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

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Kurdish service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs