Political analyst Dr. Ndumba Kamwanyah has commended the parliamentary standing committees' oversight visits, which he said provided a platform for ordinary citizens to give their input and raise concerns on matters of bread and butter.
He mentioned that this civic participation is crucial for lawmakers to understand the urgent and pressing issues that require their attention.
"The visits or consultations that were undertaken by parliamentarians to the regions provided platforms for the public to engage the lawmakers in terms of their needs, challenges being faced in the regions, and issues that need to be prioritised. So, it's really important in terms of civic participation and for the parliamentarians themselves to really hear issues that need urgent attention."
Dr. Kamwanyah emphasised the diverse role of parliamentary oversight committees in modern governance in an interview with Inside the Chambers. He stated that the Parliamentary Standing Committees act as defenders of the people's interests and ensure that policies are constitutional. Dr. Kamwanyah stressed the need for a robust system to monitor the implementation of policies, resource utilisation, outputs, and overall impact.
"To ensure that recommendations from parliamentary oversight committees are implemented effectively and efficiently. One aspect that comes to mind is what we call monitoring and evaluation. You need to monitor and evaluate the outputs that are being produced, the activities that are being implemented, and the overall impact of those policies and activities."
The political analyst suggested the need to diversify avenues of public engagement, including interacting with the public through social media.
"The consultations should be done regularly; there are resources that need to be mobilised to do regular visits to the region, but there are many platforms that can be used, including social media, to make sure that the needs are being identified."
He is of the view that different issues may require different approaches, but all in all, evidence-based outcomes from public and community engagements are a must.