Dr Femi Falana urges ECOWAS to adopt the amendment to the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance

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Leading human rights advocate, Dr. Femi Falana, urges Heads of State to adopt the term limit proposal and demonstrate the progress of the democratic cause in West Africa.

It is very important that the majority of Member States reject the moves of minority Member States and show leadership and political will by swiftly adopting the amendment to the Protocol”

—Femi Falana, SAN

LAGOS, NIGERIA, August 2, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — World-renowned Nigerian human rights defender and human rights activist, Dr. Femi Falana calls on Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of East African States West (ECOWAS) to adopt a proposed amendment to the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance (“the Protocol”). He goes on to say that such a move would strengthen constitutional and representative government and improve respect for human rights and the rule of law in the ECOWAS region.

While the majority of leaders are voting in favor of these changes, several governments are rejecting the amendments, which is why it is important to act now to show unified leadership in West Africa and the strength of ECOWAS.

Dr. Falana further notes that the decision to amend the Protocol is intended to ensure that once elected, heads of state do not subsequently change their countries’ constitutions to stay beyond two terms. This is the constitutional requirement common to several member states, however, Dr Falana notes that there have been too many instances where the requirement has been ignored. The proposed amendment would require member states to “adopt provisions in their respective constitutions to ensure that no President of the Republic shall serve more than two terms or extend his term for any reason or in any form.”

Unfortunately, as Dr Falana observes, he is concerned about reports that Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Togo oppose this incremental amendment to the Protocol.

“It is very important that the majority of Member States reject the initiatives of minority Member States and show leadership and political will by quickly adopting the amendment to the Protocol as currently proposed, especially in view of recent experiences of unconstitutional change of governments in some African countries”, comments Dr. Falana who goes on to state: “The proposed amendment to the Protocol on Term Limitation is fully in line with the founding treaties of ECOWAS and the Constitutive Act of ECOWAS. African Union The timely amendment will be a positive, effective and satisfactory response to the recent unconstitutional change of government in some Member States.

As stated in the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (African Charter), an unconstitutional change of government constitutes “a serious threat to stability, peace, security and development”. The African Charter indeed aims to “promote the universal values ​​and principles of democracy, good governance, human rights and the right to development” and to “anchor on the Continent a political culture of alternation based on the holding of regular and free elections. , fair and transparent elections conducted by competent, independent and impartial national electoral bodies”.

Many ECOWAS Member States, including Côte d’Ivoire and Togo, have ratified the African Charter while Senegal has signed the African Charter. ECOWAS and its members must show that they are willing and able to promote and establish constitutional and representative government and to improve respect for the rule of law and human rights in the sub-region.

Rejecting the measures reported by Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Togo to truncate the proposed amendment to the Protocol would send a powerful message to rogue governments in the sub-region that ECOWAS is willing and able to faithfully apply its instruments and fundamentals, regularly and effectively.

However, in Dr Falana’s view, if the measures reported by Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Togo are allowed, it will encourage dictators who seek to amend and manipulate their national constitutions to extend their terms. It will also lead to an escalation of attacks against political opponents and activists who oppose this illegal constitutional amendment.

Femi Falana urges ECOWAS Member States to remain resolute in the face of opposition from a minority of Member States and to move quickly to pass the proposed amendment on term limits to the Protocol. If necessary, Member States may invoke Rule 20 of the Rules of Procedure of the Conference of Heads of State and Government to ensure that the amendment to the Protocol is adopted without delay.

“I urge you to use your leadership and influence to promote democracy and full respect for human rights and the rule of law in Member States. ECOWAS leaders should pressure all ECOWAS Member States to respect, protect, promote and fulfill the human and peoples’ rights guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights said Nigeria’s lead advocate, Dr. Femi Falana, addressing West African leaders.

Irina Minervino
Amadeus Consulting SA
[email protected]

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