By Kemi Yesufu
Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament Sidie Tunis on Tuesday announced the parliament will look into all post-election developments in five countries where elections held last year until they are legally and reasonably concluded.
Recall that five members states held elections in 2020, they include Ghana, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Cote d’ Ivoire and Niger. However, Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire are still faced with post Electoral issues arising from the decision of the Presidents to contest for a third term in office.
Tunis made the disclosure during the opening of the virtually held the Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament. Speaker, Sidie Tunis reiterated the Parliament’s call for all stakeholders in the electoral process to support fair an credible elections across the region.
In reference to Mali, where a transitional government is in place, following the toppling of President Ibrahim Keita, Tunis said the Parliament would continue to watch with keen interest developments in that country while another Fact-Finding Mission would be sent to monitor the situation.
He said: “You may recall that a Parliamentary Fact-Finding Mission was sent to that country in August of 2020, to ascertain unfolding developments at the time. Unfortunately, the mission could not go on as planned due to uncertainties brought upon the Republic by the staged coup. Nevertheless, it is still very important that we engage all stakeholders in the Malian political realm to work out genuine peace and stability in the West African State. Against this front, I, in consultation with the Bureau, shall reconstitute and dispatch another Fact-Finding Mission to the Republic of Mali in the no distant future”.
He stated that the objective of the mission was to assess the current political situation and advise the Parliament on areas that need their intervention.
As they considered the budget, he reminded that they are now responding to the worst global pandemic in a century, stressing that overcoming those challenges in the interests of the citizens should be the Parliament’s major priority.
“It is also not enough that the budget surmounts the immediate threats brought upon us by COVID-19, it should also advance efforts to make progress on other fronts and priorities which our region continues to value: democracy, rule of law, peace and conflict resolution, the fight against terrorism, poverty reduction and climate change. These are our core missions, and we must seek to deliver on them.”
In November of 2020, the Bureau of Parliament, met in Cotonou, Republic of Benin to consider and adopt the 2021 Budget of the ECOWAS Parliament, which was formulated in accordance with the ECOWAS Financial Regulations and Accounting Guidelines and Procedure. The budget, as adopted by the Bureau, sought to strengthen economic and social development, reinforce security and support democratic values in the ECOWAS sub-region as directed by the Extraordinary Summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government held on 23rd April 2020. It also focuses on high impact programs and projects that have long-lasting effect that meets priority needs of the ECOWAS Member States and represents an increase of UA 785,404 or4.00% from the approved Revised Budget UA 19,649,080for 2020.
The ECOWAS Parliament Speaker added: “Another important highlight of our session is the presentation of the Strategic Plan of the 5th Legislature (2020-2024) of the ECOWAS Parliament, which has been drafted by the Administration of the Parliament under the supervision of our outstanding Secretary General. This document, which is guided by the provisions of the Community Strategic Framework (CSF 2016 – 2020) and the current ECOWAS Vision 2020, identifies program areas, with themes and priorities that would systematically assist the Parliament in executing its mandate, as defined by the Supplementary Act. I shall be constituting an Ad-hoc Committee to consider this robust plan within the weeks following this session and report to the plenary during our next session for its consideration and adoption.”
Six new Parliamentarians were sworn-in into the regional Parliament at the commencement of the Session.
The newly sworn-in Members of Parliament Liberia and the Republic of Guinea are Jonathan Lambort Kaipay(Liberia), Souleymane Keita (Guinea), Hon. Ramatoulaye Labbo Diallo (Guinea), Bandian Neiba Conde (Guinea), Aboubacar Soumah (Guinea) and Hon Boubacar Diallo (Guinea).
The Ecowas Parliament, also known as the Community Parliament, comprises National Assembly members representing the 15 different National Assemblies in the sub-region. Hon. Kebba K Barrow heads the Gambia’s current delegation to the Parliament.