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ECOWAS Parliament moves to criminalize tenure elongation in the region

By Linus Aleke
The Community Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is putting a mechanism in place to criminalize the unwholesome attitude of some President in the region, who elongate their constitutionally allowed term of office by tinkering with the constitution to favour their inordinate desires.

This abuse of constitutional democracy, the Parliament said, brands unconstitutional take over of government by the military in West Africa.

To this end, the Community Parliament has resolved to enact Good Governance law to end tenure extension by greedy African leaders in the region.

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The Chairman, Committee on Political Affairs and security, Senator Edwin Snowe made this disclosure during a joint press briefing at the sideline of the ongoing Delocalised Meeting of the joint Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), Legal Affairs and Human Rights/Social Affairs, Gender and Women Empowerment holding in Banjul, Gambia.

He said the ECOWAS Parliament has been empowered to carry out oversight functions.

“Our focus in this joint committee meeting is to come up with a good governance bill that will encourage countries to respect their constitution, especially as it regards tenure of office of the President. Or to task Presidents in the region to desist from the third-term bids, because when they amend their constitutions, the motive is often to elongate their tenure as Presidents. So, if you have done one term, and the citizens say they are satisfied with you and that you have done well, then you can go and have a second term. But most presidents, if they have done the second term will say they want to make the constitution better for the people. So, they make it better for the people by going to change the constitution, to allow them to continue in office beyond the earlier constitutional provisions. We are not going to tolerate this going forward”.

He, however, concluded that the Parliament is working hard to address the rising insecurity in the region.

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