• +233 20 230 9497

NIPSS seeks ECOWAS enhancement of regulation on Transhumance across sub-region

The National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies of Nigeria (NIPSS) has called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to harmonize and enhance the implementation of transhumance regulations between member states.

This is in bid to integrate the traditional stock routes used by different pastoralist clans, customary transhumance corridors and gazing areas.

An expert with NIPSS, Usman Sarki of Nigeria was speaking on Nigerian Legislation on Transhumance and Management of disputes between herdsmen and farmers at a Parliamentary seminar in Monrovia, Liberia.

He further noted that there is the need for ECOWAS to develop a twenty year plan for Transhumance Risk Mitigation and Reduction with a view to creating the enabling environment for peaceful coexistence between herdsmen and farmers.

The plan should take into consideration long-term measures such as demographic stabilization, climate change impact assessment, hydrological survey, establishment of regional grazing reserves and development of grazing corridors between and among ECOWAS member States.

Discussing the background of transhumance in West Africa, Usman said that the region’s traditional migratory linkages and exchanges of people, goods and services predicated that the historic and age old long-distance trade in commodities like cattle, fish and other essentials have of late been disturbed by factors like conflicts.

Receding surface waters in many areas of West Africa occasioned by drought and climate change, as well as reduced grazing areas have also impacted heavily on the lifestyle of pastoral farmers and adversely affected the scope of their economic activities.

A very important characteristic of both sedentary and pastoral farmers in the ECOWAS region and indeed in most of Africa, is that they are both relegated to the subsistence and informal levels, Usman said.

A dispute between farmers and herdsmen is attributed to land ownership and grazing of livestock by herdsmen.

He further said destructions of crops by herdsmen among others have existed for a long time hence the need for harmonization which can be realized though strict adherence to the ECOWAS  protocol decision of 1998 and regulations on Transhumance of 2003.

Usman recommended that ECOWAS should;
•    promote gender specific polices and empowerment programmes at grassroots levels,
•    develop youths employment policies,
•    identify opportunities for farmers and herdsmen to maximize the use of available space,
•    establish mechanism for monitoring of transhumance activities across West Africa,
•    develop early warning and horizon scanning strategies to anticipate and prevent conflicts related to transhumance activities and seek international support for such policies”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Parliament needs to be resourced for effective oversight work — Deputy Minority Leader

Former chairman of the Finance Committee in the sixth Parliament of the fourth Republic of Ghana, Dr. James Kluste Avedzi is advocating for resources and equipment to the Legislative arm of government.

According to the Deputy Minority Leader when the Legislature is well resourced and equipped, that is when it can play its oversight responsibility over the Executive arm of government properly.

As to whether the Executive arm of government should not be blamed for ensuring that the legislature is weak, he noted that the Legislature should blame itself for not approving enough funds to equip itself to perform its function properly.

He again pointed out that anytime annual budget is presented by the Executive and estimates referred to the sector committees it is not every Member of Parliament who has the capacity to analyze the figures to know what really the various Ministries want to do and achieve.

For instance, if the Ministry of Education tells lawmakers that with this amount of funds or figures they would be able to achieve A B C, and MPs do not have the capacity to analyze the information they have provided, “we would end up accepting whatever they tell us”.

“So that is the more reason why we need a budget office as a House, with Parliamentary Budget Officers. When we have them MPs who are not financially inclined would have good information and well-equipped to question officers who would be coming from the Ministries on information and figures they churn out on the budget”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Speaker laments over high attrition rate in Parliament

Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye is lamenting over the attrition rate in Ghana’s legislature more especially when Members of Parliament are building their capacity and beginning to grasps the rudiment of legislation.

According to the Speaker, the Seventh Parliament is giving Members of Parliament the opportunity to be exposed to international best parliamentary practices.

“Some of our members just about the time they are maturing are voted out of Parliament, we should raise the standard and capacity of members and find ways and means of dealing with some of this issues. As at this time, many Parliamentarians are re-thinking their roles”.

The Speaker’s concern follows the outcome from the recent parliamentary primaries conducted by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) where some experienced lawmakers  and those catching up fast and most interested in legislative work lost their bid to represent their party in the 2020 Parliamentary elections.

