December 17, 2018

Member of Parliament for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) from Ghana, Clement Kofi Humado has said election of MPs to the community Parliament is possible only if countries would fulfill their financial obligations.

According to the Anlo MP at the time of establishment of ECOWAS Parliament, the idea was to elect lawmakers for the community legislative body separately from their home country legislative body.

“The last time I looked at the ECOWAS budget, the total budget was less than ten percent, if we become permanent members may be twenty percent and it is still doable, provided all countries can contribute, and we are able to get enough money to run the community Parliament as resident Parliamentarians, not as go and come Parliamentarians”, he stated.

He further pointed out in an interview that the cost involved was what might probably frighten them, so they decided to use each countries national Assembly Legislators and added that in the beginning there were no enhanced powers and work was manageable.

“You come here make a comment on one or two issues and you go back to your home country, but now there is an enhanced powers, we are mandated to do oversight work not only for the agencies but even polices emanating from ECOWAS commission”.

Mr. Clement Kofi Humado said things emanating from the ECOWAS commission, the legislative body has to look at it putting additional work on MPs at the community legislative body, to the extent that, “we had to sit thirty (30) or more days”.

“As I am here in Abuja, I have lost a lot of days in Ghana, my committee in Ghana I can only follow them on whatapps, we are coming to a point where a decision must be taken that due to the load of work as an ECOWAS Parliamentarian. We should be elected  separately from the national  Assembly Legislators and face the cost, the  presence and work in ECOWAS Parliament  that is where we are getting now”, he emphasis.

“It is all about financial engineering, to bring in more funds dedicated to ECOWAS Parliament”.

As to whether there should be a time frame for the election of ECOWAS MPs, he responded in the affirmative, and said their discussions in the just ended ordinary session point to that fact except a time line was not given, “I believe when we meet in the next session this issue may crop up and we have to impress on the council of Ministers and heads of states to look at this issue critically”.

And indicated that as he gets back to Ghana’s Parliament he has to catch up with his colleague and pointed out that, “if we want a good job done by ECOWAS Parliamentarians, we have to take a decision on elections of MPs”.

Again when a request is made to the council of Ministers who are the technical arm of the Executive, they would look at the relevance of the request and put it such that when the heads of states meet they can also look at it.

“When they realize the volume of work we have in each sector, Health, Energy Education etc, and all that has become huge that demands our continues presence as legislators in ECOWAS Parliament, they would make a recommendation to the heads of states and then the they would say okay we agree it should be implemented”.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/