping in check those who are entrusted with public responsibilities in the fulfillment of their tasks and functions. There is vertical accountability between citizens and the state (direct) and horizontal accountability among state institutions in the performing their functions (indirect). Institutions like Parliament perform a diagonal accountability, which combines both indirect and direct accountabilities. Conceptual Definitions:

4 4 What is Domestic Accountability? Domestic accountability concerns the relationship between the governed (citizens) and those who govern (government) and involves a wide range of domestic actors, including executive, parliament, audit institutions, civil society, private sector, political parties and the media. The extent to which these institutions interact and counter- balance each others behavior determines the effectiveness of domestic accountability system.

5 5 What is External Accountability? External accountability refers to a governance context whereby aid dependency structures accountability as something between executive branch of government and aid donors rather than between the state and domestic actors – parliament, audit institutions, civil society, private sector, political parties and media. Domestic actors are marginalized or excluded from the policy-making process due to the pressures from development partners exerted through aid.

6 6 I. What are the Challenges to Good Governance and Domestic Accountability in Africa? 1)Authoritarian and Neo-patrimonial political culture marked by strong control of power through a patronage system: The state becomes a source of “rent seeking” for party supporters Strong Presidentialism, clientelism and the use of public resource for political legitimacy

7 7 2)Dominance of the executive branch of government weakening other horizontal accountability institutions; Executive domination of other branches of government i.e. Parliament, Judiciary and other independent agencies Executive dominance further weakens non-state actors i.e. CSO and the media due to poor access to information to scrutinize government actions.

8 8 3)Marginalization and internally-induced institutional weakness of the legislature Rubber stamp status of Parliament often linked to one- party rule machinery Weak Parliamentary Committee system - ineffective budgetary oversight and investigatory performance; limited research capacity. Parliament-Constituency relations limited to providing “personal” projects rather “public goods” for citizens.

9 9 4)Lack of alternative vertical accountability institutions linking citizens and the state; African citizens as “voters and not yet citizens” in a sense of demanding accountability from the state and their rights to public goods. Referenda are held few and far between – not a regular mode of citizen consultation holding state to account – limiting voters’ policy choices. The historical role of citizens demanding accountability and transparency has been through taxation; African states dependency on aid makes them less accountable to citizens

10 10 5)Externally accountability due to the aid dependency and aid modalities Project aid – bypassing ministries and parliamentary screening; off-budgeting without parliamentary oversight; Finance Ministries accounting to donors before parliaments. Policy-based aid – SAP conditionalities shrinking the space for public debate and reinforcing authoritarian structures of decision-making. New aid modalities – General Budget Support and Sector Wide Approach Program (SWAP) have not met expectations; increased donor micro-management and constricted public space for debate on sector reforms

11 11 II. Why the need for Domestic Accountability System in Africa? 1)For democracy to realize its full potential in Africa, there is a need for government and leaders to be accountable to domestic constituents. Responsibility for effective democratic governance systems rest with the citizens and their domestic institutions and not on the goodwill of external actors.

12 12 2)Traditional approaches to policy making is dominated by external actors which undermines domestic accountability systems. Domestic accountability will strengthen citizen’s voice and restore to institutions of governance the sovereignty and authority to make decisions on behalf of their constituents.

13 13 3)Country ownership and leadership of national development strategies – the core principles of the Paris Declaration – remain a challenge in many African countries as policy-making processes are still strongly dominated by executive branch and their donor partners. Restoring domestic accountability will put the people and their representatives (parliaments) at the center of policy-making in Africa.

14 14 4)Legitimacy of policy reform or development strategies exist only if the democratically elected bodies of a country are able to influence the content of development strategy and are involved in its implementation and oversight. 5)Elections have limited means of ensuring accountability in Africa. Strengthening domestic accountability systems allows citizens an input into policy-making and engage directly with the state in between two elections.

15 15 III. How can the APRM Process Strengthen Accountability System in Africa? Role of Parliament: 1.Policy-Making: enhancing the links between citizenry, the civil society and parliament through the country processes and structures. It brings social and political accountability together. 2.Representation: through consensus building that encouraged Parliamentarians to focus more on broader issues of national interest rather than narrow or particularistic concerns?

16 16 3.Oversight: Parliament engagement in the APRM process will raise its profile and exercise its oversight functions in a way that closely monitors the APRM country processes and brings serious lapses or lack of transparency in the executive branch. 4.Constituency Service: Citizens’ role in the APRM Country Self-Assessment and the formulation of NPoA, will help cement a social contract between citizens and representatives and shape demand-side accountability for public goods rather than depend on hands-out.

17 17 Role of Civil Society: 1.Sustained civil society engagement in the APRM can help shape domestic accountability by skewing it away from donors to domestic constituents for policy making; it would also, gradually, weaken neo-patrimonial political culture in favor of a democratic social contract between the state and society.

18 18 2.CSO engagement with the state and private sector and other stakeholders would help build a coalition in pursuit of national development goals within the APRM framework. The APRM marked the first instance where both state and non-state actors have collaborated formally on a key national initiative. The APRM demonstrates clearly that the more citizens demand better governance, the more it will be supplied and can help shape domestic accountability systems.

19 19 3.APRM allows CSOs opportunity to shape domestic policy reform agenda that is independent of donor interest or agenda; by forming coalitions with Parliaments and other stakeholders, the perception that CSOs are under the influence of their paymasters could be replaced with view that they are legitimate actors in the domestic policy-making processes.

20 20 4.Civil society’s coalition with the media and Parliament should help not only in engaging the executive branch in taking the APRM very seriously, but will also send a powerful signal to executive branch that its dominance over domestic policy-making processes may be coming to an end.

21 21 Role of the Media: 1.The media, given its public interest and oversight role, should play a critical role in ensuring the success of the APRM process, nationally and continentally. 2.Persistent and informed media coverage of the APRM processes at the national and continental levels should lead to transparency and accountability of the governing structures, enhancing its openness and building citizens’ confidence in the process i.e. Kenya and South Africa.

22 22 3.A strong partnership between the media, civil society and Parliament, has helped moved APRM processes forward in APRM countries and fostered a culture of accountability. 4.Media sensitization at the country self-assessment stages of the APRM should be extended to the implementation of the National Program of Action of the APRM (NPoA) in order to institutionalize the APRM as an on-going national dialogue among stakeholders on the state of governance in the country.

23 23 What is the APRM Value Added to African Governance System? 1.The APRM presents to African countries an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen the culture of accountability and foster stronger relationships between states and their domestic constituencies rather than between states and international donors. 2. The process inaugurates a new approach to policy making and reform that would be essentially driven by domestic constituents and can energize the polity with the spirit of citizens’ to demand accountability in a democratic system of governance. 3. The conception, the design of the process, the intellectual ownership, the implementation process and experience of the APRM indicate that it has the best potential for enhancing domestic accountability on the continent.

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