He made this remark at the opening of a four day conference of Parliamentary Budget Officers (PBOs) network of Africa  held in Accra which brought together delegates from South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cambodia and Canada.

Professor Oquaye noted that Parliament should have the technical, institutional and analytical capacity to deal with things of the magnitude of budget responsibility. “If we do not have exposure to figures and real data, the Executive has more capacity in that area then Parliament would be a poor supervisor because we are not well equipped over the person we are supervising”.

And added that MPs need to sharpen themselves with the provision of equipment like computers, data system and other allied facilities, as Parliamentary Budget Offices have been established in the Parliaments of Kenya, Liberia, South Africa, and Uganda. “Ghana is now following.

“The objective is to provide advice devoid of politics for the budget process. Incidentally the budget process appears to be clouded in some secrecy, we need to unveil some of these things to enable the representatives of the people make good contributions”.

He again noted that risk assessment on international trade agreement is very important and if these international contracts come after the event are launched, the post facto analysis does not help Africa as a continent at all.

“Regrettably, many African Countries have regretted because many contracts they have entered into with international organisations, to terminate them becomes a global warfare, and to conduct fiscal analysis of government policies and budgetary policy statement especially with committees there are no Parliamentary Budget Officers (PBOs) to advice”.

And added that African Parliaments need well-trained and well-equipped accountants in Parliamentary Committees with experience in such areas to guide the process; “ignorance maybe allowed in many ways, but not when it comes to accountability, what we are doing to the African linkage should be taken seriously”.

Also, it is painful to supervise and superintend over an empty purse, which brings us to the issue of what we do in global development; we should be able to generate and preside over the expenditure, he added.

“African our resources maximization is in the interest of our people, we produce cocoa, bauxite, timber, gold and all these are control by the Western Powers, if you look at Ghana and Ivory Coast they produce seventy (70) percent of the worlds cocoa and getting about less than ten (10) percent of the worlds cocoa”, he said.

He lamented that there is a serious gap somewhere, and in the face of this, it is painful to superintend over empty pocket, “I do not think any accountant like that business; that is why how we make our money, and how the global international business affect us is very important to us, the money we generate should be spent wisely; we need a new world economic order”, he emphasised.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

High attrition in Parliament: “we need to protect some class for enrich laws”—Avedzi

Deputy Minority Leader, Dr. James Kluste Avedzi is advocating for a policy by the two dominant political parties in Ghana, National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to adopt a police of protecting some class of people in Parliament.

According to Dr. Avedzi, with the experience of the life span of every Parliament, new Parliaments experience high attrition rate.

“We need to protect some class of Members of Parliament if we want to see Parliament of Ghana producing enriched laws that would resolves problems we are confronted with from time to time in our democratic agenda, for a long term to address attrition rate that is the way to go”.

He further pointed out in an interview with journalists that when a new lawmaker comes to Parliament when he or she has learnt a lot, the next election the person is off. And whether that is not part of the democracy, he responded in the affirmative but said in the advanced democracies they give protection to some class of lawmakers.

“If we are learning from those advanced democracies, we should also learn that otherwise a time would come, we would have laws not well enriched in the experience of the people who have the capacity”.

When it gets to consideration stages of Bills on the floor, only few people are seen on the floor of the House, and when we have such people who can take part very well in consideration stage of Bills losing their primaries then there is bound to be problem.

“In the case of the Wa West MP, Joseph Yieleh Chireh, he is gone and would not be in the eighth Parliament because he lost his primaries, he is our reference point when it comes to consideration stages of Bills, how to craft proper rendition of a Bill and to bring out the intent of the law he is no more”.

Political parties should have deliberate policies to ensure that such people with vast experience are protected.

When questioned if Parliament and its lawmakers should also be explaining to Ghanaians workings of the House and the real job of a lawmaker, he pointed out that, it is the job of the Public Affairs outfit of the House to perform that function, “people in the constituencies think if you have an individual who is popular in there and has resources to share the person can enter Parliament”.

Dr. James Kluste Averdzi lamented that when they enter Parliament they are unable to do the work when they come in and does not think such development should be encouraged in the name of democracy.

