A member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament representing Ghana, Mahama Ayariga, is calling for establishment of a single Electoral Commission (EC) for the West African sub-region to save scarce funds.
“If we have a common EC for ECOWAS, with uniform codes that govern every election, the standard will be the same and will cost us less.”
“Presently every member country has its own independent electoral system that purchases materials for election, which is costly”
Mr. Mahama Ayariga made this remarks at the ongoing First Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Parliament for this year in Abuja Nigeria.
“When we have a common system run by ECOWAS, one set of materials could move from one country to another, where individual states will use them periodically and then send to another country to conduct their election. This will be far cheaper than the current system of individual ECs.”
According to Mahama Ayariga, countries in the community would save the billions they send out to western countries through the imports of electoral materials and called for a motion to debate the issue.
He pointed out that the idea could take long to become reality because the various Heads of States are worried about their individual “sovereignties and authorities”.
“As we seek to establish a larger democracy, if we do not establish common democratic institutions that all of us can identify with, each country would do what it wants and forever and ever we would meet here every year to consider these reports and lament over the various election problems in the various countries.”
“For instance, when a President says he would hand over we get excited quickly and we congratulate him for deciding that he would hand over. There should never be a question of whether a President would handover or not.”
Mahama Ayariga made these remarks in the wake of extension of the tenure of Parliamentarians by a Presidential Decree in Guinea, which was captured in country’s report.
The Mali report, on the other hand, revealed the country was going through political difficulties as there are post-electoral crisis hence the mandate of the legislators has been extended by six months.