Countries should not be allowed to burn after the general elections, there should be inclusion and collaboration between winners and losers of the elections, the Liberia’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mawine Giggs on Thursday admonished West African Citizens through members of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament.
Presenting a paper titled: “Mechanism for Collaboration between political majorities and opposition as a crisis prevention mechanism” at a delocalized joint committee meeting of the ECOWAS Parliament in Monrovia, Diggs said “the majority as the winner and the minority as the loser have a duty to keep the country safe, peaceful, stable and prosperous through inclusion and collaboration.”
She noted that: “As always in a democracy , there will be a political majority elected by the people through the ballot box and a minority who does not get elected,” but said collaboration between political majorities and opposition is sure means of crisis prevention.
She added that: “Like we say in Liberia, after all the political processes, the country “will not burn”. So it is with all countries in the ECOWAS community. After elections, our countries must not and should not burn.”
She admitted that in a democratic system of government, the majority wins but has a responsibility to protect the minority, insisting that: “This reponsibility of protection encapsulates the respect for the rights of all, irrespective of the gender, ethnic or political affiliation of the individual.
“The governing majority is required to build strong and vibrant institutions including an independent judiciary and a free press.
“The governing majority is charged to ensure that the fundamental rights, including healthcare and education are available and affordable for all.”
On the part of the minority, Diggs said: Whilst the governing majority has a duty to govern, the minority has a charge to subscribe to the rule of law.
“The right to protest and hold government accountable or ”hold their feet to the fire” which is fundamental, must be exercised in a peaceful manner consistent with the constitution.
“Besides criticism, the minority is required to provide alternatives on what the governing majority could do in the best interest of the citizens.”
She explained that: “The first step to govern is the creation of the space and atmosphere for governance, and this is attainable only by collaboration,” insisting that: “Both the majority and minority must collaborate at all times regardless of the disagreements and divergence of views.
“Both sides must respect democratic principles and values. Whilst the majority focuses more on the delivery of its programmes, it must also create an enabling environment for everyone to co-exist. The threat of conflict is greatly minimized by a healthy collaboration between both the government, opposition and those of no position.”
Diggs noted that: “In parliament it is often said that, “the minority has its say but the majority have the will.,” stressing that: “This assertion finds its true meaning in the responsibility the majority has to all. To demonstrate will means, to do the right thing, create the space required for all to participate as they so wish.
“For the minority, having say, is meant to insist on holding the government accountable and serviceable while also respecting the rule of law.
“The majority and minority must collaborate and build synergies on their commonalities in areas of gender parity, a free press, an independent judiciary, and an open budget which puts the people first and above all, upholds the constitution.”