He made this revelations at the open of the fourth African conferences of Parliamentary Budget Officers, held in Accra Ghana.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

ECOWAS Parliament seeks collaborative actions in solving transhumance herdsmen crisis

Parliament of the Economic Community of West African states (ECOWAS) has called for a collaborative effort of all stakeholders in solving the problem of transhumance and conflict of herdsmen and farmers across the sub-region.

At the conclusion of a three days seminar on transhumance and inter community conflicts in the ECOWAS region held in Monrovia Liberia.

The stakeholders included national governments, regional organisations like the ECOWAS Commission, Regional and National Legislative Assemblies, farmers and livestock organisations, the private sector and civil society organisations were urged to join hands in solving the menace that has engulf the sub-region.

After the three days seminar it came to light that transhumance and conflict between herdsmen and farmers are very complex and intricate issues.

They added that, the effect has been compounded by the penetration of bandits, criminals, kidnappers and terrorist who have access to small arms and light weapons, which they use to carry out deadly criminal activities, resulting to deaths and property destruction.

ECOWAS Parliament agreed that transhumance conflict and conflict between herdsmen and farmers is more of socio-economic issues than acts of terrorism.

And again there is no political agenda between the protagonists in the conflict, and terrorist activities are invariable underpinned with political motives, terrorist acts being perpetrated under the guise of transhumance are basically security issues compounded by failure of the state and its relevant organs responsible for the maintenance of peace law and order.

The sub-regional legislative body called on national governments to formulate and implement policies to modernize agriculture production and productivity to include both livestock and crops.

Also recommendation was made for herdsmen to be encouraged to be trained and support to raise their livestock using modern scientific method and improved animal husbandry practices, supported with provisions of necessary inputs, life feeds for their animals and secured pasture areas, with adequate water supply and accessible veterinary services and access to markets with proper price for their products.

While noting that there is the need for adequate infrastructure to be put in place, national governments should build and provide necessary infrastructures like good roads, learning institutions, hospitals and other health facilities.

And related industries for processing of farm produce, adding value to them to ensure they are competitive in the market.

Similarly, ECOWAS Parliament ask that the Commission as well as National Parliaments implement regional regulations and frameworks that govern the movement of livestock across borders of various countries in the sub-region.

Also the establishment of strategic surveillance centers to monitor conflicts of herdsmen and farmers, and other community disagreements, flashpoints that can escalate into deadly conflicts was over emphasised.

Rt. Honorable Moustapha Cisse Lo, Speaker of the Community Parliament in an interview with journalists said there is the need for collaboration to provide lasting solutions to the inter-community conflicts as well as various conflicts associated with transhumance.

“We need harmonization of ECOWAS member countries when it comes to the laws regulating transhumances as well as the commission reviewing the laws for member states in our region to implement”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

ECOWAS member states urged to adopt regulations on livestock

In its bid to curb incessant crisis between farmers and headsmen as well as other community crisis which occur in several Member States, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has called on governments in member states to implement the regulations on livestock across the sub-region.

Dr. Fouad Mohammed representing the Director of Agriculture and Rural Development of the ECOWAS Commission noted that Pastoralism is an essential component of the West African state economy hence the need for it to be regulated for it to provide high-value at the same time reduces conflict and insecurity.

He made this remarks at the second day of a three days Parliamentary seminar on Transhumance and Intercommunity conflict ongoing in Monrovia Liberia.

He further recalled that there was a decision in 1998 and a regulation that was adopted in 2003 to regulate the transhumance activities across the West African sub-region.

Effective implementation of the regulation provides the organization with information and awareness-raising campaign, communications, training and education for transhumant livestock farmers and the various stakeholders involved in the transhumance in the zones of departure, transit and reception of transhumance herds, he said.

“It provides also, the setting up and revitalization of pastoral organisations at national level so that they contribute to better transhumance management, as well as to the prevention and management of conflicts related to transhumance”.

He continued that “the regulation is going to make things better for member states for them to be able to move freely within the region and also to curtail the spread of diseases, because once you depart from your country to another country, you will be monitored and checked that you are not taking any diseases across to infect your local host”.

