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ECOWAS Court appeals to MPs to facilitate mechanisms to enforce its decisions

In his goodwill message at the opening ceremony of the ECOWAS Parliament’s 1st 2021 Ordinary Session ongoing in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria, the President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, Justice Edward Amoako Asante has called on ECOWAS Members of Parliament to put a little pressure on their various governments to setup mechanisms to implement the decisions of the court.

 President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice said that “under Article 24 of the 2005 Supplementary Act on the court, Members States are required to designate the competent national authority for the enforcement of the decisions of the court.”

So far, he said, that only six (6) member states: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria and Togo, have designated their focal points. “We therefore need the support of our Honourable ECOWAS Parliamentarians, particularly those from member states that have not done so, to facilitate this enforcement process by ensuring that their states setup the appropriate mechanisms for the enforcement of the decisions of the court,” Justice Edward Amoako Asante.

Justice Asante added by reminding regional MPs to work swiftly on addressing the challenge of enforcing the decisions of the ECOWAS Court which he said if not addressed “could affect its capacity to effectively play its role in the integration process”, stating that “the court plays a strategic role in our regional integration process as it assists Members States to build a culture of democracy and good governance by helping to strengthen human rights protection and respect for the rule of law.”

He advanced that the community’s court is committed to these objectives, under Article 4(g) of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty which says that the recognition, promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights should be done in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

As a result, Justice Asante entreated the ECOWAS MPs that, as stakeholders, they must all rise to defend the integrity of the Court through the enforcement of its decisions as integration is impossible without s strong protection of human rights for which the citizens are the ultimate beneficiaries.”

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com/Abuja

Sierra Leone: “There was a threat to arrest me, but I was not arrested” —Chernor Bah

Leader of the Sierra Leone delegation to the Community Parliament, Chernor Bah Maju  has said he was not arrested as circulated on social media, but that there was an attempt of arrest as there was a challenge in their national Assembly when government attempted to get a document through without following the correct procedure.

According to the opposition leader when they challenged it, the government party in Parliament, the Majority insisted on pushing it at all cost even when it was not in their favour to do, so he urged MPs from his side to resist it.

“That led to some fracas and eventually they threatened to arrest me as the Leader who incited the fracas, but I was not arrested, nothing is always okay in politics, but things are getting calmer and I am sure it is not anything that would play out, because I did nothing wrong as Leader of the opposition”, he said in an interview at the ongoing Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja Nigeria.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com/Abuja

“Let us do our best to keep our sub regional boarders open” —-ECOWAS Chairman

Chairman of the Authority of Heads of States and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), President Nana Akufo-Addo has urged member states to do their best in keeping their borders open at all times.

According to him closure of land borders imped free movement of people, goods and services which in turn affects the livelihoods of the citizenry.

He further made a case that, for the African Free Continental Trade Area (AfCTFA) to be beneficiary for fall, “we must ensure that our borders do not become an instrument for retrogression”.

In the wake of economics dwindling, which is resulting in economic hardship caused by COVID-19, as member states have become concerned with the spread of the deadly virus and illegal movement of arms, he urged the MPs to reflect on the process of regional integration through its deliberation by bringing to the table for discussion view points of the people they represent.

Again, he pointed out that he has no doubt that the Community Parliament would stand firm to these demand and pledged support to the Community parliament in realizing its mandate and his presence alone should attest to that.

“I am committed, to help strengthen the Community Parliament, and again I would like to see all ECOWAS institutions collaborate to see development of our Community”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Direct election of ECOWAS MPs would give legitimacy to Parliament—Akufo-Addo

In the wake of debate to get lawmakers in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament directly elected, Chairman of the Authority of Heads of States and Government, President Nana Akufo-Addo has boosted that call by pointing out the need to equip the parliament with the necessary powers to heighten its responsibility.

According to him Article 18 of the Supplementary Act on enhancement of power talks about election of MPs by universal adult suffrage, “we should all agree that direct elections by the citizens would give true legitimacy to the institution at the same time forester the requirement of accountability to our people”.

He further noted that it would be a bold step in the realization of our resolve to move ECOWAS from state, to ECOWAS of people. “I need to state my firm commitment and support for any proposal aim at directly electing MPs”

Addressing the Community Parliament at the opening of the first Ordinary Session for this year, be noted that observer mission from ECOWAS who have observed, elections conducted in member states in their report noted that there is much improvement needed in sub-regional electoral system.

