”Sanction Presidents who amend Constitutions to gain undue advantage”-ECOWAS Parliament
By Adoba Echono, Abuja
The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Dr Sidie Tunis, has called on leaders to consider imposing harsher punishments on Presidents who try to amend their Constitutions to gain undue advantage.
Dr. Tunis said it had become necessary that the leadership went beyond statements that merely condemned those actions and considered imposing tougher punishments on would-be perpetrators.
He said; “Amending a Constitution to conform to current realities itself is not a problem however when the propose amendments of the constitution protect the governing elite at the expense of citizens or undermined the very nature of the constitutional democracy thereby granting the incumbent undue advantage to extend his mandate then we have a problem.”
Dr. Tunis said this at the High-Level Regional Parliamentary Seminar by the Fifth Legislative Assembly of ECOWAS at Winneba in the Central Region.
The Seminar, being attended by members of the ECOWAS Parliament and ECOWAS Commission, is on the theme: “Two Decades of Democratic Elections in ECOWAS Member States: Achievements, Challenges and the Way Forward.”
Dr Tunis also condemned the recent phenomenon of some ECOWAS Heads of States amending their country’s constitution before the conclusion of their term of office.
He said; “the practice, if not checked, has the tendency of eroding the gains ECOWAS had made as a community, thereby sinking the region into more chaos and creating serious risks, according to the Speaker of the Community Parliament.
Dr. Tunis said the hijacking of electoral processes, voter fraud, disenfranchisement, attack on free speech and the press are vices that attacked a country’s electoral system and took the shine out of democracy.