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Thirty percent female representation should not be a political talk —Veronica Sesay

The only female member of the delegation from Sierra Leone, Veronica Kadie Sesay has reminded the leadership of the ECOWAS Parliament, and National Assemblies not to make the thirty percent female representation one of their political talks.

According to her it is something they would push and ensure they achieve. And having the backing from the Liberian Vice-President, Jewel Cianeh Taylor joining the crusade, she believes coming from her heart sends a positive signal to realizing that goal.

“When I heard her talk about the affirmative action and the thirty percent representation, she wants to see thirty percent of women and twelve more seats in the Community Parliament. I hope and believe it would work and it would start from our various communities and parliaments”.

In an interview, the president of female caucus in Sierra Leone said she is hopeful they would get the thirty percent representation they have been fighting for, adding that back in her home country, they are working to have safe seats because this is a problem with the affirmative action.

“Men are saying who should be removed from his seat for a woman; but all we are saying is that let them give us safe seats. With this, we would have more than the thirty percent in my country, and there is a political will, the president willing and ready to help the women?”.

She further pointed out that, their problem now is the Parliament, they have one hundred and forty-six (146) seats and only eighteen (18) are women. “We have to fight it out very very hard to make sure we have our thirty percent”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com/Abuja

Togo cannot be forced to present country report today—Speaker

The Ordinary Session of 2021 started on Saturday, May 29, 2021 with plenary work where Niger, Benin, Togo and Guinea Bissau had to present their country report to the plenary for debate and adoption.

Rt. Hon Speaker, Sidie Mohamed Tunis, announced to the House that Togo was not ready to present their country report, on Saturday.

This, however, did not go down well with a member of the Benin delegation, Bida Nouhoume Youssoufou Abdouramani who demanded to know why Togo was not ready to present their report to the House.

Speaker Tunis said, “it is simple, they said they do not want to present their country report today, they cannot be forced, let us give them that opportunity, it is possible they intend changing something in their report”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

ECOWAS Parliament: Outstanding staff to be awarded by Speaker

Speaker of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) Parliament, Rt. Hon Sidie Mohamed Tunis has promised to reward staff members who are doing well and contributed so much to the work of Parliament, as he introduces a Speaker’s award scheme.

revealed that staff members who are doing well and contributed so much to the Parliament would be awarded as he introduces a Speaker’s award.

This award, he noted would commence at the end of the first Ordinary Session which ends on Saturday, June 12, 2021 at the closing ceremony.

“I have not yet disclosed the names, yet it might be one or two members of staff, I am particular about the fifth Legislature”.

He made this revelation when a member of the Gambian delegation, Jeng Mahtarr M. drew the House’s attention to his earlier contribution that Members of Parliament who have been elevated with Ministerial positions or leave them for other assignment should be recognized with a certificate.

Mr. Jeng Mahtarr M. recounted that when he raised this issue, he was told the Secretary General of the Parliament, John Azuma has taken note, but members were leaving without any recognition.

In his response, Speaker Tunis pointed out that Parliament is working on that and there might be a ceremony in the Parliament where members are invited for a day’s programme, “besides not only members of Parliament but staff members who are doing extremely well”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

ECOWAS suspends Mali until it returns to democratic rule

Chair of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway in an interview with journalists at the end of an emergency Extra Ordinary meeting of Authority of Heads of States and Governments in Accra, indicated that Mali has been immediately suspended from all ECOWAS institutions.

According to her, coup is something that ECOWAS frowns upon, it occurred previously and whiles addressing it for the country to return to democratic rule, it has occurred again, “so it was incumbent on the heads of states to look at the whole situation and take a decision so that it does not occur again”.

And to save guard the security situation in the whole of West Africa, the Heads of States are going according to the protocol on democracy and good governance; but was quick to point out that ECOWAS would ensure that the transition is on track towards the end goal of returning Malians to democratic rule.

“Half of the country is not controlled by government but by rebels and terrorist that in itself is a situation that needs to be addressed. We are happy to know that the international community is working with Mali, France, US, UN, African Union and ECOWAS. We are all working to ensure that we sought out this security situation as it has repercussions for the rest of West Africa Region”.

As to what has warranted the current take over, the Foreign and Regional Integration Minister of Ghana said, the Junta said there is issue with corruption and security so they had to take the situation into their own hands, hence ECOWAs had to intervene and apply sanctions to Mali.

“So that we are able to get them to commit to return the country to democratic rule, and the Heads of States have resolved to work with their mediator and Mali would be engaged to ensure that they do not derail from the transitional path, and hope the international community continues to engage them”.

Madam Ayorkor Botchway, emphasized that whatever the situation it would have negative effect on the people of Mali, but the goal is to ensure that the military junta follow the rule of the game to the transitional charter, by getting back to the road map that would take them back to elections, “not only presidential but parliamentary and local elections”.

