Commission of inquiry is a constitutional mechanism employed by the government to investigate any matter that is in the interest of the public.
The appointments, functions and duties of the commission is regulated by Chapter 3 of the 1992 constitution.
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A commission of inquiry is one of many bodies available to the government to inquire into many issues that the masses have utmost interest in.
Members of the commission report findings, give advice and make recommendations as well. While their findings are not legally binding, they can be highly influential.
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Commissions of inquiry are independent of the government. They must act strictly within their terms of reference and ensure their processes are within the law.
Commissions are a remarkably flexible means of looking into a variety of issues.
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As part of the governmental processes, they provide unique channel through which interested parties can directly participate in making public policy.
Commissions may not be appointed to;
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- Investigate accidents where there has been major loss of life.
- Consider social policy initiatives with a huge public impact.
- Make adjustments to the institutional structure of government.
- Take a sensitive or moral issue out of the political terrain in order to get non-partisan, professional advice on it and build a consensus on how to proceed.