By John Okeke
Members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament have called for urgent actions from the Community’s Institutions to stop the trend distortion of democratic rule in Member States.
The ECPWAS Parliamentarians made the call on Wednesday during the technical section of the ongoing High-level Parliamentary Seminar in Winneba Ghana.
The parliamentary Seminar with the theme “Two Decades of Democratic Elections in ECOWAS Member States: Achievements, Challenges, Challenges and the Way Forward” seeks to proffer solutions to electoral inconsistencies in Member States.
Hon. Ladi Ayamba, a Member of Parliament from Ghana who lamented the situation said ECOWAS has the solutions to the problems but needs to put in political will and affirmative actions.
According to Ayaba, the situations in Mali and Guinea could have been averted if ECOWAS was proactive.
“To me, it was a shame when ECOWAS went to Guinea for mediation when an action could have been taken when the people had opposed the change of constitution which led to the coup d’ tat.
“ECOWAS had every opportunity before the situation escalated but treated the situation very likely simple, and then it became a big problem.
“It is about time ECOWAS sit up and take actions before situations become problems,” said.
Similarly, Hon. Fatoumata Njai, representing Banjul South, The Gambia lamented the recent incidences of Coup d’état in Mali and Guinea as she feared it would soon become a norm in other Member States.
Njali said it is important for ECOWAS bodies to act now that the problem is “domestic” before ECOWAS will begin for soliciting international interventions.
“We though Coup d’état was a thing of the past but unfortunately it is becoming a trend.
“First it was unlawful amendment of constitution in Mali, then Guinea, then Cote d’ Ivoire, and we know what is happening in my country, the Gambia.
“We beg you not to sleep and turn a blind eye to this, stop it now before it becomes too late,” Njai said.
Prof. Dakas Dakas, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (NAN) and Expert of the Seminar also reiterated the need for proactive actions, especially in countries where there are already threats of altering constitutions.
Dakas said that laws must be put in place by the regional institutions to stop the amendments of constitutions by Presidents who wants to remain longer in power
“ECOWAS needs to be more proactive instead of the fire brigade approach.
“It is clear that there is room for improvements, and it is obvious that there is enough work to be done in proactive engagements.
“It is important that diversity of mechanisms are put in place and commitments to advancing the course of democracy in the sub-region,” Dakas said.