“Our democracy is still young and fragile, I am confident that we would overcome most of the deals being witnessed at the moment, and a lot would depend on holding free, fair and credible elections for which we would continue to strive for perfection”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com/Abuja

Burning of Excavators: AG must be summoned to Parliament—Haruna

In the wake of the crusade against illegal mining (galamsey) resulting in the burning of excavators, Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu is demanding that the Attorney General and Minister for Justice be summoned before the House.

According to him he has gone through media reports on president Nana Akufo-Addo’s comments on the burning of excavators, in accordance with Article 88 of the 1992 constitution, as the AG is the principal adviser to the government.

“Why the president should not be held in check on the breach of the laws of Ghana, as the president said some evidence and materials must be provided that burning of excavators is sanction by the laws of Ghana”.

He further pointed out that, he wants the president to lead Ghana by going by his oath of office to uphold the constitution of Ghana and hold himself accountable to the laws of Ghana.

“No laws in Ghana today permits the burning of excavators, and we want this to be put on record”.

The Minority Leader made his point on the floor of the House after the Business Statement was presented on the floor of the House on Friday, May 28, 2021.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Vice President Taylor pushes for increased women participation in governance

Vice President of the Republic of Liberia, Jewel Howard-Taylor, has advocated for increased women participation in politics and governance in West African sub-region.

Dr. Howard-Taylor made the call while addressing the meeting of the Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS’ Female Parliamentary Association (ECOFEPA), at the sidelines of the ongoing 2021 First Extra Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja, Nigeria.

According to her, gender equality is a fundamental human right, yet women are underrepresented in power and decision-making roles in the region.

She noted that in the region’s national governance systems, women are only in the second and the third-tier levels while female leadership in political parties in the region is almost non-existent.

Dr. Howard-Taylor encouraged women to get involved in politics and overcome all forms of fear and intimidation.

“There are women everywhere, there are women everywhere, let’s go and find them, lets encourage them, women are trained, women are educated and have experience but they are afraid of the political process because of all the threats, all of the violence, all of the negativity that comes with a woman standing in her space, so we must encourage one another that we can’t continue to stand down, we must fight.”

The Liberian Vice President encouraged women to join political parties as a platform to participate in governance.

“So, the grassroots work we have to do is to encourage women to get involved in political parties first, many women are not members of political parties and if you are not a member of a political party, then your journey is one hundred steps behind because it is under the political party’s framework that the democratic space is created.”

 She also challenged the ECOWAS Parliament to push for appropriate implementation of the community protocol on gender and human equality across regional and local governments.

Dr. Howard-Taylor called on the Community Parliament to reject any list from countries that are short of thirty percent women’s representation to the Parliament.

She advocated that ECOFEPA be made one of the strongest arms of the ECOWAS Parliament, and called for adequate budgetary allocation to ECOFEPA for it to be effective.


ECOWAS Parliament condemns military takeover in Mali— Speaker Tunis Affirms

Speaker of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Parliament, His Excellency Rt Honorable Dr Sidie Mohamed Tunis has affirmed that the regional parliament is condemning in its entirety the military takeover in the Republic of Mali.

The Speaker made this statement in his welcome address on the opening ceremony of the ECOWAS Parliament’s 1st 2021 Ordinary Session ongoing in Abuja, in the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Thursday, May 27,2021.

Whilst delving on the efforts made so far by ECOWAS Parliament regarding the situation in Mali, the ECOWAS Speaker said “earlier this year, I led a Parliamentary Fact-Finding Mission to that Country and held discussions with all Stake Holders in the transition process. We were assured by all parties of their commitment towards a transition to democratic rule.”

Unfortunately, the Speaker said “we have observed a few days ago, a dramatic shift in the political situation, which led to the arrest of the Transitional President, His Excellency Bah N’Daw and the Prime Minister, Mr. Moctar Ouane.”

Speaker Tunis emphasized that “the ECOWAS Parliament condemns, in the strongest terms, the military takeover in Mali and all acts in the region that threatens or stalls the process of entrenching Democracy across our States.”

According to Tunis, many efforts have been made in securing a peaceful and stable ECOWAS and “it is about time we take firm and decisive actions against forces that tend to reverse this trend,” adding that “the ECOWAS Parliament stands ready to support all efforts aimed at putting Mali on the right trajectory of peace and democracy.”

