H.E Sidie Mohamed Tunis, speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament during a 5-day meeting of the ECOWAS joint committee on political affairs, peace and security- APRM, legal Affairs and Human Rights, Social Affairs, Gender and women’s empowerment has said that many democracies have difficulties globally; attributing these failures often to the lack of trust and accountability.
Hon. Tunis continued that there is regime change and reforms in many parts of the world as in Africa. The fragility of our democracies is caused by electoral abuse, ethnic divisions, mismanagement of natural resources, poverty, and economic insecurity.
He added that there is a need for political will and action to counter these problems, noting that these are better achieved through ‘our institutions’.
“It is said that integration is about people. Indeed, it is high time our region derives the benefits of our many years of integration, and it is our duty as Parliamentarians to contribute to the efficient and effective implementation of objectives and policies of the Community.”
He disclosed that the ECOWAS Parliament is present in Banjul to deliberate on the challenges in the Implementation and the oversight role of the ECOWAS Parliament on community texts relating to Peace, Security, Democracy and Good Governance.
He reiterated that there are a significant number of adopted community texts targeted at preventing, managing and/or settling conflicts in the community space, while adding that those texts have been designed to maintain and promote peace and regional security.
According to him, that is one of the most advanced political integration achievements by any regional organisation in the world yet our region is still suffering from an onslaught of political instability, conflict, terrorism, banditry, and criminality.
However, he pointed out that it is within Parliament’s competences to exercise oversight functions to ensure that community texts are implemented effectively and work towards the harmonisation of sectoral policies and legislations of Member States, as stated in article 4 (l) of the Supplementary Act.
Additionally, he stated that the pertinent issues relating to instability and governance in our region are evident in our daily lives, “the loss of lives and destruction is ever-present in our news headlines, almost on a daily basis.”
“The question is, should we as members of Parliament remain indifferent to the plight of our people? Should we fold our arms and watch the safely and security of our people consistently compromised by the lawless few?”
He continued: “We are aware, we are fighting back, but now we must fight back harder in the most effective manner. The people handed us the power and indeed, we must utilise that power in ways that can ensure successes,'” he noted.
The role of the ECOWAS Parliament, he said, is essential in safeguarding the principles of democracy, human rights, rule of law, accountability and also responsible for rebuilding the trust between the people and governments.