Ghana’s Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye has called on Africa Union ( AU) as well as the Economic Community of West Africa State ( ECOWAS) to blacklist African leaders who choose power before the people.
According to him, leadership is all about serving the people and building strong institutions but most African leaders upon assumption of office tried to change the very constitutions that they use to come into the office so they could stay onto power.
This practices, he said has slow down democratic development on the Africa continent, especially in the West Africa sub-region, and it was about time the AU and ECOWAS take steps to remove or blacklist such leaders from the unions.
Prof Mike Oquaye made the call when The Gambia’s Speaker of National Assembly, Hon. Mariam Jack-Denton paid a courtesy call on him in parliament on Monday, October 7, 2019.
The Gambia Speaker, together with the leadership of the Gambia Legislative Assembly and some senior members are in the country for a three-day official visit to Ghana parliament.
The visit was to among of other things afford them the opportunity to learn from Ghana’s vibrant parliamentary democracy system since the promulgation of the 1992 constitution of Ghana.
The Gambians returned to the full democratic system after December 1, 2016, elections that ended the over two decades of autocratic rule under former military junta Yahya Jammeh.
The Gambia National Assembly is unicameral and consists of 58 members who serve a five-year term.
Out of the 58 members, 53 are directly elected while the remaining five are appointed by the President. Members are elected in single-member constituencies using the simple majority, or first-past-the-post system.
However, addressing the Legislators from the Gambia National Assembly, Prof Mike Oquaye expressed his unhappiness about some Africa leaders attitude soon after they have the mandate of the people to serve them.
He said, though Africa has come a long way in establishing a strong democratic system to change leaders when their time of services expires, some use the opportunity to change things to their advantage and amend the laid down rules and principles of democracy to suit their power appetite.
In his view, the principle of government of the people, by the people for the people has been subsumed by the will of these power-drunk leaders, which he noted has retarded Africa democratic development and economic growth.
The Speaker, therefore, charged the AU to take a stand and ensure that any Africa leader who entered leadership through the democratic system but turned round to bend the rules to cling onto power is removed from the union to serve as a deterrent.
Prof Oquaye further observed that election of leaders through the democratic process is the only instrument of political stability and not toppling them from office before the end of their tenure of office, stressing that “it is when the tenure end that the leader could account for his stewardship to be re-elected or rejected.”
While commending the Gambians for the historic visit, the Speaker said Ghana and the Gambia has had a long-standing relationship and that the National Assembly leadership couldn’t have been other place other than Ghana, and that the Gambians have the opportunity to learn from the Ghanaian experience.
Ghana, he noted had had a trajectory experience on both military and democratic regimes and has since from 1993 witnessed a stable democratic and smooth transition of change of government.
Nonetheless, the Speaker assured of Ghana’s parliament readiness to assist the Gambia National Assembly to make reforms that would strengthen the democratic process, noting that, “even though we are still learning, we have had our ups and downs, we believed the change of government through the democratic process is the best.”
The Minority Leader of Parliament, Hon. Haruna Iddrissu and Hon Hackman Owusu Agyemang, a member of Parliamentary Services Board, took turns to share the Ghanaian experience of parliamentary democracy with the Gambians.
Haruna said the architect of Ghana’s parliament in the 1992 constitution has made it explicit that Ghana could not have one-party state and parliament has no such powers to pass a law for one party.
He said the 1992 constitution, among of other legislation has driven Ghana democratic rule peacefully and expressed the hope the Gambian National Assembly would learn something out of Ghana experience to strengthen its own existing laws.
On her part, Hon Mariam Jack-Denton said, although the country has gone through difficulties under the previous regime, things are changing after the 2016 elections, but stressed a lot needed to be done.
She admitted The Gambia National Assembly has a lot to learn from Ghana, having gone through several democratic governance transitions without any hike, pointing that the National Assembly has only 58 members, five of them been appointed by the President.
According to her, they are in the country to learn how the Ghanaian parliament has been able to chalk success in the past years under the democratic rule to help strengthen the work of the Gambia national assembly.
She, however, applauded Ghana for the role and support offered to the Gambians over the years and traced the two nations relation to Ghana’s first President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah era.
She also acknowledged the contribution of Ghana Judiciary services to her country as many Judges and lawyers have served the Gambia Judiciary and the people till date.
Hon Jack-Denton was accompanied by the Leadership of the National Assembly of the Gambia including Majority Leader, Hon. Kebba Barrow, the Minority leader, Hon. Samba Jallow, Hon. Mohammed Magassy, Fatoumatta Njai, members and Momodou Sise, Clerk of the National Assembly.
The rest were Director of Table office, Kalipha Mbye, Gbairu Janneh, Director of Communication, Mrs Sally Secka, Principal Accountant/ Director of Finance, Ms Rabiatou Jallow, Human Resource Manager and Kelepha Nyassi, Senior Protocol Officer.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Nyaaba