President of ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Jean-Claude Kassi Brou whilst deliberating on the issue in the Republic of Mali said as a community, ECOWAS has engaged the current authorities in Mali for the immediate release of the former Interim President and former Interim Prime Minister. He assured that in the coming days, they will have to brief the various organs of ECOWAS and ensure that decision is taken.

Meanwhile, it should be noted that the Republic of Mali is one of the 15 member states of the ECOWAS, with 6 Members of Parliament representing it in the ECOWAS Parliament. In that country, the interim president and prime minister resigned on Wednesday, two days after they were arrested by the military.

President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane were said to have been taken to a military base outside the capital on Monday after a cabinet reshuffle in which two officers lost their posts.

The intervention led by Vice President Assimi Goita, according to international press, has jeopardised Mali’s transition back to democracy after a coup in August overthrew former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

It has provoked international condemnation and raised fears that a political crisis in Bamako could affect regional security. 


Akufo-Addo condemns Mali coup, calls for immediate meeting with heads of states

Chairman of the Authority of Heads of States and Governments, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana has condemned the recent military coup in Mali, calling for the immediate need to convene a meeting with his colleagues.

He made this remark on Thursday, May 27,2021 in Abuja during the opening of the 2021 First Extra Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament.

 According to him, ECOWAS has spent a lot of political and material resources in restoring democracy to Mali after the last junta in 2020, hence the need for decisive actions by ECOWAS Presidents on Mali.

He, however, noted that as Chair of the Authority, he already sent a high-level mediation team led by former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan to look into the crises but was yet to receive reports on the situation.

“We condemn the unfortunate situation of Mali which ECOWAS has invested so much of its political and material resources. As current Chair of the Authority, I authorized an ECOWAS delegation comprising a high-level mediator in the Malian crises, former President of the Republic of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, Ghana’s Foreign Minister, Shirley Botchway who is also Chair of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, Chair of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou to access the situation and report back to me”.

According to him, he is yet to receive first-hand report on the situation due to bad weather conditions that affected travels.

“My take is that we should call on the immediate Extraordinary Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of States and Governments which is responsible for ironing out the transitional arrangement to decide on the way forward for ECOWAS and Mali”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

ECOWAS Parliament is shot of fifteen more females—Jewel Taylor

The Vice-President of Liberia Jewel Taylor, has lamented over the shot fall of fifteen females in the current composition of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) Parliament, indicating that out of the one hundred and fifteen (115) members, there are only twenty (20) females.

According to her the ECOWAS Parliament existing protocols provide that there should be a minimum of thirty percent of females.

She made this known on Thursday, May 27, 2021 when she delivered a good will message at the opening of the first Ordinary Session 2021 of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja Nigeria. “May I request that we ensure that the rules governing this parliament of national representation is respected”, he added.

And appealed to the various national Parliaments of the fifteen member states to do their best and ensure that the thirty percent quota is respected. “I recommend that this regional body takes the political will in implementing the protocols that they have singed by demonstrating its full commitment to gender equality”.

The vice-president further noted that the issue of gender equality has been discussed at the global level, and there should be consensus among all stakeholders so that women would be included in all government frameworks.

“If fifty percent of the world’s population who are women are excluded from governance, we would have only fifty percent of the energy, innovation and capacity of growth and development and fifty percent is not just enough for our national parliament and regional parliament”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

The biggest challenge of governance is ideas not finance – Francis Sosu

For the Member of Parliament for Madina, Francis-Xavier Sosu the biggest challenge of governance is not necessarily finance, but ideas, adding that the ability to attract finance also has everything to do with ideas.

Reacting to how he would be able to secure funds to execute the projects and programmes for his constituency, he noted that it is imperative for MPs to be able to put together good ideas and policies backed by good governance structure with the right caliber of personnel to make it easy to attract the needed finances for projects.

“It is all about having a good governance strategy, having a good policy and having strategic management directions for your team and you can achieve your goal and that is what we’re doing”, he stated in an interview with Ghanamps.com.

According to him, his office has a very elaborate structure; a governing board made up of professionals and chaired by a Medical Doctor and an administrator. And the governing board reviews everything he does.

According to him, infrastructure is capital intensive, hence they are limited, because they have to depend on government to release funds, so if government does not provide the infrastructure, “the best i can do is advocacy, and that will be all. But to raise fiscal fund to go and build road, that i would not be able to do it”.

Dominic Shirimori/Ghanamps.com