COMMENTARY: Special nomination process should not be abused

SHARE   |   Monday, 15 February 2016   |   By Staff Writer

Critics of Government smell a rat. Perhaps rightly so! Why has it taken so long for Government to realise that it needed to increase the number of Specially Elected MPs and ministries? Could this be interpreted as of necessity or simply an exercise of increasing the ruling party’s presence in Parliament? Whichever way it is, Government should be sensitive to the wishes of the people. The Special Nomination practice has many critics than those that celebrate it. This emanates primarily from the ruling party’s tendency to abuse it. People that are often nominated to councils or Parliament lack in exclusive skills that make them justify their appointment. Quite often it is the party loyalty or loyalty to the leader that is rewarded through these nominations than a greater national course of providing an essential skill that could better serve the nation. It is abuse of the process that critics abhor. We join in its criticism.

As a nation we should not simply be led into costly processes, particularly at this difficult time in our economy by increasing MPs and also the bureaucracy by adding ministries when it is not justifiable. We do not necessarily say they all nominated councillors or MPs have not been worth it. They are some who have served with aplomb and for that we are grateful. Many others have not been worth the nomination. Opposition parties have always insisted that it is unfair for people that were rejected by electorates at the polls to be forced into Parliament through this route. Their concerns are increased by the fact that nominations are always in favour of the ruling party – at this stage no opposition member has won Parliamentary nomination while at council level the scales are heavily tilted in favour of the Governing party.

Should ministries be increased – that is another question. As a small population of just two million or so do we deserve to have more than the ministries we have? When looking at service and efficiency it is possible that we can do with more political leadership. The Ministry of Education and Skills Development for example is too huge and demanding and so is the case with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. However, it could simply take the promotion of one assistant minister into a full minister of Primary Education for instance. The same approach can be taken at the Ministry of Local Government. However it is quite possible that some of the assistant ministers are not good enough to be promoted into full ministers, hence Government’s decision to look outside. Whatever is done, it is important for Government to remain prudent in the management of country’s meagre resources. It is wrong to reward political loyalty at a cost to the tax payer and even more saddening to bring in a person who would fail to make a difference.