The National – Monday, December 20, 2010
THE leader of government business raised an important aspect of democracy – the “separation of powers”.
It is a system to maintain checks and balances within the three arms of government – legislative (parliament), executive (NEC) and judicial (courts).
The reason is to ensure one arm of government does not get too powerful; rather, it allows for the three arms to be equal.
If one arm becomes too powerful, it can manipulate the political system for its own gains and not in national interest.
The governor-general has been ousted from office as a consequence of the violation of the separation of powers.
The loophole in our political system is that the executive arm is more powerful than the legislature and somewhat equal or just less than equal to the judicial.
I am using “somewhat” because of the tedious process associated the judicial system which delays court proceedings and are often eventually dismissed.
The scenario we are faced here is that the executive arm is formed by the senior MPs from the majority party in the legislature.
The majority party in the legislative determines who becomes the speaker of parliament.
The prime minister is usually the leader of the majority party in parliament and is the chairman of the NEC.
Thus, effectively he or she greatly influences decisions at the executive and legislative arms of the government.
Although the office of the speaker is independent, it is questionable as the speaker is someone from the majority party.
What happened in the case of the governor-general is that the doctrine of the separation of powers was trampled on by our NEC with the assistance of the speaker.
Because of the NEC’s majority in parliament, the governor-general was reappointed with no real deliberation in parliament.
The NEC could have got away with its decision if was not for Luther Wenge and his Morobe provincial administration.
This case is just one instance where our politicians have breached the principles of democracy.
If I were Paul Tiensten, I would not bring up anything on the separation of powers especially when I am in the very government that does not seem to respect that doctrine.