July 17, 2023

As the sub-regional bloc of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has started strongly kicking against amending constitutions to allow Presidents to bid for third term with Senegal being a success story, Mr. Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah, a member of the Ghanaian delegation to the Community Parliament,  is strongly advocating for the sub-regional bloc to keep its turn its focus on Togo, Benin, Gambia and Ivory Coast.

According to him in the case of the Republic of Togo there are claims that H. E. President Faure Gnassingbe was not going to run again but from every indication since the constitution has been amended there are indications that he is going to start from the begging.

“This means the two terms he has done would not be counted so he is going to start from a clean sheet and only God knows how many years; so Togo should be watched. Again, another country is the Gambia, one, they do not have a term limit, we should be able to tell them to put a term limit as per the term limit plate developed by ECOWAS”.

This, he noted, would help ensure that H. E. President Adama Barrow steps down when he finishes his second term. “He should step aside for someone else; but from every indication from what we are hearing it is likely he will run again; we need to put our Satellites on that”.

On lawmakers in the sub-region of various Parliaments and National Assemblies, he noted that, “we  are our own enemies; we create the problems for ourselves, adding that as MPs you should stand by your own standard of democracy that no one should temper with the law on our constitutions on third terms” .

Emmanuel Bedzrah recounted his  experience at the first Ordinary Session in Abuja – Nigeria and lamented saying “blame MPs; for instance in the case of Senegal our colleague Vilane who we know spoke his mind. He was supporting a third term bid of H. E President Macky Sall until he changed his mind recently. I was surprised that a person of that stature was going that way, he should have called that their constitution should not be amended”.

“So, if you have people of that nature in the Community Parliament who would be singing the praise of their president and allow their constitution to be tempered with, then we have a challenge”.

Again, in the case of Burkina Faso they did not have issues about their constitution but had issue on state security when they had people from the Sahel coming down to take over their own government.

Guinea Bissau was a case where the president decided to close down parliament; “ECOWAS Parliament did very well by putting pressure on them and the meeting, we had in Bissau helped and now they have conducted their own elections; new members have been elected and so there is national assembly”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com