The   need for compliance by pastoralists, transhumant’s, farmers and other components of rural society with ECOWAS Community regulations relating to transhumance between Member States cannot be over emphasized.

In an interview, Dr Fouad said most Member states have not implemented the regulations in their countries,  “Just last year, the Ministerial Council agreed to review the regulations, because of some member states who are saying that the regulations do not conform to the reality in their state.

Unfortunately most of the member states were not able to implement this regulation in their countries so we couldn’t even identify the areas to review this regulation” he stated.

And stressed the need for a regulation to be put in place to checkmate that there is free movement of integration which is a major objective of ECOWAS.

He stressed that “the regulation is put in place to checkmate that there is free movement of integration which is a major objective of ECOWAS. “The regulations are there, the implementation is slow, but we are getting there”, he added.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

ECOWAS Parliament to tackle Transhumance and intercommunity conflict

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament has affirmed its commitment to tackling Transhumance and Intercommunity conflicts in the Sub-region.

Right Honorable Moustapha Cisse Lo, Speaker of the Community Parliament made this known during the opening of a three days Parliamentary seminar on Transhumance and Intercommunity conflict hosted by Liberia in Monrovia.

According to the Speaker the sub-region has been plagued by various crises for more than a decade with the most worrying situation being terrorism that is rampant in many Member States, and cited the case of farmers and herdsmen attack across the region.

The Speaker recalled that on April 26, 2018 in Abuja, a specific meeting of Ministers responsible for Security and Agriculture/Livestock was held, preceded by a meeting of ECOWAS Experts on conflicts between livestock farmers and farmers.

Unfortunately, while ECOWAS, the international community and Member States are working to combat this scourge, crises between various communities are also worsening, Cisse Lo said.

The Speaker emphasized further that the general objective of the ongoing seminar is therefore to strengthen the capacities of Community Members of Parliament on issues related to the problem of transhumance and the management of inter-community conflicts within the ECOWAS region.

He said that at the end of the ongoing Parliamentary seminar, strategies of curbing and bringing intercommunity conflict to an end will be realized.

Meanwhile, in a related development, the Speaker of the Liberia House of Representatives, Dr. Bhofal Chambers said that efforts by the regional body to bring about socio-economic synergy between and amongst the people of ECOWAS states must take cognizance of the respective cultures and values of its peoples.

“Transhumance is the movement of people with their animals or livestock from one place to another in search of food and better weather for their livelihood, whilst intercommunity conflicts deal with people’s  inability to coexist in social or cultural diversities” Bhofal said.

He further admonished the Parliament to consider the sociology of the people of the sub-region, ranging from their traditions, culture, religions and their respective economies to ensure a proper policy prescription that suits their wellbeing.

“As the region moves more closely together, the means and mechanisms for ECOWAS citizens to live more peacefully cannot be over emphasized” Bhofal said.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

“Stop ridiculing us partner us strengthen anti-corruption institutions”—Speaker Oquaye

Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye has called on the Western Countries to stop ridiculing Ghana’s agenda of “Ghana and Africa beyond Aid” policy introduced by President Nana Akufo-Addo.

According to the Speaker the West should rather assist government in its pursuit of strengthening anti-corruption institutions like the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) and empowering media freedom.

His remarks comes in the wake of the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Ron Strikker making comments to the effect that instead of ‘Ghana Beyond Aids’ why not the Government of Ghana focus on ‘Ghana beyond Corruption?”

Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye at the opening of a four day conference of Parliamentary Budget Officers (PBOs) in Accra on Monday 10th of September 2019 noted that the thinking of the current administration, Ghana should not be only financial handover receivers.

“It pains me that those who are not prepared to assist us build our country in the event of the World Economic order, the Western World turn around and mock us saying we should think of corruption rather than Ghana beyond aid. This type of ridiculing is tragic and must be condemned because we need to tackle the fundamentals”.

He further added that the two ‘Ghana beyond aid’ and ‘Ghana beyond corruption’ must go together, and to make money, there must be accountability so corruption can be done away with particularly in Ghana.

