January 19, 2021

Ghana’s representative to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament’s Ad Hoc Committee, Clement Kofi Humado has urged his colleagues who are opposed to the idea of election of MPs to be calm.

The Ad Hoc Committee is assigned to draw a road on the election of lawmakers.

According to him the issue of direct election universal adult suffrage has been on the statuary books for a long time and it is not something that is starting now, as the issue has been considered over and over.

Mr. Humado further pointed out in an interview that recent experience where lawmakers of the Parliament are nominated from their National Assembly, burdens them with double assignments, and they are unable to devote full time to the work of the ECOWAS Parliament.

And with the enhancement of the powers of the Parliament, it calls for more dedication, and commitment of the MPs to fulfill their duties; but because of the double allegiance to their national parliament and the Community Parliament, “many people do not stay for the session”.

“That is why the issue of election has come back to the burner. What do we do as lawmakers, do we continue the old system where we are not able to perform, or we do what the statutory books of the Commission has said? In every change there are people who feel uneasy, this particular process is like preparing our own coffins”.

He further added that lawmakers are being elected from their national Assemblies, then they themselves say no they should be elected. It means most of them would not return to the ECOWAS Parliament, “unless we submit ourselves to elections in our various countries, I believe that is the fear of most of our people; the fear of losing our candidacy in the present parliament”.

Mr. Humado further emphasized that his colleagues need to think about the Community as a whole, as the issue of electing lawmakers is the yearning demand of the citizens of the Community and that they want their MPs elected.

Some lawmakers at the just ended second ordinary 2021 virtual meeting were of the view that, they were not ready for election into the Community Parliament. But Mr Humado disagrees, saying; “I do not think so, it is a process, it is not that as soon as we adopt the paper the process starts”.

He gave the example of the monetary union, saying “it has been on the drawing board for a long time and convergence criteria has been set, but any time the deadline approaches there is re-assessment and it comes out that, we are not ready so we should postpone”.

And this one too in the same way, the target is the sixth Parliament 2024, it has been set and if the time comes and assessment done and they are not ready, it would be deferred, “so I don’t see the fears of most of our colleagues”, he concluded.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com