Speaker Abbas urges African parliaments to reduce huge trust deficit between govts, citizens

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, has stated that there was a huge trust deficit between citizens and governments of the African countries, called for deliberate efforts to increase public trust in the governments.

Speaker Abbas made the call in his opening address while chairing a session at the third plenary session of the ongoing 18th Commonwealth Speakers’ and Presiding Officers’ Conference (CSCOP) in Yaoundé, Cameroon, with the theme: ‘African Parliaments and the Agenda 2063.’

The session Speaker Abbas presided over was on ‘Securing Public Trust: The Role of Parliaments in Strengthening Openness, Transparency and Accountability.’

“The topic for this first plenary session couldn’t have come at a better time than now when there is a huge trust deficit between citizens and government. This trust deficit contributes a lot to the much-talked-about democratic backsliding. To reverse this trend requires public trust in governmental institutions.

“The people we represent, our constituents, rely on us to uphold the principles of democracy, to safeguard their interests, and to promote their welfare. Thus, openness, transparency and accountability are not mere buzzwords but essential pillars upon which we can build a resilient democracy that serves the needs and aspirations of our people”He said.

According to Speaker Abbas, the conference highlights Africa’s ambitious aspiration and goals, which he noted were well captured in the concepts of “a prosperous Africa based on inclusive Growth and sustainable development,” “a high standard of living, quality of life and well-being for all citizens,” and “well educated citizens and skills revolution underpinned by science, technology and innovation.”

The Speaker noted that the topic of the session was a reminder of “the profound responsibility bestowed upon us as trustees, delegates and custodians of democracy.” He added that the trust of the public is the foundation upon which the legislatures stand, and it is the duty of legislators to “protect and nurture this trust through our actions and commitments.”

He stressed that the people they represent have entrusted them with the responsibility of ensuring that the government remains accountable to them.

Speaker Abbas noted that the session would delve into the multifaceted challenges that lie before the African parliaments and explore innovative approaches to ensuring that public trust in government was restored.

“We will examine the vital role of parliamentarians in fostering openness, transparency and accountability across our legislative bodies and beyond. Together, we will strive to identify best practices, exchange ideas, and formulate actionable strategies to reinforce the bond between citizens and their elected representatives,” he noted.

The Speaker stressed the need to recognize that securing public trust requires a comprehensive approach. According to him, it necessitates robust legislative frameworks, effective oversight mechanisms and a commitment to inclusivity and citizen engagement.

“It calls for the promotion of ethical standards, integrity, and the highest levels of probity within our ranks. And it demands that we actively listen to the voices of our constituents, understanding their concerns and aspirations, and ensuring that their interests are at the heart of our decision-making processes,” Speaker Abbas added.

He therefore urged the participants to be guided by their collective wisdom and experiences, while seeking inspiration from the successes and lessons learned from their diverse parliamentary systems, “understanding that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.”

“Together, we can forge a path towards greater openness, transparency, and accountability, strengthening the bonds of trust between our citizens and their elected representatives.

“I have every confidence that the discussions we will engage in today will be insightful, robust, thought-provoking, and impactful. Let us seize this opportunity to learn from one another, to share our experiences, and to chart a course that will inspire confidence and empower our people”Abbas stated.


Related posts