The term accountability describes the requirement for answerability regarding

the exercise of functions, powers and duties. It is an incremental element of

representative democracy and good governance. Accountability implies restric-

tion, careful monitoring and vigorous scrutiny of governmental powers. Compe-

titive elections are deemed the ultimate measure of governmental accountability

in democratic political systems. The elected representatives exercise decision-

making powers on behalf of their electorate, to whom they are subsequently

accountable. Transparency is, therefore, an essential part of government

accountability. Institutional arrangements ensuring accountability in political

systems include ministerial responsibility, collective responsibility, etc., and where

these are seen to have failed, they give way to other mechanisms that allow

for accountability, such as parliamentary investigations and public inquiries.