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Connecting People and Ideas for Integrated Development

ANCI Commissions question Ministers of Transportation and Roads and Infrastructure

One of the great challenges for a developing parliament is asserting its right to participate in oversight of the executive branch. Instead of viewing this as a collaborative effort to improve government performance, the executive often views this as a threat to its authority while MPs, particularly members of the ruling party, hesitate to challenge their leaders.

The transportation minister meets the Press after the Oral questions session.

The transportation minister meeting the Press after the Oral questions session.

One form of oversight is the questioning of government ministers. Over the last few years, the National Assembly of Cote d’Ivoire (ANCI) has requested a number of ministerial question periods. In each case the government refused to participate and the ANCI gave way.

“Some signs of the transportation reform will be noticed soon, especially concerning the upcoming reduction of the transportation costs.” Gaoussou Touré, Minister of Transportation.

This changed on June 30th and July 15th 2016 when the Ministers of Transportation and of Roads and Infrastructure, respectively, appeared at the hemicycle before the Financial and Economic Affairs Commission and other interested MPs. This was a historic event, not only in affirming the principle of legislative oversight but in the quality of that oversight by the ANCI. A number of factors contributed to this achievement.

First, with support provided by the USAID Legislative Strengthening Program (LSP), the commission had conducted significant background research including field visits to examine the state of transportation and roads management. This provided the MPs with a vivid sense of the problems at hand.

Second, through training and mentoring, LSP helped members and staff translated their sense of the problems into questions that would direct attention to the root causes of the problems and to provide the data necessary to identify possible solutions.

Third, LSP staff worked with interested MPs to lobby fellow MPS on the importance of asserting their oversight authority through questioning of government ministers and engaging them in pressing for compliance by the Ministers.

Finally, LSP assured full press coverage of the hearings, ensuring that the public was well informed of the explanations provided by the executive on issues affecting their daily life.

As a consequence of the hearings, the minister promised to reduce the transport cost within the capital. This decision has been endorsed by transportation trade union and the will be officially effective on August 1st 2016.

See more of SUNY/CID's work in Cote d'Ivoire

Posted August 2, 2016