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ECOWAS Parliament Urges President Barrow and President Sall Not to Contest Third Term

By Edrissa Jallow

The Chairperson of the Committee on Political Affairs, Peace and Security and Africa Peer Review Mechanism, of The Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) Parliament, Hon Edwin Snowe Junior urged Gambian President Adama Barrow and Senegalese President Macky Sall to abstain from contesting a third term.

Hon Snowe Junior made this statement on Tuesday 15th August 2022 during a briefing with the Press. According to the Chairperson, ECOWAS delegates visited Senegal to discourage President Macky Sall from contesting ahead of their 2024 Presidential elections.

“We were just from Senegal and we have been very robust in discouraging the President from attempting to serve a third term in office,” said the Chairperson of Political Affairs.

In regards to the Gambia’s President, Chairperson says he hopes that “after the second term of the president (Adama Barrow) he will respectfully leave office so that the Gambian people or he himself may also have the pleasure of seeing a successor” as “It is very important for our (ECOWAS) region.”

He seized the opportunity to encourage other “Presidents to desist from running for a third term.” Chairperson further urges the Gambia’s National Assembly to pass a bill where the President will not dream of contesting a third mandate giving examples of Nigeria and Ghana. He describes the problems within the ECOWAS region as “enormous”.

ECOWAS Parliament Promises to Introduce Two Terms Bill

Responding to questions from the press, the Chairperson on Political Affairs noted that the Banjul meeting will also be “discussing good governance…that will encourage governments and Presidents in the region to desist from the third term because you ambush your constitution and give the citizens the right to ambush your tenure”.

“Now we want to introduce a good governance bill where no president will seek a third term,” said the Chairperson.

Hon Snowe Junior at Press Conf ©Edrissa Jallow

He explained that “If the citizens are comfortable with you and you have done well in your first term, then you have a second term but most governments will wait until they enter their second term and say we want to make the constitution better for the people and if they change the constitution, they will go on to serve a new term under the pretext that it’s a new republic.” He continued that “corruption is killing our region and the issue of a third term too. Sometimes, people are afraid to talk about the issue of a third term but it is only fair that when you serve your people for two terms you step down.”

“We have Problems with Countries Domesticating the Law,” says ECOWAS’ Hon Edwin Snowe Junior.

Hon Edwin Snowe Junior, also outlined that among ECOWAS’ major challenges is countries lagging to domesticate community laws developed by the ECOWAS Parliament. He explained that the ECOWAS system is structured where documents to be changed or adopted are proceeded to the parliament to develop opinions. He continued that, after Parliamentarians develop their opinions on the document they pass it on to the Council of Ministers which he said involves the Foreign Affairs Ministers. After this, it’s passed on to the West African Head of States for another review. After the review from the head of States, ECOWAS then distributes it to the countries’ respective National Assemblies to ratify and pass into law.

However, when “you go to that country, the Parliament of that country (who is) now supposed to ratify, to domesticate, so it forms part of the local laws, most of the times, we (ECOWAS) have problems with the countries domesticating the law even though it is a community text.”

“So now we have to come to make sure that we put together a strong mechanism. That’s why every country has a delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament”. According to him the main function of the Head of ECOWAS delegation is where a message of ECOWAS Parliament is communicated for him or her to submit to the speaker of his or her assembly for further consideration.

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