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27.02.2009 General News

Parliament selects 13 MPs to represent Ghana at ECOWAS & Pan African Parliaments

By Stephen Odoi Larbi - Ghanaian Chronicle

Thirteen (13) Members of Parliament (MPs) were yesterday appointed by Parliament to represent the country in conducting business at the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament and the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) in Abuja and Midrand respectively.

The members were drawn from both the majority and minority sides of the House. Among the thirteen (13), eight (8) members are to represent the country at the ECOWAS Parliament. They comprise four (4) representatives each from the majority and minority sides of the House. They include; Mr. John Akologu Tia, MP for Talensi, Mr. Michael Teye Nyaunu, MP for Lower Manya, Mr. Francis Yaw Osei-Sarfo, MP for Krachi West, Dr. Major (Rtd) Alhaji Mustapha Ahmed, MP for Ayawaso East, Mr. Stephen Balado Manu, MP for Ahafo Ano South, Mrs Elizabeth K.T. Sackey, MP for Okwaikwei North, Mr. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, MP for Assin North and Mr. Simon Osei-Mensah, MP for Bosomtwe.

Mr. John Akologu Tia, who doubles as the deputy majority leader leads the delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament. The other five (5) Members of Parliament of which three (3) were drawn from the majority members and two (2) from the minority side would represent the country at the PAP. They are the 1st Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Edward K. Doe Adjaho as the leader of the delegation. The other members include; Mr. Ambrose P. Dery, Deputy Minority Leader and MP for Lawra/Nabdam, Mr. Enoch Teye Mensah, Majority Chief Whip and MP for Ningo-Prampram, Mr. Moses Asaga, MP for Nabdam and Madam Elizabeth Agyemang, MP for Oforikrom.

Moving the motion on the floor of Parliament for adoption and approval, the Majority Leader, Mr. Albert S.K. Bagbin explained the rational behind the reconstitution of Membership to the ECOWAS Parliament.

He said since most of the members who represented the country during the Fourth Parliament of the Fourth Republic of Ghana were no more in the House, they therefore deemed it necessary to reconstitute new members to conduct the affairs on the floor of the ECOWAS Parliament on behalf of the country.

The motion was seconded by the Minority Leader; Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu who expressed concern about the mode the leadership of the delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament was selected. He recounted the difficulties the previous Parliament faced in choosing a leader for the delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament. He was of the strong belief that since the House was made up of members from both majority and minority sides, an experienced member from the majority side should always lead the delegation.

“I believe that even though the number is four-four, we should by convention agree that the leader from the majority side becomes the leader of the delegation from Ghana”, he noted.

The motion for the adoption and approval of representation to the PAP was also moved by the Majority Leader, Albert S.K. Bagbin. It was again seconded by the Minority Leader, Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu.

In supporting the motion for adoption and approval of Members to the PAP, Mrs. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, MP for Ayawaso West Wuogon expressed her concern about the small number of women participation in the Pan-African Parliament from Ghana.

She was of the strong belief that since the President promised to give women the opportunity to serve the country, it was prudent for the majority side to have included at least a woman, among the candidates selected to represent the country at the PAP, since they had three allocations as against two from the minority side. She was, however, pleased with the minority side for including a woman among the two positions allocated them.

ECOWAS was formed in 1975 in Nigeria, with the signing of the Lagos Treaty by 15 states including Ghana. The treaty was revised in 1993 to reinforce the integration process and this led to the formation of the ECOWAS Parliament tasked with the duty of monitoring the process.

The current Parliament is in transition until 2010 after which member states would be mandated to by Protocol elect among their members that national representative of Parliament. The ECOWAS Parliament has 120 seats. Each member state has a guaranteed minimum of five seats while the remaining seats are shared on the basis of population.

Consequently, Nigeria has 35 seats, Ghana eight, Cote D'Ivoire seven, while Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Senegal have six seats each.

Benin, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo have five seats each. The ECOWAS Parliament is empowered to consider issues concerning human rights and fundamental freedoms of citizens, interconnection of energy networks and communication links between member states, among other things.

The Pan-African Parliament was established in March 2004, by Article 17 of The Constitutive Act of the African Union, as one of the nine Organs provided for in the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community signed in Abuja, Nigeria, in 1991.

The establishment of the Pan-African Parliament is informed by a vision to provide a common platform for African peoples and their grass-roots organizations to be more involved in discussions and decision-making on the problems and challenges facing the continent.

The seat of the Parliament is in Midrand, South Africa.

The Pan-African Parliamentarians represent all the peoples of Africa. The ultimate aim of the Pan-African Parliament is to evolve into an institution with full legislative powers, whose members are elected by universal adult suffrage.