As the powers of the fourth Legislature of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have been enhanced, issue of absenteeism has come pop up with Speaker Mustapha Cisse Lo expressing worry.
In the first Ordinary Session the Speaker had cause to ensure allowance of lawmakers who do not show up are blocked and lamented over the poor attendance of Nigerians, in the ongoing second Ordinary Session the community lawmakers have been worked if they don’t attend session allowance would be blocked.
Ghana’s Member of Parliament for Anlo and member of the Community Parliament has said the election of members, “by now a decision should have been taken by no”.
According to the Anlo lawmaker it is difficult for they the lawmakers in the community Parliament to take such decision since they are representing other Parliaments, “if we make that recommendation is like we are self destroying ourselves”.
He proposed that an independent institution would have to propose or make such a recommendation, the ECOWAS Commission have to recommend to the heads of that, but it would have to go through the council of Ministers first before getting to the level of Authority of Heads of States.
In an interview when questioned if this proposal would receive favorable recognition from the council of Minister, he responded that they should be able to understand the situation which would have a favourable response.
Mr. Clement Kofi Humado pointed out that current situation of balancing once work as a lawmaker in the Community Parliament and the National Assembly is not easy, because you need to attend to your party and constituency needs to.
“This issue has become serious because of the enhanced powers either to the legislature was just a consultative body, now more work is expected we are expected to look at the community budget. We have delocalized oversight, two Ordinary Session in a year and extra Ordinary Sessions”.
Also, so many things put pressure on us as lawmakers, “the lasting solution may be election of MPs from the various member countries sole for the purpose of the representation of the ECOWAS Parliament”.
“We need more female lawmakers home to reflect in next ECOWAS Parliament”—K. Sesay
As the life span of the fourth Legislature of the Economic Community of West Africa Stats (ECOWAS) come to an end next year February, a female lawmaker of the Sierra Leone delegation Veronica Sesay is advocating for thirty percent female representation in the various National Assemblies.
According to Sesay if the fifteen countries that form ECOWAS get thirty percent representation of female lawmakers it would increase, female representation of the fifth Legislature of the West African sub-regional Community Parliament.
In an interview she pointed out that even as she is a new member of the fourth legislature, it’s mainly male dominated and there is the need to increase the female representation.
“Charity begins at home, in my country we are working hard to enact law thirty percent female representation in the National Assembly, let me tell you what men can do women can do better you can attest to that”.
She cited an example of country report of Cote D’ivore presented by a woman, “we are mothers, and we are makers and patters in development we should be seen working side by side with our male counterparts. Biblically we were taken from the ribs of men therefore you should recognise that fact that we can do things better, if we are encourage more women in the community Parliament it would be a vibrant Parliament”.
In the first Ordinary Session, when the only female among the Ghanaian delegation Ama Pomaa Boateng presented Ghana’s country report she received loud recognition from both male and female colleagues.
Second Deputy Speaker Aminata Kamara Toungara questioned why Ghana has had only a female representation among its delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament.
She further reveal that language barer is another thing militating against the women caucus of ECOWAS Parliament to come together to fight for more female representation.
“We are trying to see in the Parliament can organize for us to learn French and Portuguese, which are the official languages used in here, at least the basics with that we would be able to pass our messages across”.
And lamented that sometime when they go for their meetings, they do not have translators, “how do you express yourself that is a problem”, the Parliament should give us thirty minutes to learn languages.