For democracy to take root, there must be some supportive institutions that do the checks and balances. This is implies that when some things are to go wrong, the pre-established institutions will act in such a way that those ills are prevented thus, giving rise to the strengthening of democratic norms that characterize any democratic society.
The structures and rules that help in nurturing the same have to be enforced in regard to making the implementation of democracy and at the same time protecting it from any factor that would divert it from registering its purposes.
Periodic evaluation therefore is important to achieve the positive fruits from democratisation.
The ombudsman’s office is established under the auspices of both houses - those of the parliament and the senate. It therefore follows that it has to get the full backing form them both in order to perform as expected of it. If there are any loopholes, laws ought to be amended in order to empower it appropriately.
Despite the fact that its operations are in conjunctions with other relevant offices such as the Auditor General’s office, the police and judicial system in general, given more powers in addressing various problems would greatly improve the capacity and efficiency of the office.
The office should be meeting the media vis-à-vis the achievements it has registered, so that the media also can in turn make the public know about the jurisdiction of the office. Most importantly the office should make the public aware about their rights so that victims oppose injustices from a position of knowledge, and therefore strength.
This is very important because if done on a wider scale, the bigger cross section of the populace will have been placed in a better place of fighting injustice and corruption that could be compounded by ignorance about people’s legal rights.
Coordination between government structures is important in order to bring about the efficient operation of the office, as the Ombudsman’s office cannot work in isolation.
There should be annual declarations from top government officials in order to clear suspicions that might be surrounding the efficiency of the office. Giving explanations and receiving questions are equally important as they pave the way for the general masses in knowing what the Ombudsman’s office expects of them, and what the masses expect of them. This creates a conducive atmosphere between the office and the people for whom the office was initially set up.
Providing the office with the necessary logistical support in order to enable it execute its duties properly, increasing the office staff from a skeleton number of six officers to a larger number of staff, will reduce the strain that may result from overworking.
Since the Ombudsman’s office receives many problems, some even by way of telephone calls, post, tele fax or internet, this system should be boosted by physical visits to the countryside so that some level of efficiency is established. Physical contact is always good for confidence-building in an institution.
The office is again highly advised to collaborate with the media closely to highlight their structures, working environment, challenges, and even successes.
It is important for the Ombudsman’s office to maintain a public façade, and the place for this is the media. Most importantly, the media should be used to disseminate information to the media, as in informing the people about their relationship with the office and how the two should utilize one another for maximum benefit. If there are cases to report about corruption or office abuse or some such mismanagement, where does the public go?
Lastly, the office has to be empowered more in its relationship with parliament. The bane for the office of the Ombudsman is being given half-powers.
To bite or not to bite, is the question, and then who restrains who? The IGG should be fully empowered to do his work very well without other official encumbrances like overlapping jurisdiction.
A well facilitated IGG in terms of policy structures and resources can never disappoint in executing his duties.