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IMPLEMENTATION OF POVERTY ALLEVIATION MEASURES TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT:

DEMOCRATIC GOOD GOVERNANCE:  

  1. Problem of DRC Constitution

The Democratic Republic of Congo fails to make the population (the electorate) aware of their rights and obligation. People do not know constitutional provisions which empower them or oppress them vis-a-vis the public service system. Constitution and constitutionalism are alien concepts to the majority of most Congolese citizens. This is mainly because Congolese constitution have not been democratically created or evolved.

In this stage, DRC need an ideal situation in which constitution making is the citizens constitution, now that the nation state has been formed and stabilized. What should be the ultimate goal is a Democratic Constitution. It is assumed that it is only a democratic constitution that the governance problems in DRC can be resolved.

Democratic Constitution would relocate the policy and decision-making power to ensure that economic policies take into account the interests of majority in the population. Democratic constitution would make the general population trough civic organizations contribute more actively in the control and management of the government affairs, as they would have been acquainted with their rights, obligations, power and responsibilities. Lastly democratic constitution would decentralize the centers of power from the elites at the national headquarters or one ethnic stronghold to various centers, thereby distributing power and responsibilities for supporting and supervising the public services to various plural social, economic, political, and other centers across the board.

There are various demands for constitutional making that would make them democratically mandated instruments of guiding the various process of governance capacity building (economic reforms, Politic reforms and administrative reforms) these demands are avoided or thrown away in the DRC.

Constitutional Structure as Foundation for Good Governance

Some faults in the nature and character of the DRC constitution making have been pointed out as posing great challenges to the governance and govern ability. Over the period since the political independence governance in various dimensions have been on the decline. This development has been also parallel to the declining consent on the inter-elite negotiated constitution. For DRC the constitution is not a democratic instrument of the people but a means of manipulating them.

What may be required at this moment is to embark on a process of constitution making in view of resuscitating professional governance capacities.

The process of constitution making in view of improving governance should first make a departure from the inter-elite negotiation in constitution making. The main focus having an alternative approach would be the public institutions of the state which almost require a revolution. These are capacity building with constitutionally designed support for the legislature, the judiciary and the executive including the public service system. They have to be elevated beyond patronage politics. They have to be seen as proper, efficient and effective, yet separate branches of government operating harmoniously in coordinated manner.

Strengthening of good governance must be mandated in the constitution in DRC that there is a clear separation of power, and in a way a reconstruction of the state devoid of patronage. Capacity building is a necessary input in the area of legal and institutional foundations of the rule of law that grounds itself in the civil society; as well required is capacity building for the key governance institutions i.e. the constitution itself, the Legislature the judiciary and the Executive (and including the public service institutions). Capacity building is also required in areas that would enhance institutional forms of transparency, accountability and participation.  

  1. Strategies for Strengthening Good Governance in DRC

It is now possible to consider the most appropriate strategies for strengthening the institutions of good governance in the DRC. The most appropriate initiatives and strategies for achieving this goal should focus on strengthening the legal and institutional foundations of the rule of Law; the key governance institutions of the legislature, the judiciary and the executive; and other institutional forms and mechanisms likely to enhance accountability, transparency and participation.

The Rule of Law:

The first strategy for strengthening the institution foundations of the good governance in the DRC is great appreciation and acceptance of the philosophical and legal foundations of the rule of Law by both rulers and the people. The major challenge facing the DRC in the regard is to move from autocracy to democracy, and from personal and arbitrary rule to the rule of Law. State needs to be seen not as a network of relations built around a strongman, but as a set functions that are to be performed in a neutral and objective manner. Now the preventing and resolving violent conflicts should therefore be undertaken not simply as ways of establishing a stable political order, but also as strategies for promoting the rule of Law.

•  The Legislature

One of the institutions that needs to be developed as an indispensable tool of the rule of Law and good governance in the DRC is the legislature. A key question in this respect is how the legislature and the other key institutions of the state can overcome the obstacles that impeded their proper functioning in the past in order to become instruments of good governance. How can they become more effective in policy development and implementation within the current environment of economic crisis in the DRC?

Three major strategies are essential for strengthening the legislature as a key governance institution:

•  Establishing good working methods for Parliament and its sub-units;

•  Enhancing the legislative and management skills of its members; and

•  Developing greater awareness of its work and significance among the public.

The major legislative weapon against both executive and judicial excesses is the power of impeachment. Although it is seldom used, its very existence helps to keep potentially wayward officials at bay.

•  The Judiciary

The judiciary has its own oversight functions vis-a-vis the executive and legislative branches. It is supposed to interpret the Laws passed by the legislature and to pass judgment on government actions being contested by interested parties in the courts. It meant, freedom from interference with the exercise of the judiciary fonction by either the executive or independence include respect for the constitution and political culture in which adherence to the rule of law is a cherished value.

There are two strategies for strengthening the judiciary as a key governance institution in the DRC:

•  Creating an enabling environment for attracting and retaining highly qualified individuals as judges;

•  Capacity building for lower level magistrates, and improving their salaries and working conditions.

•  The Executive

With respect to the executive branch, the major challenge facing the DRC today is to move from executive omnipotence to a separation of power trough institutional checks and balances. Working in a liberal democracy in the DRC, we have to adopt the principle where the rights of the citizens to participate in the management of the public affairs and to change a government that no longer serves their interests.

•  The Public Service

The public service, including the civil service proper, parastatals and law enforcement agencies, is the service delivery apparatus par excellence of the modern state. In addition to the universal and perennial problem of the shortage of financial resources, public service delivery in the DRC has faced equally severe problems of inappropriate priority setting and inadequate institutional capacity. Building capacity, together with the professionalism of the service and code of ethics for its agents, is central strategy in the DRC to the whole question of redesigning and strengthening the institutional foundations of good governance.  

•  Law-Enforcement Agencies

A major requirement for good governance is for the military to play its traditional role of ensuring national security and public safety. The army and other military units should be trained in protecting the country's borders against arms proliferation, drug trafficking and other criminal activities. In additional to defending the national territory against external attack, they should also be prepared to participate in regionally and internationally mandated peacekeeping activities.

•  Local Government and Administration

A major feature of the DRC was its extreme centralization. Virtually all the pertinent decisions of the country were made at the center, in the capital city Kinshasa . Here, the decision-making center was located in the executive branch. And within the latter, it was the chief executive who made all the important decisions.

One of the most popular proposition come out of the current political transition in the DRC is the overwhelming support for regional and local autonomy. Is an important issue, particularly at the local level, is the ecological question, namely, the relationship between land use, economic activities and the quality of life. This is related to the question of the resource base. For decentralized units of government, which must raise the bulk of their financial resources locally, autonomy without money is simply meaningless. Improved service delivery thus goes hand in hand with economic development and the increase in the revenue of the local and regional authorities.

Adopting and implementing constitutional reforms for the devolution of power to regional and local authorities is the most appropriate strategy for strengthening local government and administration as basic institutions of good governance. For decentralizing public policy making and administration has the effect of bringing service delivery to where it counts the most, namely, at the local level.

•  Civil Society

Civil society refers to that sector of society in which various groups are mobilized to participate in economic, social, political and cultural activities. Through its numerous organizations and institutions, civil society interacts with both the state and the private sector in the pursuit of

 

 
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