Opposition must expand their horizons

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I strongly believe that the opposition of Namibia should step up, show up and take its rightful place. In a parliamentary style of government or in countries with a multi-party system, the opposition is judged by the way it conducts itself in the house. Holding the ruling party accountable to the public should be the prime focus of the opposition. However there are several other laid out responsibilities that they are expected to perform.

Instead of being completely critical of the party in power, the opposition should try to co-operate among themselves and form a memorandum of understanding. The opposition members of parliament need to be proactive enough to raise questions and recommend methodologies to the government. Any arbitrary and despotic behaviour of a government is checked by the opposition parties demanding for information and debate in the house. Therefore, in shaping of the legislative measures, the opposition has a say, or even influence. If their recommendations are ignored, they have another chance when a Bill is introduced to the house and debated.

Apart from examining the performance of the executive, it also has to demonstrate its achievements or policies that can contribute towards the efficient running of the country.

Thus opposition must also have the right to use the media so that its views on any issue can be clearly articulated without undue interference. The opposition together with media should act as watchdogs of the system.
The leader of the official opposition party is expected to apprise the government on all the parties’ stand on certain legislation even before the Bills are tabled in parliament. This gives the government the scope for the consideration of suggestions and work towards suggested recommendations. The incumbent has to offer constructive criticism of the government policies. He should ensure that the parliament holds adequate debate on pressing issues.

In conclusion, Quinton Hogg an outstanding member of the British Parliament once said: “A country cannot be fully free until they have an organised opposition. The absence of an organised opposition is not long from dictatorship.”

Hionel Franchua
Bangalore University, India

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