August 26, 2020

In the wake of the Malian coup d’état and the dissolution of their National Assembly by the military junta, the status of their lawmakers in the Community Parliament has come into sharp focus.

A member of Ghana’s delegation to the fifth Community Parliament, Mahama Ayariga has said it is more a complex situation and no straight forward answer can be given, but added the issue can be looked at along several scenarios.

In a telephone interview, he explained that under a constitutional rule, there were circumstances which the Malian President could have dissolved the National Assembly but did not act in that constitutional provisional capacity.

As at the time the military took over, the National Assembly was still in existence. They were the ones who dissolved it and that dissolution may not be reocognised by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), he said.

Mr. Ayariga further pointed out that ECOWAS is supposed to act on the assumption that there is a National Assembly in Mali and it then means the sworn in delegation of Mali at the last virtual Extra Ordinary Session would remain as MPs and be able to attend Sessions of the Community Parliament.

He was however quick to point out that, among the Malian MPs in the Community Parliament, there is an issue in the sense that, “I do not have all the facts”, one or two of them were asked to resign from their National Assembly because the problem in Mali was triggered by a flaw parliamentary election; where, thirty-one (31) lawmakers were declared not to have rightly won their elections and should resign for the conduct of a re-run of election.

He said his thinking was that if any of the ECOWAS MPs is among the thirty-one (31), their status in the parliament can be questioned by virtue of an ECOWAS decision, adding that those MPs should resign.

This has not come up because nobody has questioned the membership of the names given to the ECOWAS parliament that has been sworn in.

“My position on the matter is that to the extent that ECOWAS does not recognize the military coup and their decision, we as a parliament would act on the assumption that there is a national assembly and the members of the delegate remain members of the Parliament”.

And further added that, if ECOWAS recognize the new military regime, the Parliament would be forced to conduct itself like the assembly has be dissolved.

As to whether direct election to the Community Parliament would help address the issue of coup d’état that is refusing to disappear from the West African sub-region, he responded in the affirmative .

“If we take a position that MPs from Mali are not members of the Community Parliament, then it means we recognize the coup d’état and the position of the military dissolving the Mali National Assembly”.  

Mr. Ayariga said, but members of the Malian delegation are in a difficult situation because if they hold themselves up as members of the Community Parliament, it then means as individuals they are not recognized by the military junta.

Again, they would be subjected to whatever measures the military would take against them individually, “do you get the complexity”.

Meanwhile in the same breath, if you hold yourself as a member of the Community Parliament from Mali you should be willing to fight the military junta. “I do not know if you are going to leave Mali which is a clear defiance of the military hence the more complexity”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/