“If we allow indolence and indifference to conquer our will to rid ourselves of the evils of corruption and poverty, then we will find ourselves enslaved and reliant on others for our survival. The time is ripe for us to stand firm and work towards the democratic future of our community”.
The Speaker of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Sidie Mohamed Tunis, did not mince his words as he engaged West African leaders on the need for good governance for the smooth running of the Community during the closing of the high-level parliamentary seminar on electoral systems in West Africa on Saturday, 16 October 2021.
The Speaker noted that over the past three decades, ECOWAS has tirelessly worked to promote democratic systems, political pluralism, representative institutions, free and democratic participation in Member States.
“ECOWAS remains committed to ensuring neutrality or independence of the structures in charge of elections, transparency and reliability of the electoral register, transparency in the organisation, conduct and declaration of election results, as well as credibility in the handling of electoral disputes”, he promised.
This high-level seminar provided more insight into legal, institutional and material frameworks of conducting elections in Member States. According to the Speaker of Parliament Tunis, although electoral systems in West Africa have some weaknesses, it is possible to address them by adopting best practices. The Speaker of the Community Parliament believed that one of the best criterion for assessing democracy is the regular conduct of elections deemed credible because of their compliance with international best practices. At the same time, he believed that elections should necessarily ensure good governance and inclusion.
“As a Community, we have strong faith in the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance and urge Member States to incorporate its relevant provisions into national legislations“, suggested the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament.