FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Thursday, January 24, 2013

African Legislature Grad School Notes


BONUS LINK:  My entire (so far) grad school notes collection can be found here. 

African Legislature Grad School Notes
            
H. Kwasi Prempeh, “Presidents Untamed,” Journal of Democracy 19, 2 (April 2008)
Joel D. Barkan, “African Legislatures and the ‘Third Wave’ of Democratization,” in Joel D. Barkan (ed), Legislative Power in Emerging African Democracies (Lynne Rienner, 2009)
Staffan Lindberg, “What Accountability Pressures do MPs in Africa Face and How Do They Respond,” Journal of Modern African Studies 48, 1 (2010)

- When the opposition is well represented, there are those in parliament with incentives to assert legislature as legislatureregardless these are self interested parties.  In Kenya’s case the MPs get paid 125K a year (well above median income)—they say that it keeps them from being corrupted.
- at the end of the day the MPs themselves may be interested in reform—he sees the push for free secondary education as a signal that they may be trying to reduce the resource demands upon themselves by providing constitutent services.

***the thrust of this argument is that nothing is broken—it’s just answering the call of the people that force the system to act in this way—a bottom up problem that requires a top down solution.  So why do the constituents act in this way?  You have to find that out.

- this also point to the failure of institutions but why would people want anything different—they know they can get something tangible currently—broad public works or services are things they necessarily see. 

- This comes from their perception and expectations of how the whole system works—we elect you and you give us stuff. 

- closer to the Hiden argument is the idea that there’s a moral obligation to provide for the community from which you come.

- in some cases equally important is for the MP to be seen as being vocal and active in the parliament—“that’s my guy” mentality

- parliamentary systems weren’t originally designed to operate with a president so they were at odds

- in the 90’s it was redesigned to be more appropriate for a president system which creates the opportunity for more institutional roles—but they are starting from ground zero

- without permanent staff—how effective can an MP be?  They need the committee staffs, otherwise they just don’t ever address these types of issues (like a defense committee would do)

- A PR system might address the problems of the constituent services demanded but that might also open up another set of challenges.    You might also be taking a hit on democracy though
*How people are elected is important—

- the idea of “the provider”—the moral economy argument would show that most people don’t really even have an idea of what their MP does—he is just another with means.

- a pro-western monarch who oversees an Islamic democracy is perhaps the most palpable of situations—this ensures democracy will continue and not just “once”



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