November 26, 2019
As the powers of the fourth Legislature of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have been enhanced, issue of absenteeism has come up with once again with Speaker Mustapha Cisse Lo expressing worry.

In the first Ordinary Session, the Speaker had cause to ensure allowance of lawmakers who do not show up are blocked and lamented over the poor attendance of Nigerians. In the ongoing second Ordinary Session, the community lawmakers have been cautioned they would have their allowances blocked if they fail to attend the session.

Ghana’s Member of Parliament for Anlo and member of the Community Parliament speaking on the development said a firm decision on the election of members to the community parliament should have been taken by now to address the situation.

According to the Anlo lawmaker, it is difficult for the lawmakers in the community Parliament to take such decision since they are representing other Parliaments as well. “If we make that recommendation, is like we are self destroying ourselves”.

He proposed that an independent institution would have to propose or make such a recommendation. The ECOWAS Commission have to recommend to the heads of that, but it would have to go through the Council of Ministers first before getting to the level of Authority of Heads of States.

When questioned during an interview if this proposal would receive favorable recognition from the Council of Minister, he responded that they should be able to understand the situation which would have a favourable response.

Mr. Humado pointed out that current situation of balancing once work as a lawmaker in the Community Parliament and the National Assembly is not easy, because one needs to attend to his party and constituency needs to.

“This issue has become serious because of the enhanced powers either to the legislature was just a consultative body, now more work is expected, we are expected to look at the community budget. We have delocalized oversight, two Ordinary Session in a year and extra Ordinary Sessions.

Also, so many things put pressure on us as lawmakers. The lasting solution may be election of MPs from the various member countries for the purpose of the representation of the ECOWAS Parliament”, he concluded.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/