Accra, Ghana-ECOWAS Parliamentary Chairman on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer Review Mechanism, Senator Edwin Melvin Snowe Jr., on Tuesday briefed Ghana’s President Nana AddoDankwaAkufo-Addo, ECOWAS current Chairman on the prevailing security situation in the region. The sub-regional grouping is presently holding its Eighty-Sixth Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers in Accra.
Though the full details of the briefing were not made known to this paper during a chat on the sideline of the ECOWAS summit, Mr. Snowe was quick to point out some of the security issues unfolding in the region that the regional body needs to take some tough stands.
He pointed out the worrying security situation in Mali and the recent clashes in Burkina Faso along the Ghanaian border that forced some citizens to flee into neighboring Ghana among others. Senator Snowerecently challenged his colleagues at the ECOWAS parliament to take robust action to protect constitutional and democratic rule in the sub-region especially in Mali where the military has taken overpower.
Speaking in Abuja, Nigeria during a plenary session to discuss the political situation in Mali, Senator Snowe expressed grave concern about happenings in that country and called on the regional body to look beyond the military takeover because, according to him, if care is not taken, the wave in which some governments are subverting the constitutions of their respective countries has the propensity to create more chaos in the sub-region.
“Sometimes the military take over through the guns, but there are other governments now coming to power through changing the constitution to perpetuate themselves in power,” Snowe asserted.“So, we should also look at that because after the military comes to power through the guns and you say there is a referendum and you change the constitution to give you a new mandate that is a coup by itself. So we need to look at it as a parliament and we need to look at it so that we will be able to debate the hard issues in our region and do a resolution on it”, he added.
He said to have a better understanding of what is happening in Mali which could also happen in any of the regional states is to look at some of the root causes of such crises.
The ECOWAS Parliamentary Security Chairman also spoke against the military government in Mali sending in appointed representatives to serve in the parliament, saying, every parliamentarian serving in the regional body was elected by their people and to allow the military Junta of Mali to send representation to the parliament, who are not elected would be a bad example and horrifying indication for the future.
He said the ECOWAS Court of Justice had ruled in the matter of representation at the ECOWAS parliament but it left the legislative body to accept the military regime representation as parliamentarians or to reject it. On the situation in Mali, Members of the Joint Committee expressed their deep concerns over the complete disregard of the legislative arm of government.
Meanwhile in a communique issued on June 9, at the end of the ECOWAS Parliamentary Joint Committee meeting in Abuja, Parliamentarians of the sub-regional body maintained that only Members of Parliament who are directly elected representatives of the people can sit at the ECOWAS parliament.
Thus, the Joint Committee stated that it deemed it necessary to reiterate its resolve not to allow any individual appointed by a military process to take the oath of office to become a Member of ECOWAS Parliament.
The Committee reaffirmed the decisions taken by ECOWAS Parliament at its Extraordinary Session in Freetown, March 2021, not to admit the Malian delegation appointed by the National Transitional Council of Mali.
The Joint Committee also took cognizance of the decisions taken by the Heads of State at their last Extraordinary Summit.
They drew attention to the fact that what happened in Mali could easily happen in any other Member State and was a clear indication of the current trend within the sub-region. They urged ECOWAS to take more proactive measures in order to forestall future occurrences and protect regional democracy. The Joint Committee was also of the view that ECOWAS should impose targeted sanctions on the military junta that would serve as a deterrent from future attempts and a chance to restore constitutional order.
Snowe who co-chaired the Joint Committee Meeting, urged Members of the Joint Committee to assiduously attend committee sittings given the important role the Joint Committee was expected to play in promoting peace, security and human rights in the region. By Othello B. Garblah