“We have some of these things in recent years, we worked in the taking away of the criminal liable law which criminalized journalists, we have public procurement Act and have Office of the Special Prosecutor”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Serbia to host IPU Assembly after 56 years

The Republic of Serbia will host 141st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) from the 13th to 17th of October, 2019.

It is a gathering that brings together lawmakers from all over the World to deliberate on various issues across many sectors of human interest, as well as matters affecting lawmakers in member countries, among others.

Serbia hosted the ( IPU) Assembly for the first time in 1963 at its 52nd Assembly, and has gotten the privilege to host lawmakers across the world after fifty-six years. The announcement for Serbia to host this year’s Assembly was announced at the 140th Assembly of the IPU in the Doha Qatar.

Speaker of the Serbia National Assembly, Rt. Honorable  Maja Goikovic has said generations of outstanding Serbian and Yugoslav Members of Parliament worked hard and advocated for the proclaimed principles and goals of the IPU including, peace, cooperation among nations, building representative institutions through the broadest and most comprehensive Parliamentary dialogue.

“Through the efforts of the Parliament and MPs, these goals have been integrated into the political being of Serbia with equal commitment they continue to defend and promote those goals in their daily work”.

She asserted that the highly set goals, such as peace, cooperation, dialogue, the law and security have all been built into the foundations of the existence and work of the Inter-Parliamentary Union since its establishment in 1889.

The Union enjoys full international legality, credibility and political capacity, with 170 full members through their respective Parliaments and 11 Associated Members, different international parliamentary bodies, which are active actors of contemporary international relations.

“Our country is undergoing pre-accession negotiations with the European Union in order to become its Member State. This implies building up democratic institutions, a legal state, and a political system based on the rule of law and respect of human rights”, he added.

The European Union (EU) integration process implies the acceptance, integration, and implementation of the EU acquis communautaire, which can be achieved in terms of quality and quantity only by achieving standards of democratic societies, rule of law and democratic institutions. All of these are also the strategic goals of the Republic of Serbia for the forthcoming period.

She  noted; “The future role of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in terms of its cooperation with the Republic of Serbia and its National Assembly should be defined in three key aspects: preservation of general peace, stability and constructive cooperation at all levels; promotion, development and application of the democratic principles and standards and building up democratic institutions and the rule of law in Serbia; full implementation of parliamentary diplomacy and affirmation of the Parliament in international relations”.

Rt. Honorable Maja Goikovic, emphasized the relevance of Parliamentary diplomacy, the key holder of which IP, since it is at present very much in focus not only as a legal discipline and practice, but also as an institutionally accepted, standardized and integrated mechanism for communications and action in international law and international relations as a whole.

In a welcome statement, the Speaker noted that the forthcoming period, the National Assembly of Serbia would continue investing great efforts in achieving common goals promoted by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and enhancing cooperation with the organization itself and its members.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Ghana host 4th Africa Network of Parliamentary budget officers

Ghana’s Parliament will for the first time host the fourth African Network of Parliamentary Budget Officers from Monday September 9, 2019 in Accra.

Participants from ten (10) countries are expected to attend this conference including South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, Uganda, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Canada, and Cambodia.

The conference is on the theme, “role of Africa Parliaments in budget and fiscal oversight: contributing to the African Union 2063 Development Agenda”.

The Global Network of Parliamentary Budget Officers was established in 2013 to enhance the practices of PBOs and other analysts that support their respective Parliaments and Parliamentarians in the budget process.

Picking a cue from this, in 2016, Parliamentary Budget Officers from African countries also decided to form a network to focus on the peculiar challenges confronting the Parliaments of Africa in the budgetary process.

The conference would create a platform for sharing information among countries with PBOs and as a resource centre for countries contemplating of establishing budget offices, with lessons to be drawn from experiences of other countries, including non-African countries.

Ghana’s seventh Parliament under the leadership of its current Speaker Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye has started a reform programme where it has plans to establish a full operational budget and fiscal analysis office.

The office when established would provide technical support services to Members of Parliament in the area of policy and economic impact analysis as well as fiscal analysis of bills to serve as means to overcoming the challenges with the introduction of Private Members Bill pursuant to Article 108 of the constitution.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com