The menu on this website uses a JavaScript for enhanced function in older browsers.

Connecting People and Ideas for Integrated Development

Malcolm Russell-Einhorn Gives Presentation on African Parliaments at Campus Exemplars Symposium

On September 25, SUNY/CID Director Malcolm Russell-Einhorn delivered a campus talk entitled “Supporting a Rising Africa: The Role of Parliaments in Emerging Democracies.” Mr. Russell-Einhorn’s presentation offered an overview of parliamentary development in Africa over the past fifteen years as part of a broader movement toward democratization and economic modernization on much of the continent. The talk focused on the particularly rapid growth of legislative power and independence in Kenya, where SUNY/CID has worked continuously for 13 years.

Mr. Russell-Einhorn’s presentation was one of four faculty talks given in honor of the inauguration of the University at Albany’s 19th President, Robert J. Jones. Each of these talks showcased recent exemplary scholarship or public service work carried out under University auspices. Mr. Russell-Einhorn’s presentation sought to acquaint the President and other attendees with the rapid economic, social, and governance changes in many African countries over the past two decades, as well as and the potentially important role that parliaments can play in these countries as deliberative forums and counterweights to executive power.

The special case of Kenya was discussed in depth, acknowledging a decade of steady reform activity and institutional professionalization in the Parliament, much of it facilitated by SUNY/CID training, technical assistance, and policy workshops. Also acknowledged as important influences on this development were i the vibrancy and sophistication of Kenyan civil society, a highly urbanized and educated middle class impatient for better governance, an active press, a new and more democratic constitutional framework, and a highly competitive political environment that has rewarded assertive oversight activities.

Whether a number of these factors or others could combine to produce conditions conducive to accelerated parliamentary strengthening elsewhere in Africa remains to be answered. Over its 25 years of existence, SUNY/CID has worked with Parliaments in Ghana, Benin, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi and Uganda, and there are hopeful ingredients for change in many of these countries. Mr. Russell-Einhorn gave special recognition to SUNY/CID’s highly capable local leadership and staff in Africa, present and past, and the dynamic role they have played in creating more democratic and accountable governments on the continent.

See more of SUNY/CID's work in Kenya

Posted November 15, 2013