Tenure Elongation: Overriding Member States’ Sovereignty Not Part Of Our Mandate -Tunis

The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Sidie Tunis has said that ECOWAS respects the sovereignty of Member States, even as he restated that Amending Constitution to enable incumbent recontest is the exclusive internal affairs of the Member States. 

Tunis made this clarification while responding to a question on what the subregional body intends to do with leaders of its Members States’, who Amends Constitution to enable them stay in office longer, against the backdrop of the recent development in Senegal and Cote d’ Ivoire. 

“We cannot dictate to Member States on how to conduct their internal affairs. In any case, it is the prerogative of the citizens of those countries to accept or reject Constitutional Amendment, since they will be referendum on whether to approve or disapprove the Amendment.

“Don’t also forget that, to be able to contemplate Amending a Constitution, means the leader is popular.”

He explained that the ECOWAS Parliament is in the process of sending a delegation to Senegal on a fact-finding mission. 

Tunis use the opportunity of the media parley to appeal to citizens of sub-region to remained calm as 

inoculations for Covid-19 get underway across the West Africa subregion.

Tunis said the Parliament is pushing for the availability of the Vaccine to all members within the sub-region, just as he called on government to prioritize vaccination for citizens irrespective of their status.

“In the light of the fight against COVID-19, it gives a sigh of relief to note that governments and Health Institutions within the sub-region have started procuring and acquiring vaccines

“This is a welcome development and as a Parliament we will continue to push and ensure that vaccines are made available t0 every citizen of the sub region.

“However, let me encourage everyone to keep all measures to keep us safe from contracting COVID -19 by observing all COVID-19 preventive measures.

“The ECOWAS Parliament is advocating for governments to prioritize vaccines for everyone, health of the citizens is more important than any other projects.

”The vaccines should be available to everyone irrespective of who you are, either rich or poor”, Tunis said.

Tunis noted that although the fifth legislature was inaugurated amid the COVID-19 crisis and one year after, great achievements have been recorded in policy advocacy and interventions in Member States.

The speaker said that after the opening of the borders in 2020, the Parliament had three delocalized meetings in three different countries in the sub-region which yielded positive results.

“The opening of the borders motivated us to swing into action. We quickly rose to the occasion and organized three joint committee meetings in three different countries of the sub-region.

“It is worthy of mentioning that these meetings continue to yield positive results on member states.

“It is gratifying to report that some governments and National Assemblies in the sub-region have started implementing and adjusting policies on issues such as Cyber Security, African Continental Free Trade Area.

“Communications and education, economic policies and so much more. These developments were a direct outcome of our joint committee meetings.

“Arising from this meeting in December 2020 in Lagos, the report of the ad-hoc committee on direct Universal Suffrage recommends that parliaments ensure the elections of Members by Direct Universal Suffrage before the end of the fifth legislation March 2024.

“Since inauguration, Members of parliaments and staff have joined in strengthening election observation missions to five Member States; Guinea, Burkina Faso, Cotde d’Ivoire, Mali and Niger”, Tunis said.

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