By Lawrence Williams
The Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Hon. Dr. Sidie Mohamed Tunis has applauded President Bio’s outreach to the military junta in the Republic of Guinea whilst urging the Community to intensify its engagements with the regime’s leaders to return the country to constitutional rule.
Hon. Tunis was speaking at the opening ceremony of the ECOWAS Parliament Seminar on the theme, “two decades of democratic elections in ECOWAS Member States: achievements, challenges and the way forward”. The seminar is hosted in Winneba, Ghana, from 13 to 15 October 2021.
He said: “I particularly commend His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, for his 11th October working visit to the Republic of Guinea, to hold discussions with the Military Leadership on the restoration of constitutional order in the Republic and the ECOWAS democratic transition roadmap. I enjoin His Excellency and all relevant individuals and institutions to continue more of such engagements with authorities in Guinea until democratic rule is restored.”
While condemning the undemocratic seizure of power by the Guinean soldiers, the Right Hon. Speaker said the ECOWAS should pay serious attention to what he called “the new phenomenon of amending the constitution of a State before an election or before the expiration of the tenure of an incumbent President”. He stated that this practice is an existential threat to political stability in the region, and if the trend continues unabated the Community could be plunged into severe chaos and anarchy.
“If we do not take firm and very decisive actions against this ugly trend, ECOWAS will not only be perceived as a body of failed States but will indeed fail,” Mr. Speaker warned!
Speaker Tunis spoke further on electoral fraud within the region. He said hijacking of electoral processes and press freedom attacks by Member States constitute a clear and present danger to sustainable electoral reforms and democratic consolidation. He, therefore, advised ECOWAS to impose stiffer sanctions on perpetrators. He said: “Considering the effect these have caused us and the toll they continue to have on the region, it has become necessary that we go beyond statements that merely condemn these actions and consider imposing harsher penalties on would-be perpetrators.”