25 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2008 Last revised: 4 Jan 2009
Date Written: October 8, 2008
The Africa Leadership Institute (AFLI) released its' first groundbreaking and innovative Parliamentary Scorecard 2006-2007 in December 2007. The voting public welcomed the scorecard with open arms while, on the other hand, the Members of Parliament (MPs) received it with mixed feelings accompanied by both negative and positive criticism. The Scorecard Project is an exercise aimed at scoring the performance of Ugandan MPs in an endeavour to contribute to better governance. It is based on the idea that it is possible to work within the framework of representative government but still maintain a high degree of public participation in decision making. By empowering constituents to monitor their elected representatives, it provides intrinsic benefits by strengthening civic engagement with Parliament. In strengthening Parliament in fulfilling its functions, the scorecard is boosting democracy and good governance. At the 2005 UN World Summit, member states reaffirmed their commitment to the Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals regarding the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance and global security.
In 1986, after a five year protracted guerrilla war, the NRM Government came to power instituting a no-party political system based on individual merit. Subsequent constitutional reforms between 1995 and 2005 culminated into the restoration of multi-party democracy. Uganda's Parliament is a uni-cameral, democratic, parliamentary system of government modeled on the Westminster system which is borrowed from the country's former colonial masters, United Kingdom and it is a series of procedures for operating a legislature.
Democracy is based on the idea that citizens have the right to freely choose their leaders and hold governments accountable for their actions. The health of any democratic dispensation rests on existence of an effective Parliament which both government and the citizens should demand for. While Parliament is empowered to hold the Executive accountable, who, then, should hold the MPs accountable? MPs appear to be detached from their voters who hardly know what their MPs are actually supposed to do. In Uganda, an Afrobarometer survey showed that 48% of the respondents thought their MPs were not effective because they neglect their constituencies only appearing during election campaign periods. It is important for voters to have objective and transparent information to help them assess the performance of MPs individually and of Parliament in general and hence the AFLI Scorecard.
Keywords: parliament, scorecard, uganda, MPs, oversight, representation
JEL Classification: h8
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation