There was an interesting debate on the political situation in The Gambia in parliament on Wednesday, with the majority New Patriotic Party (NPP) applauding the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for ensuring that outgone President Yahaya Jammeh handed over peacefully to his successor.
On the other hand, the minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) berated ECOWAS for hastily moving troops to The Gambia since there was no war situation there.
The minority members had argued that before moving troops to The Gambia for whatever purpose, member countries of ECOWAS should have sought the consent of their various parliaments; but the majority said the intervention was part of the Community’s Protocol to ensure that democracy thrives in the sub-region.
The debate arose when the NPP Member of Parliament (MP) for Effutu, Alex Afenyo-Markin, made a statement on the floor on the ‘intervention of ECOWAS in The Gambia and its implication on peace and security in the West African sub-region.’
According to him, ECOWAS rightly activated its dispute settlement mechanism on the brink of another violent conflict in the sub-region when former Gambian President Yahaya Jammeh refused to hand over power after losing a legitimate national election.
The Effutu MP said the multi-purpose approach adopted by ECOWAS, including the deployment of UN-backed troops from the sub-region as well as the supervision of the swearing-in of the new president at the Embassy of The Gambia in Senegal, was a necessary intervention that averted humanitarian disaster, possible violation of human rights, the seeming threat to peace and security in the sub-region which could have resulted in the displacement of innocent persons.
According to him, as a pre-eminent stakeholder in the enterprise to maintain peace and security, Ghana under the presidency of Nana Akufo-Addo, committed 205 troops to enhance its political leverage in the sub-region.
Mr Afenyo-Markin also explained that President Akufo-Addo’s decision to request former President John Mahama to continue with his mediation role alongside other leaders in the sub-region, was a true reflection of President Akufo-Addo’s understanding of the dynamics of international relations and diplomacy, adding that ECOWAS has made democracy to triumph over dictatorship in The Gambia.
The NDC MP for Tamale North, Suhunyi Alhassan Sayibu, said ECOWAS should have waited for ex-President Jammeh to have exhausted all the constitutional means to resolve the standoff after challenging the results.
He asked parliament to possibly consider a legislation which if an incumbent president who loses an election decides to challenge the results in court, there would not be any power vacuum.
The NPP MP for Bimbilla and Minister-designate for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, challenged the suggestion saying, if an incumbent president loses general election in Ghana and wants to challenge the results, he will have to hand over first to the opposition leader who won the election before he goes ahead to challenge the election results in the court to avoid any power vacuum.
Source: Daily Guide
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