Tired of presidents in West Africa changing their constitutions to run for third term in office and creating instability, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is planning to enact a new clause that will prohibit presidents of member countries from staying beyond two terms.
This clause will be tabled at the next ECOWAS meeting this week. Reliable ECOWAS sources told The Finder that when adopted, the clause will bind all member states, even though proponents are not sure if member states will abide by the clause.
Political analysts say a situation whereby elected presidents who swear to protect the constitution often end up messing up the same through kangaroo referendums to remove term limits and run for third, fourth and as many terms as they want amounts to ‘civilian coup,’ which should equally be condemned as military coup d’états.
Examples are the cases in Togo, Niger, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, and Senegal.
To enforce the new clause that prohibits third term as well as all protocols, conventions, declarations and directives, ECOWAS is also considering the adoption of a new legal regime for Community Acts that will make all ECOWAS decisions immediately applicable and binding on member states and eliminate parliamentary approvals.
Information on ECOWAS website indicates that the new legal regime for Community Acts is part of the transformation of the Secretariat into a Commission.
Until now, obligations of member states were captured principally in Protocols and Conventions which are subject to lengthy parliamentary ratification processes by each member state.
These processes delayed the entry into force of the legal texts, thereby paralysing the integration process.
Decisions of the authority were, however, immediately applicable and binding on member states whilst those emanating from the Council of Ministers were only applicable and binding on the Community Institutions.
Under the new legal regime, the principle of supranational becomes more pre-eminent and there is now a de-emphasis on the adoption of Conventions and Protocols.
Community Acts will be Supplementary Acts, Regulations, Directives, Decisions, Recommendations and Opinion. Thus, the authority passes Supplementary Acts to complete the Treaty.
Supplementary Acts are binding on member states and the institutions of the community.
The Council of Ministers enacts Regulations and Directives and makes Decisions and Recommendations.
Regulations have general application and all their provisions are enforceable and directly applicable in member states.
They are enforceable in the institutions of the community. Decisions are enforceable in member states and all designated therein. Directives and their objectives are binding on all Member States.
If it goes through, this will be an excellent move by ECOWAS. However, I am not sure how this will pass, for those who will preside over the matter are the same people affected. So I wonder if they will ever agree to the proposal. I may be wrong and I hope I am.
This is a welcomed development from ECOWAS ; trying to defeat the myth that “nothing good comes from Africa”….
I too have my doubts but “the cat is belled” & the motion in set rolling….
There would be conflict between the selfish aggrandizing few of our so-called leaders & the selfless magnanimous who know the inevitable & are within their right frames of minds who will definitely second the motion…
I believe this is the West African Spring; ‘in the beginning came the word’…. The “word” spread out chaff on the wind….. The masses got grip of the “word”….. The masses spring to actions anywhere necessary…..
There will be unrests with the handful of selfish aggrandizement dictatorships who would resist & oppose BUT will eventually succumb to the INEVITABLE in the end….
In the end the WORD is ESTABLISHED; dictatorships are sent packing; accountability, probity & prosecutions becomes orders of days for the culprits…..
God help & bless the collective endeavour to salvage Africa & rest of humanity at large; Ameen.
I am hopeful that this will work because going by current political climate in terms of transfer of power to elected leaders from their predecessors who at least have the courage to do so , there is possibility. Jammeh and few others are the remaining brutal dictators in the region. The key countries like Nigeria , Ghana , Senegal , Liberia and others which has change of government through democratic means will most likely support this idea . The international community including US , EU and uk will also support this wonderful idea. This is an opportunity for our opposition leaders to tighten the belt and be ready for anything . I have always maintain that Ecowas was done with jammeh since 2011 when they declared that election was not going to be free and fair, thus they refused to send observers . This was the biggest opportunity to get rid of jammeh at the time by demonstration of what UDP did recently to standup to the tyrant. But I think now udp has finally realize that they need to stand up and demand their rights . In the next election , if jammeh continue to terrorize the citizens and want to steal the election as he always do , the opposition parties has another opportunity to act for national interest and call for popular uprising aganist the dictator. I believe that the probability of jammeh leaving with fight is 0.9 .
The fact that they are talking about it is a good start.
The world is becoming small for self serving leaders who want to stay in power in perpetuity