Alban Bagbin endorses election of ECOWAS MPs

The Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, has endorsed the call for the direct election of members to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament by the citizens of member States.

This comes a few days after the Chairperson of ECOWAS, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was appointed to serve as a “Champion” to the campaign of having members of the ECOWAS parliament elected.

Commenting on the issue at the second extraordinary session of the ECOWAS parliament at Winneba in the Central Region, he said, the election of members at the “regional level through direct universal suffrage is not only relevant but timely.”

“The dialogue on this matter must seek the quickest way to bring it to fruition,” and reiterated the support of Ghana’s Parliament to the ECOWAS Parliament in that regard.

On the same issue of elections, Mr Bagbin, said, touted ECOWAS as one of the most successful Regional Economic Communities, pointing to recent elections in Cape Verde (after 2010 military coup), Ghana (from 2000 to 2020) and Nigeria (from 2003 to 2019) as examples of successes chalked.

“These gains have offered us the opportunity to promote peacebuilding and better contain conflicts, bloodsheds, and other electoral violence in the subregion,” he said.

He, however, said the democratic achievements in the subregion were not achieved on a silver platter.

He explained that the achievements were reinforced by the Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), which facilitates work towards the harmonisation of electoral standards as well as sharing experiences in the subregion.

Additionally, the deployment of new technology in the elections such as the Biometric Verification Devices and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has enhanced the processes of conducting elections by way of reducing multiple registration and voting.

Military intermediations

The Speaker touched on military intermediations in some parts of the subregion, noting that, “it is important to state that the subregion has no business with military interventions.

“As it stands today, two out of fifteen Member States (Mali and Guinea) are under military rule. This development has high reaching implications, not only for the political stability of the region but for safety and security,” he stated.

“Military rule is an aberration from democratic ideals. As we all know, it leads to the denial of fundamental human rights and individual liberty. We cannot afford to subject our citizens to the backwardness associated with a military dictatorship. Those days should be gone and gone for good,” he emphasised.

“Given the above, the people of the subregion would expect the ECOWAS Parliament to initiate steps and contribute, not only towards reversing the current political impasse in Mali and Guinea, but also work towards discouraging any further military incursion, anywhere in the region,” Mr Bagbin said.

ECOWAS Parliament budget

On the consideration and adoption of the draft budget of the Institution, he urged members to make recommendations that would aid the alleviation of the “sufferings of the citizens and reduce their burdens in these trying times, especially those adversely impacted by the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“We must continue to address poverty in all its ramifications and create job opportunities for the people. I therefore urge you to execute your work in the interest of the people and for the purpose of advancing the progress of the Community,” he said.

READ ALSO: Akufo-Addo, Two Others To Champion Election Of ECOWAS Parliament Members

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