Sunday, July 21, 2024

CSOs urge ECOWAS to expedite adoption of democratic protocol

WADEMOS, a coalition of 53 Civil organisations, has called on ECOWAS to expedite the review of its Supplementary Protocol to address the socio-political challenges in the region.

• July 5, 2024
WADEMOS (credit: NAN)
WADEMOS (credit: NAN)

The West Africa Democracy Solidarity Network (WADEMOS), a coalition of 53 Civil organisations, has called on ECOWAS to expedite the review of its Supplementary Protocol to address the socio-political challenges in the region.

The ECOWAS protocol’s objective is to develop a constitutional State based on the rule of law, strengthening democracy and adopting common principles of good governance within member states.

WADEMOS, in collaboration with Tournons la Page, West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), and other pro-democracy actors across the region, made the call on Thursday in Abuja.

Paul Osei-Kuffour, the WADEMOS network coordinator, said the Joint Consultative CSOs and Civic Actors Forum thought it wise to draw the attention of ECOWAS to some issues ahead of the 65th Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.

Osei-Kuffour said that the CSOs called on ECOWAS to promulgate a code on presidential term limits in harmony with all proposed revisions of the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol.

He said the call was imperative because the degenerating socio-political climate across the ECOWAS required immediate intervention to forestall further reversals of democracy in the region, with term elongation being a major driver.

He said the memorandum expressed concerns about regional developments and offered some recommendations for consideration.

Mr Osei-Kuffour said WADEMOS had urged ECOWAS to expedite the protocol review and strengthen it to include a prescription against unlimited presidential terms or term limit elongations. He said ECOWAS was also urged to intensify consultations with member states to finalise and present for adoption the draft Revised Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, among others.

Mr Osei-Kuffour said the coalition called on ECOWAS to take immediate steps through the reform to curtail the situation in Togo from becoming the new norm in the region.

He said heads of state had been urged to seek the intervention of global and regional bodies, including the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) and the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC).

He said this was to intervene in the situation in the Sahel to avoid further deterioration of the rights of citizens by their government.

Austin Aigbe, WADEMOS advocacy officer, while making a presentation on the state of democracy in West Africa, said about 26 coups had occurred in the  African region between 2002 and 2023.

Mr Aigbe said 13 occurred in the Western region, five in the central region, four in the Northern region, three in the Eastern region and one in the Southern region.

The executive director of the Centre for Democratic Development, Dauda Garuba, said that military coups have caused serious setbacks in Africa.

Mr Garuba said the coups have also led to human rights abuses and other vices.

He, therefore, urged pro-democracy groups to collaborate closely with ECOWAS and other regional bodies to promote democratic governance across the continent. 


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