September 8, 2013

Commencing 2015, when it is hoped that the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) would have gained legislative powers, Ghana’s Parliament will be electing eight members to represent the nation at the ECOWAS.

By this, interested Members of Parliament (MPs), four each from the majority and the minority sides, will have to campaign for votes from their colleagues to be elected as ECOWAS Parliamentarians for a five-year term.

This came to light when the current eight Ghanaian members of the ECOWAS Parliament held a forum in Koforidua to sensitise the public on the Parliament and its integration process.

The forum also sought to make the public aware of the Parliament’s efforts in working towards gaining legislative powers to enable it serve the sub-region better.

Speaking at the sensitisation programme, Mr Alfred Kwame Agbesi, Leader of the delegation and MP for Ashaiman, said the ECOWAS Parliament presently plays largely advisory and consultative role which is very restrictive.

He said it was imperative that the powers of the Parliament are enhanced to equip it with the requisite powers to effectively fulfill the aspirations of the sub-region.

Mr Frederick Opare-Ansah, member of the ECOWAS Parliament and MP for Suhum, educated the public in a presentation on the theme: “The ECOWAS Parliament and the Integration Process.”

He said when the powers of the parliament are enhanced its oversight functions would be strengthened in the areas of sectoral policies and confirmation of statutory appointees.

It would also enable the integration of the parliament into the regional conflict resolutions and management architecture.

Answering questions from the public, the members of the ECOWAS Parliament said an enhanced institution would help address the frustrations citizens go through at the borders of member countries.

They stressed the need for Ghanaians to take the study of the French language seriously so that they do not find themselves wanting in any of the French countries in the sub-region.

Ms Mavis Ama Frimpong, Deputy Minister for the Eastern Region, praised Ghana’s representation at the ECOWAS Parliament for playing critical role in maintaining peace in the sub-region.

She also praised Ghanaians for continuing to maintain peace in the country a week after the Supreme Court verdict.

Other members of the delegation of the ECOWAS Parliament include, Mr Dan Botwe, MP for Okere, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, MP for Anyaa-Sowutuom, and Mr Simon Osei-Mensah, MP for Bosomtwi.

The rest were Mr Samson Ahi, MP for Bodi, Mr Ahmed Ibrahim, MP for Banda and Mr Dominic Azimbe Azumah, MP for Garu.

Mr Balado Manu, former MP for Ahafo Ano South and Mr Michael Teye Nyaunu, former MP for Lower Manya, graced the forum with their expertise as former members of the ECOWAS Parliament.