The ECOWAS MP is Not Equipped Enough to Represent the West African

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By Kofi Ali Abdul-Yekin, Chairman ECRA, Email:

Unlike the European Union member of Parliament (MEP) who get his mandate directly on universal adult suffrage, the ECOWAS member of Parliament (EMP) gets his mandate indirectly by getting a mandate directly to a member state Parliament and end up as a part time member of ECOWAS Parliament. This fundamental differences of obtaining mandates of the two MPs explains why the EU MPs does the real job of law making of the EU, while the ECOWAS MP plays the dummy.

The impression I’m getting on why the West African is treated like a dummy is, most citizens of ECOWAS have the wrong understanding of why their country is a member of ECOWAS and why they are citizens of ECOWAS. Most think of ECOWAS to be about countries in West Africa and so if your country is located in West Africa, then you have no choice but to be in ECOWAS. Please, that is not true.

Our countries are not force to be member states of ECOWAS and we as its citizens simply because one’s country is located in West Africa. We are in ECOWAS by choice because of the great dream of success we are convince the ECOWAS is capable of achieving.

Countries do not form a union of associations of sovereignties of common fate simply by geographical location. For example, Britain is in Europe but has chosen to be out of the EU. Switzerland is right in the heart of Europe but choose not to be a member state of the EU. Morocco is in Africa but has chosen to be out of the Africa Union (AU). Muritania is in West Africa but has chosen to be out of ECOWAS. Morocco is not in West Africa but can choose to be in ECOWAS. So there is nothing wrong with Morocco to be in ECOWAS or Ghana to be out of ECOWAS.

The reason for this analysis is, some people in ECOWAS have the wrong impression that Ghana and Ghanaians have not got any choice than to in ECOWAS even if it continue to be an association of mere bureaucratic quangos. So, whether the ECOWAS is useful to Ghanaians or not, we just have to saddle our fate to the hopeless regional corps at such a huge waste of resources we monthly commit to the ECOWAS at the expense of our over burdened poor while it give us nothing back in return.

The fact about ECOWAS is the frustrating bureaucracy associated with the regional authority that no one seem to be doing anything visible about. The body simply depicts an embodiment of deceit to majority of West Africans that its authority means nothing to the citizens of the West African. So the only thing I can say about ECOWAS is the hopeless hope it gives the population while serving as a cash cow to a few.

At best, all one can say is, the ECOWAS is just another version of the AU (Africa Union) or UN (United Nations) but located in West Africa, to serve no one in particular than the ex colonial masters and their local collaborators. Some West Africans could add that the ECOWAS create a space for accommodating hopeless Wrest African politicians after the tenure of national office and to teach upcoming regional political players how to be dishonest while serving as ECOWAS MPs who get paid for doing nothing. So while we are at the grassroots mobilising the population on the ECOWAS as a regional authority of hope, the reality the people experience in their daily lives is an ECOWAS of Hoax.

Now that the ECOWAS citizens are divided on the Moroccan issue and public discussion are becoming unavoidable, is it not time we all stop accepting that we are hopelessly bond to the ECOWAS by fate and start addressing why we want our nation’s to be in ECOWAS? Is it not time we make it clear to the ECOWAS authority that we must activate our right to direct vote for our regional MPs, who should in such instance have the legitimacy of putting our views into a better use?

I believe that over 75% of West Africans will vote against Moroccans becoming ECOWAS citizens. I however doubt such position will prevail in the ECOWAS final decision if France or any other powerful external body, prefer the ECOWAS to act against the unexpressed will of her people. Take the example of the EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement) that was super imposed on West Africans following debates that were not backed up by West Africans directly voting for their regional MPs. The majority of West Africans were against the EPA but the decision was taken in favour of the EU. Sure our regional MPs would have made better inputs to the decision if their mandate was from the electorates directly.

The popular participation in ECOWAS decisions we can only be certain, than a regional hoax, when we win the battle over our right to vote directly for our regional MPs base on universal adult suffrage. If ECOWAS citizens are allowed to be human beings enough to exercise their regional fundamental right on the basis of universal adult suffrage, as the recognised source of the rightful sovereign authority of the ECOWAS authority, then the will of the West African shall be the will of the regional authority.

The decision of having Morocco into ECOWAS is exactly as we did with the decision of the EPA. This kind of decision call for the view of everyone to be taken into consideration. Discussing critical issue without the people right to vote for their regional MPs, is undemocratic. The current indirect voting system to those who have no clue of what the ECOWAS is about is seriously disturbing,

Sure if our current ECOWAS MPs have conscience than those driven by their selfish material gain they make by mere titles as ECOWAS MPs without any serious responsibility, then they will join us in ECRA (ECOWAS Citizens Right Advocates) to make the right thing done.