December 26, 2023

One major concern for political watchers with regards to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament is whether we will ever get to a point of electing its lawmakers.

This, a member of the 5th Parliament, Hon Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah said requires strong leadership and political will to achieve.

According to him if there is a strong leadership and political will the election of ECOWAS MPs will be achieved and blames the current leadership for not doing much to actualize this important feat.

He asserts that the current Speaker Rt. Hon Sidie Mohammed Tunis came with the drive to have direct elections to the Community Parliament actualized; unfortunately that drive fizzled down.

“I do not know what happened and why he could not push for this agenda or whether the Authority of Heads of States and Government decided not to accept his proposal or is from him personally or from us as MPs from the ECOWAS Parliament. It has not happened. Whoever is taking over in the 6th legislature that is the next Parliament, should be able to drive this agenda home and should be one of the priority areas for that person to leave a legacy that during my tenure in office I was able to get members elected into that Parliament.”

“We are progressing, we cannot continue retrogressing, look at the number of countries who are no longer part of the ECOWAS parliament; if you add Niger it is going to be four. Look at Guinea Bissau the president has suspended the parliament”.

Rt. Hon Tunis

Thus, instead of fifteen member states, we are eleven. Where are we going with this? this shows there is something wrong with us as a people in the sub-region, he stated.

He indicated that he is reinforcing the crusade to get MPs from ECOWAS Parliament to be elected. “And as one of the MPs, I have been saying if we cannot do it now parliament can elect people who would be permanently of the Community parliament.”

Mr Bedzra also stated that it is difficult to belong to two parliaments and be effective. “If we have MPs who have been elected from their parliaments as we have in East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA), even if there is a coup the MPs could continue but now we are nominees from our various national Assemblies.

So if your national assembly has been suspended or there is a coup, you cannot have same members from the National Assembly serving in the community parliament.

Those of us who are democrats, we want MPs to the Community Parliament elected. It means your national assembly could nominate people and vote on them, so that they can be part of the Community Parliament, so they are there not belonging to your national assembly, he emphasized.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/