Currently, politicians, including executive Ministers, are engaging in a race to be the first to obstruct developments objected to by neighbouring parties. This is true even if that Minister is an integral part of the executive branch responsible for making the decision. The Manikata case stands as one of the most recent illustrations. In this instance, the final verdict regarding this application in Manikata will be rendered by the Planning Authority which qualifies as an entity established by law and functions within the executive division of the state. Yet, it appears perfectly permissible for a Minister to raise objections against a proposed planning application and to assert that a denial is justifiable albeit in a world following Montesquieu’s principles, where a clear separation of powers is paramount, such a scenario would be deemed unacceptable right from the outset.
Nevertheless, our system of constitutional governance has evolved, for better or worse, and it seems to accept such situations.
Indeed, as seen in the recent Hondoq case , the court of appeal concluded that there is no issue with members of local councils, who hold firm a priori reservations against a development, participating in the eventual judgment of said development. The court, in fact, observed that “…there is nothing wrong for a representative of the Local Council to participate actively in a development that will impact their locality, whether in favour or against the development.”
If such an approach is considered suitable for Local Councils, it logically follows that there is nothing wrong with Ministers exerting moral pressure on authorities. Unless some higher constitutional authority deems this entire practice incorrect, it should continue as is.