In addition, she added that the Heads of States in a few days expects a civilian Prime Minister who would form a transitional government, “we have eight months left as part of the deadline February ending 2022 when the Junta are supposed to handover to a democratically elected government”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

ECOWAS MPs question human rights record in Guinea Bissau

Lawmakers in the fifth Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, have questioned the human right record of Guinea Bissau as they presented their country report on Saturday, May 29, 2021.

According to most contributors after the country report was presented by Mr. Califa Seidi, the details sent shivers through them.

They said kidnapping, intimidation, harassment of journalists, arbitrary arrest and assault which is abuse of human rights had been carried out and wanted to know from Guinea Bissau delegation what exactly is the situation currently.

Other MPs were also worried over the closure of boarder between Guinea and Guinea Bissau.

A member of the Guinea Bissau delegation, Marciano Indi in his contribution noted that his human rights was violated, and he was harassed. Though he drew the attention of ECOWAS Parliament to these happenings, nothing was done.

In response to questions raise by his colleagues, leader of the delegation, Califa noted that with human rights abuses, the situation has been so since 2020 into 2021, and it is major concern for those in opposition and government but previously that practice did not exist.

Other MPs from Guinea Bissau who responded to the questions asked by their colleagues pointed out that the closure of boarder between Guinea and Guinea Bissau has to do with the bad blood that exist between presidents of both countries.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com/Abuja

ECOWAS Parliament: “Swearing-in of Malian delegation would have sent wrong signal” —Snowe

Chairman of the Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Melvin Edwin Snowe Junior has said he is happy the Malian delegation that went to Sierra Leon during the Extra Ordinary meeting were not sworn in as members.

According to him the Community Parliament is a democratic body and democratic space should not allow people with military junta regime to come and take over that space.

“This would have sent a very negative signal and impact, true to our action look at what had happened in Mali in the last few days, there is another coup there again, I leaving for Accra tomorrow there is an emergency summit of Authority of Heads of States and Government I am representing the Parliament”.

He further pointed out in an interview that, there are plans to have stronger sanctions, and this day and age the West African sub-region should not have military coup and this military instability is unbelievable and necessary steps should be taken so that a decision is taken against Mali.

“We as a parliament, have sent that to the court of justice and they are still reviewing their situation and there is another coup, so we need to give the bitter pill to Mali. Again, this time and age military coup is not the answer”, he said.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com/Abuja

“WAHO identifies 3 countries for possible production of COVID vaccine”—Kassi Brou

President of the ECOWAS Commission, H. E. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou has disclosed that the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) has identified three countries in the West African sub-region, where production of vaccine, to fight against COVID-19 can be carried out.

According to him they are working with countries to see what next step to take, adding that there is a lot of work that is being done including mobilization of vaccines, and all member states have started vaccinating through a vaccine facility negotiated by the African Union.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

ECOWAS audited reports will now be laid on the floor” —Speaker

Speaker of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Sidie Mohammed Tunis has revealed that for the first time, Audited reports of the Community would be brought before the House and referred to the Public Accounts Committee, which came into existence under the current fifth Legislature.

According to him the new Committee has made progress since there has never been a situation where the Auditor General’s report is laid on the floor of the Community Parliament.

“We have agreed with the Commission that from now onwards all audited reports would be laid in Parliament, we would debate it and base on the outcome of the debate, it would help with our oversight work”, he said a at a press conference”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com/Abuja

ECOWAS Parliament to start considering country reports today

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, would start considering country reports on Saturday, May 29, 2021 at its first Ordinary Session meeting.

Countries to present their reports are, Niger, Guinea Bissau, Benin and Togo.

First Deputy Speaker of the Community Parliament, Ahmed Idris Wase chaired proceedings on Wednesday, May 27, 2021 for the work program to be adopted by the House for the first meeting to start.

Also in line for consideration is the briefing on the new ECOWAS payment policy, to be taken by the House and expected to adjourn by 5:30pm.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com/Abuja    

“We need elected ECOWAS MPs to focus on only community works” —Bah

Leader of the delegation from Sierra Leone to the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Chernor  Bah has said the parliament needs elected lawmakers who can focus on Community works, rather than the current system where MPs own double allegiance and are unable to focus.

According to him MPs pay more attention to their national Parliament than the Community Parliament so there is conflict of interest, and it is something that they as lawmakers should push for. “I do not know when it would happen but the earlier it happens the better for ECOWAS and the Parliament”.

Responding to whether this will happen in the next parliament which is the sixth Parliament, he noted that it is the current Speakers flagship program, and he wish he would succeed, but there might be many challenges.

“We have the financial consideration to look at, only 115 members with a population of over three hundred million, maybe we have to increase the membership, then the financial burden. Again, beyond that, organizing elections simultaneously just for the Parliament would also be challenging”, he stated.

He further suggested that there should be another form of election that would not be too financially demanding, for a start and that would make sure there is a distinction between those going to ECOWAS Parliament and national parliament.

As to whether, the Parliament should be given more enhance powers, he noted that, that is what they have been looking for; “we have enhanced powers but if you look at the structures, even the Commission is stronger than us, the Executive Council of Ministers, we need our independence to do monitoring, supervising and oversight in ECOWAS institutions”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com/Abuja