ECOWAS Parliament Harps on Denouncing Unconstitutional Change of Government

The Speaker of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Dr Sidie Mohamed Tunis, has said it is imperative for leaders in the sub-region to denounce those who start constitutional and institutional coups with the same zeal and tones as those who denounce military coups.

Tunis stated this in his opening remarks at the 2023 Parliamentary Seminar themed “The Challenges of Unconstitutional Regime Change and Presidential Term Limits in West Africa: The Role of the ECOWAS Parliament”.

He said: “We must denounce those who start constitutional and institutional coups
with the same zeal and tones as we denounce military coups.

“We must publicly denounce corruption, poor leadership, and anti-democratic forces while resisting those who seek to undermine our democracy.

“To that effect, the ECOWAS Parliament must take charge and ensure that national parliaments carry out conflict prevention measures in addition to overseeing the effective operation of the ECOWAS Early Warning System.

“We must also be sensitive to the situation of young people in our society, who face poverty, barriers to education, and many forms of
discrimination as well as limited job prospects and opportunities, leaving them susceptible to engaging in anti-democratic initiatives”, Tunis said.

He, therefore, disclosed that in response to the growing understanding of the value of youth in building resilience and peaceful societies, especially across the region, the ECOWAS Parliament was collaborating with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), led by Oxfam and its partners, including the Foundation for Security and Development in
Africa (FOSDA), Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI), and the West African Youth Alliance to establish the ECOWAS Youth Parliament.

Tunis said the establishment of the Youth Parliament, which was aligned with ECOWAS Strategic Objective 5 “Building ECOWAS into a community of peoples fully inclusive of women, children, and youth”, would facilitate the active participation of youths across the region in achieving the community vision in coordination with the ECOWAS Parliament.

He also reiterated the ECOWAS Parliament’s vociferous and unequivocal condemnation of the attempted coup d’état that took place in Niger on July 26, 2023.

“The Parliament also applauds and fully supports all efforts by the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government to ensure the return to constitutional order and stability in the Republic of Niger”, Tunis said.

The ECOWAS Speaker also said that in response to this predicament, the Parliament established an Adhoc Parliamentary Committee to facilitate and allow for the Parliament’s meaningful contribution to regional and global mediation efforts aimed at restoring constitutional order to the Republic of Niger.

“At our Session that follows this Seminar, we will hear from the Committee and decide the next steps for the Parliament

“Let me reiterate that our responsibility as legislators is not only to create laws and policies but also to rigorously monitor their implementation.

“To ensure that ECOWAS performs maximally to the expectations of the people, we must facilitate robust and continuous discourse on broad issues aimed at formulating effective and sustainable solutions to the tremendous crisis confronting our people and humanity in general”, Tunis added.