September 30, 2023

The Leader of Ghana’s delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament, Alexander Afenyo Markin has asserted that there should not be any justification for military coups to overthrow democratically elected regimes in the sub-region; not even the barbaric onslaught from jihadists and terrorists groups and the economic challenges of the various countries.

According to him, the answer to these acts of terror and economic challenges lies within our democratic institutions, standing as bastions of hope and fortitude amidst the turmoil.

Mr. Afenyo-Markin speaking at the opening ceremony of the High-Level Interactive Seminar and the Extraordinary Session of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament on September 29, 2023 noted that “the recent resurgence of military coups threatens to drag us back to an era we have fought tirelessly to transcend. We must firmly CONDEMN the coups in Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Chad, and Gabon, along with the hostilities in Sudan.

These actions are a betrayal of the democratic principles we hold dear, and we demand a swift return to constitutional rule. We must affirm, unequivocally, that regression is not the solution. Our golden age lies ahead of us, not in the shadows of the 1960s to 1980s.”

The theme of the discourse is, “The Challenges of Tenure Elongation and Unconstitutional Regime Change in West Africa – The Critical Role of the ECOWAS Parliament”.

According to him, it is under the shade of democracy that we can cultivate the progress we aspire to. It is here that we can construct the schools that will nurture the minds of our future leaders. It is here that we can build modern hospitals to heal our people and foster technology to propel Africa into an era of supreme industrialization in the wake of the AfCFTA. “Together, we can construct robust and resilient economies that will position Africa as a formidable competitor on the global stage.”

The Deputy Majority Leader of Ghana’s Parliament said the theme for the seminar is not just a call for reflection, but a clarion call for action as the sub-region finds itself at a pivotal moment in history where the pillars of democracy are being challenged and shaken.

He, however noted that, taking inspiration from Kofi Annan that “though there is no one model of democracy, it is essential that the principles of democracy, human rights and freedoms are upheld universally”; it gives a renewed commitment to enhance our democratic systems, making them more responsive to the needs and aspirations of every citizen, regardless of where they find themselves on the broad spectrum of society.

“Indeed, no form of governance has ever been perfect, yet history has proven time and again that democracy stands as the best option for nations seeking development in peace and harmony. Even in its imperfections, it carries within its structures the capacity to rise above the ills that afflict it, fostering environments where innovation, justice, and freedom thrive. It is incumbent upon us, the custodians of this sacred trust, to continually refine and enhance these structures, ensuring that they remain resilient in the face of the ever-changing challenges that our societies encounter”, he stated.

He condemned the actions of leaders who unlawfully modify their constitutions to perpetuate their hold on power; stating that it is a grave affront to the principles of democracy, which enshrine the fundamental rights of citizens to choose their leaders and to live under a government that is held accountable for its actions.

Mr. Afenyo-Markin thus indicated that “as we traverse this difficult period, we must remain vigilant, standing firm against the erosion of these principles and fighting to protect the sanctity of our democratic processes.”