By Abdul Malik Bangura
Leader of Sierra Leone Delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament, Honourable Chernor Ramadan Maju Bah has called on the ECOWAS Commission to be more proactive in responding to issues in the subregion that have likelihood of threatening peace and security between ECOWAS, rather than strategising on resolving disputes.
Hon. Bah made this comments in response to the presentation of the President of ECOWAS Commission Jean-Claude KassiBrou on the state of the ECOWAS community which was presented on Wednesday 2nd June 2021 at the ongoing 1st 2021 Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament.
During his presentation on the status of peace and democracy in the region, the ECOWAS Commission President confirmed that the commission has conducted observation mission for Benin and Niger Presidential Elections, as well as Legislative Elections in Cape Verde.
The President of ECOWAS Commission further added that following the military takeover in the Republic of Mali, ECOWAS Council of Head of States and Governments held an Extraordinary Summit to demand the immediate and unconditional release of all transition dignitaries, suspend Mali from ECOWAS Institutions in line with ECOWAS provisions, call for a new civilian Prime Minister to be nominated immediately, reaffirm the need to respect the 18 months transition until the 27th February 2022 Presidential election and reiterated that the Head of the Transition, the Vice-President, and the Prime Minister should not run for the Presidential election.
Against this backdrop, the Sierra Leonean Head of Delegation charged the ECOWAS Commission Chief for the regional body to be more proactive than being reactive in preventing the reoccurrence of the Malian situation.
He cited that “we have raised instances in Sierra Leone where the current government has been taking actions that undermine the peace and democracy in the region.
We saw the imposition of a Speaker of Parliament on the majority of MPs in Sierra Leone. We saw the removal of ten (10) elected Members of Parliament. We saw the government wanting a midterm census which has no legal basis in Sierra Leone. We also saw an opposition operative today jailed for criticising the current government in Bo district. All of these, like in Mali are signs of undermining democracy but the commission is doing nothing despite the numerous letters we have written and sent for your attention.”
Hence, Hon Bah suggested that the ECOWAS Commission must now rearrange itself to setup robust mechanisms to address cases that have the tendency to undermine peace and democracy in the region rather than waiting until there is a total breakdown like in the Republic of Mali.