JULY 29, 2010: MPs Scorecard is a Welcome Move

MPs Scorecard is a Welcome Move

SOURCE: New Vision

Kampala — On Wednesday the Africa Leadership Institute (AFLI) released a performance scorecard of our Members of Parliament. The scorecard measured the contributions of MPs in the plenary, committees and in their respective constituency.

In addition this time there was a peer review of the MPs by their colleagues. This is AFLI's third scorecard in the last four years. Every time the scorecard has been released, AFLI has come under a lot of criticism.

To their credit there are improvements in the report with every subsequent release.

Criticism has revolved around the emphasis on MPs' quantitative as opposed to qualitative contribution, the omission of the Speaker and deputy speakers contributions and the MPs role in monitoring government expenditure.

The other criticism has been about the seemingly poor performance of vocal MPs compared to the other more quiet MPs. Democracy is about accountability.

The three arms of government - the executive, legislature and judiciary at the top of this system are set up to check and complement each other. But power belongs to the people and all these institutions are accountable to us.

The AFLI report is, therefore, a very important tool for furthering democracy in this country in as far as it holds our MPs accountable.

One of the many concerns about the report is that the MPs' opponents were copying it around the constituency as a way to undermine them. This is a very positive development. Every five years MPs comb the country promising heaven on earth, win seats and are safe in the knowledge they will not be held accountable for another five years.

This report can change things, by, one, holding MPs to their roles and, two, increasing civic education because the role of the MP will have to be universally explained so that they are not penalised by the population for not fulfilling roles that are not their mandate.

The AFLI report is a good thing and with continued improvement can only strengthen our democracy.

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