Experts urge ECOWAS member states to implement protocols to sustain peace, good governance in West Africa

A former director of political affairs at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has urged member states to implement the bloc’s protocols on democracy and good governance.

Aderemi Ajibewa made the recommendation on Tuesday at a meeting of the ECOWAS Parliament in Monrovia, Liberia.

“The efficient operationalization of the provisions of ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance would provide long-lasting solutions to the challenges faced by the West African Region,” Ajibewa said.

He pointed to the over-centralization of power, weak institutions, bad leadership, military interventions, and interruptions of democratic governance as some of the challenges facing the region.

He also urged the ECOWAS Commission to increase engagement with civil society organizations, sensitize the military on the protocols, and build the capacity of government officials.

Hon. Ladi Ayamba, a Member of Parliament for Ghana, said that there are limitations to the implementation of policies at the country level.

“What we lack in our Parliaments is how to implement some of these protocols and that is a gap we must ensure we address,” Ayamba said.

Hon. Fatimatou Njai, a parliamentarian from the Gambia, said that ECOWAS needs to learn from its mistakes.

“In ECOWAS, we need to start reminding ourselves but unfortunately, lessons have not been learnt,” Njai said. “We must build an ECOWAS that does not tolerate war. Only then can we achieve a stable region and good governance.”

The ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance was adopted in 2021. It provides for democratic control of the armed forces, zero tolerance for military coups, and the promotion of good governance.

The protocol is seen as an important step in the bloc’s efforts to promote peace and stability in West Africa.

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