Making laws for parties weakens democracy, says Kwewum


A member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Rimamnde Shawulu Kwewum has said that writing laws for political parties does not strengthen democracy.
Speaking in an interview with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) on Tuesday, Kwewum said the political parties are democratic institutions and should be allow to make laws for themselves.
Speaking on the ongoing Electoral Act Amendment Bill before the National Assembly, he argued that political parties are meant to be self governing entities.
The lawmaker who represents
Donga/Ussa/Takum/Special Area Federal Constituency, maintained that political parties in Nigeria are so much restricted by law that there is no difference between the All Progressives Congress (APC ) and the Peoples Democratic Part (PDP) in terms of ideology, principles and procedures.
He said since the 6th assembly or so, the National Assembly has been trying to write rules for political parties.
“If you look at other systems where we copied our democracy from, political parties are meant to be self governing entities.
“They are meant to be different in their ideologies and the way they do things, but we had a situation before, where the military formed political parties, gave political parties constitutions and the political parties were uniform.
“They were like robots doing exactly the same thing in the same way. That doesn’t strengthen our democracy, it weakens it”, Kwewum said.
According to him, “What ought to happen would have been for the National Assembly to put a clause, that all the parties can adopt whatever method they want to use to select their candidates.
“What the parties must abide by is their rules and the rules ought to be registered or domicile with INEC and the public before the primaries and whatever rules they chose, whether it is by consensus or voting by all members or delegates or whatever, those rules must be well known ahead of time.”
He said in the United Kingdom for instance, their laws makes it explicit for political parties to determine the ways they conduct their primaries.
He argued further that, “the National Assembly going to write rules for the parties is an over reach. It didn’t start with the 9th assembly.
“The National Assembly amended the constitution that it could make rules for parties. It doesn’t strengthen democracy.
“The Nation Assembly is an institutions of democracy, the political parties are institutions of democracy, so the parties should write their rules.
“If the parties chose to produce candidates that are objectionable to the people, then they will simply vote for other candidates.
“I would have love to, if we have the courage in the National Assembly, to go ahead to provide for independent candidacy, so that anyone that is not happy with his political party can contest the election as an independent candidate.”
Kwewum said, “In the United States, independent candidates contest elections. In several countries around the world, independent candidates contest elections.
“But we have restricted to political parties and we are writing rules for political parties so much that you don’t know the difference between APC and PDP in terms of ideology, in terms of principles of war and in terms of procedures. It is not supposed to be that way.”


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