Legal practitioner and expert on the ECOWAS Laws and treatises, Barrister Kenneth Ukoha, has said that an ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States that has oversight functions over the expenditures and revenues of the community adds nothing to the democratic governance in Africa.
Barrister Ukoha reacting to the enhanced powers of the ECOWAS Parliament which according to the commission’s Vice President, Edward Singhatey, grants it oversight responsibilities over some aspects of the community, such as human rights issues, amendment of protocols and regulation of the community, but a non-binding opinion on the budget of the community, described the situation as “handing powers to one with one hand and taking it away with the other hand.”
The consequences of such action, he decried, means that the same authority head of stats which creates laws, makes the budget, as well as oversees its spending.
“The powers for appropriation, is the responsibility of the parliament. You cannot as an Authority of the Head of States be making laws, creating budget and also spending the budget. Therefore, the monitoring aspect, the oversight function of the expenditure and revenue has also been vested on the shoulders of the executive.”
Further arguing the process of the enhancing the ECOWAS legislature, Ukoha, said revealed that a legislature ceded power by the executive and not the people whom they represent, defeats the institution’s ambition for an ECOWAS of the People in 2020.
He averred that a lacuna exists in the system where the Authority of Head of States rather than the citizens of ECOWAS cedes limiting powers to the peoples’ representative, and rather than gravitating to an ECOWAS of the People, it appears to gravitate towards an ECOWAS of the Authority of Heads of States.
Still congratulating the community on the achievement of a limitedly enhanced legislature, he urged the parliamentarians to judiciously carry out its duties to the people through the review of all laws, treatises and protocol of the community to ensure its implementation and domestication in member countries.
“None of these laws, protocols or treatises have the signature of the parliament. It calls for diligence to their call to duty, so that the citizens of west Africa can have a semblance of laws that are respectable, obeyed, laws that are implementable and that unite the people and hold the governing accountable, laws that can achieve the Lagos agreement of 1975 and the ECOWAS agreement.”
Ukoha also called for the enactment of a law that addresses the election of parliamentarians into the ECOWAS legislature – where members are elected in a ‘supranational manner’.
“They can be elected in a separate manner and not the same as the national parliament. Those elected will then view themselves as member of the parliament of ECOWAS, making laws for the supranational body that is ECOWAS. And in a gradual process those laws will be harmonized to bring us to an ECOWAS of the People.”
Source: leadership.ng =>ECOWAS Authority Power Of Oversight Adds Nothing To Democratic Governance In W/A – Legal Expert