News / Africa

ECOWAS Seeks to Strengthen Its Parliament’s Mandate

Peter Clottey
A five-day conference focused on strengthening the legislative mandate of the Economic Community of West States (ECOWAS) parliament ends Friday in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.

ECOWAS' Communications Director Sonny Ugoh says the meeting considered proposals that would ensure the regional parliament’s role is enhanced to a level in which its decisions would be binding on member states. Currently, the parliament acts in an advisory capacity.

ECOWAS Communications Director Sonny Ugoh (Courtesy: ECOWAS)ECOWAS Communications Director Sonny Ugoh (Courtesy: ECOWAS)
x
ECOWAS Communications Director Sonny Ugoh (Courtesy: ECOWAS)
ECOWAS Communications Director Sonny Ugoh (Courtesy: ECOWAS)
​“The whole idea of the meeting is to make proposals to see how we can move parliament from an advisory position, which it is now, to ultimately have core legislative functions,” continued Ugoh. “Now we are moving beyond a non-binding parliament to a parliament whose decisions would be binding on the community… within the context of the ECOWAS regional integration.”

Ugoh outlined some of the proposals being considered at the conference.

“The idea is to see how we can strengthen them in the area of approving [ECOWAS] community budget, in the area of participating in the process of appointing statutory appointees, [and] in the process of involvement in our integration project,” said Ugoh.

“This is valuable because as part of our objectives the vision of making sure that by 2020 our activities are citizen driven [and] citizen focused,” he said. “There is no greater way to ensure this than to involve the parliament in this process.”

The 115-member ECOWAS parliament is mainly made up of recommended legislators from current parliamentary representatives from member nations.

Ugoh, however, says the new proposals under consideration would change how the regional parliament is formed.

“The proposal is [that] we should have an electoral college that would elect members of parliament from the parliament of member states as it is now. Members would be elected by electoral college of their peers from member states,” said Ugoh. 

In 2006, regional leaders called on the ECOWAS Commission to come up with a mechanism to strengthen the role of the parliament. But the process stalled following political and security challenges in member nations.

Ugoh says ECOWAS is committed to going ahead with the project despite the political and security challenges.

“I must admit that it could have happened earlier, but considering the circumstances of West African, I think we have made some reasonable progress,” Ugoh said. “We believe that now that we have gotten to this point, we’ll progressively increase the tempo of activities in marching towards a parliament that heads of state and the people of West Africa desire.”
Clottey interview with Sonny Ugoh, ECOWAS communications director
Clottey interview with Sonny Ugoh, ECOWAS communications directori
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid