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Monday, July 13, 2020

Who protects the rights of citizens in a democracy?

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The right to participate in political and public life is a well-established principle of international human rights law. It was first set out in Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and further elaborated in Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which guarantees the right and the opportunity, without unreasonable restrictions, to take part in the conduct of public affairs directly or through freely chosen representative to all citizens.

Political and public participation rights play a crucial role in the promotion of democratic governance, the rule of law, social inclusion and economic development, as well as in the advancement of all human rights.

Human rights are universal and apply to everyone. They establish that all human beings, irrespective of country, culture and context, are born free and equal in dignity and rights. influence, and measures to promote.

Democracy policy includes general elections, measures to strengthen and protect the individual’s opportunities for influence, and measures to promote.

The right to participate in political and public affairs is a key human right in itself as well as a right that enables the full implementation of many other human rights. It plays an important role in identifying and remedying discrimination because it helps to ensure that the views and interests of all members of society are reflected in legislation, policies and other forms of public decision-making.

At the moment the people in constituency 110 are without a representation in the House of Parliament. Since the Bye-election in Constituency 110 in the Western Rural District, in August this year, was cancelled by the National Electoral Commission NEC for an alleged attack on the polling station(s), little or no action has been taken to speedily resolve the issue.

Section 39 (1) of the 1991 constitution says : “When the seat of any member of Parliament becomes vacant, the vacancy shall be filled by election, not later than six months after the vacancy occurs, in accordance with the provisions of law relating to such election;”

There is an inseparable relationship between election, political representation, and democracy. One without the other is inconceivable. It is the idea of democracy as a political system that essentially necessitates the other two. The idea of democracy is not new; it is as old as the ancient Greek political thought. The Greek philosophers of the time, notably Plato and Aristotle, discussed and analyzed democracy as a system of government in comparison with other systems such as monarchy, aristocracy, and oligarchy.

Critical development efforts cannot succeed without a legitimate and democratically elected government that is responsive and accountable to its citizens. Elections provide an important opportunity to advance democratization and encourage political liberalization.
For an election to be free and fair, certain civil liberties, such as the freedoms of speech, association and assembly, are required. Elections can be a primary tool to foster political openings and expand political participation.

I care about equality of political influence because it is important. Public participation in a healthy democracy in which there is real control by citizens over the government is the bedrock on which democracy rests.

It enriches democracy – including by helping to ensure better decision-making and strengthening politicians’ accountability to the people. It helps build strong democratic parliaments – which in turn play a vital role in ensuring peace, development and respect for human rights.

©️A M Fatoma 2019

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