Extremely determined disrespectful opinion

The government has decided to discontinue the constituency development grant. That is good news. The government had bulldozed the CDG through the Parliament, without a full debate, without a vote, and without any support of the National Council and the opposition party. The ECB had objected saying that the CDG undermines free and fair elections. And the media has repeatedly questioned the legality of the grant. So the government’s decision to discontinue the controversial grant comes as really good news.

But there’s bad news too. The prime minister has not accepted that the CDG was a mistake. He has not apologized, and he has not explained how he will make amends or who will take responsibility. Instead, he has blamed the people who questioned and opposed CDG. And he has threatened that the “next government” would, anyway, reinstate CDG.

The prime minister claims that he is discontinuing CDG to avoid the specter of another “constitutional case towards the end of their term” as there are “people who are willing to take the government to court.”

Yes, we did take the government to court for raising taxes illegally. And yes, we will not hesitate to take the government to court if they purposely violate important provisions of the Constitution. After all, the opposition party’s main responsibility, according to the Constitution, is to ensure that the government and ruling party function in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution

The prime minister has also complained that, “So here you have the majority opinion and majority feelings giving way to the extremely determined and disrespectful opinion of the few in a democracy.”

The opposition party has only 2 members. That works out to just 4% of the National Assembly seats. And that makes us probably the world’s smallest opposition. But we have worked with extreme determination and we have not hesitated to express our opinion, even at the risk of appearing disrespectful. And I am happy that our unwavering stand has prompted the government, one that enjoys an overwhelming majority, to discontinue the CDG.

But there’s still something else: according to Article 22 Section 18(c) of the Constitution, “Local Governments shall be entitled to adequate financial resources from the Government in the form of annual grants.”

The controversial constituency development grant is no more. Good. But what about the annual grants that local governments are entitled to collect from the government? When will the government fulfill that important provision of the Constitution?

No doubt, the government realizes that the opposition party will be “extremely determined” and will not hesitate to express “disrespectful opinion” to ensure that local governments are provided annual grants, grants that they can use without the interference of their MPs.