ABIDJAN, REPUBLIC OF COTE D’ IVIORE, 11TH AUGUST, 2021: The Honorable Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Dr. Sidie Mohamed Tunis, on the sidelines of the Delocalized Meeting of the Joint Committee holding in Abidjan, paid courtesy call on the Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Integration and the Diaspora of the Republic of Cote D’ Ivoire, Her Excellency Madame Kandia Kamissoko Camara, today.
During the meeting, both parties exchanged views on various matters of mutual interest, including the direct election of Members to the ECOWAS Parliament, regional integration, peace, security and energy conservation in the context of West Africa’s economic development. They also expressed admiration for Parliament’s visibility drive and highlighted the benefits that go along with hosting meetings outside the seat of Parliament, Abuja, Nigeria.
Dr. Tunis, while thanking the Ivorian Authorities for the warm reception his delegation has received, spared no time in flagging his paramount goal for the Fifth Legislature of the Parliament, which is achieving the direct election of members to future Legislatures of the ECOWAS Parliament. The Speaker stressed the importance of having Members democratically elected to the Parliament, adding that it is only a directly elected Parliament that can gain democratic powers and confer new competences on the Community, which will be regarded as the political will of the people. He decried the prolonged transition the Parliament is currently undergoing and solicited the Minister’s support for his direct universal suffrage agenda when the proposal arrives at the ECOWAS Council of Ministers.
“The major advantage of direct election of representatives is that it guarantees that the people have the ultimate choice on what will benefit the entire Community. Similarly, citizens know exactly who their representatives are. This will allow the ECOWAS citizens to have ownership of decisions made within our region. When people know that they are being heard and making a difference, they are much more inclined to care about what is going on in their country”, the Speaker added.
Honorable Tunis also used the occasion to express admiration for the show of reconciliation exhibited by His Excellency Alassane Ouattara in initiating a meeting with his immediate predecessor, Former President Laurent Gbagbo. He noted that not only that the meeting helped eased the political atmosphere in the country, but it was also a display of openness, dialogue, and reconciliation. He expressed the confidence that Political Leaders and supporters of political parties in the West African state will emulate the examples of both leaders, averring that Cote D’ Ivoire’s peace is tied to peace in the West African sub region.
For her part, Minister Camara lauded the Speaker for the visit and committed to working closely with the Parliament as a force for good to address challenges across the region. She expressed joy over the inclusion of a female in the Bureau of the Parliament, stating that it is a demonstration of the ECOWAS Parliament’s commitment to gender equity. While emphasizing the Parliament’s role in regional peace and stability, the Minister welcomed the push for direct elections of members to the institution, asserting that there could be nothing more democratic than having a Parliament that is truly a representation of the democratic wishes of the peoples of the community. She congratulated the Speaker for his rare push for direct elections to the parliament, avowing that it is uncommon to have a leader, who was not himself elected, pushing for elections into the institution he heads.
On energy, Madame Camara affirmed that the government of Cote D, Ivoire takes seriously the issue of energy as it is tied to the economic development, security and wellbeing of not only the citizens of Cote D’ ivoire, but citizens across the region. She disclosed that Cote D’ Ivoire is a source of electricity for neighboring countries, including Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone and Liberia, and there could be no gainsaying of its commitment to development in the energy sector. She expressed optimism that the delocalized meeting will yield the expected results and recommendations there from will be considered across the region.
The Honorable Speaker’s delegation included the Second Deputy Speaker, Madame Ibrahima Maimouna of Togo, Head of the Ivorian Delegation to the Parliament, Madame Adjaratou Traore Coulibaly, Honorable Mahama Ayariga of Ghanan and Honorable Moussokoura Chantal Fanny of the Republic of Cote D, Ivoire.
Edwin D. Miller, Jr.
Office of the Honorable Speaker