Leader of Govt Business elected as ECOWAS Speaker

The parliamentary Leader of Government Business, Honourable Sidi Mohamed Tunis, was on Monday 9th March 2020 elected as the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament at the Mahatma Gandhi International Conference Centre in Niamey, Niger. It could be recalled that the race was between the Leader of the Opposition Hon Chernor M Bah and Hon. Sidi Mohamed Tunis, but President Bio sometime in late 2019 endorsed Hon. Sidi Tunis as the candidate from the government of Sierra Leone. The newly elected Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament was nominated by the President of the Female Caucus of the Sierra Leone Parliament, Hon. Veronica Kadie Sesay from Moyamba district and was seconded by Hon. Shiaka Sama, an Independent Member of Parliament from Pujehun district.
The Sierra Leone Leader of Government Business, Hon. Tunis was successfully elected as the sole candidate from Sierra Leone and was inaugurated as the Speaker of the 5th Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament for a period of four years. This follows the end of tenure of the former Speaker from Senegal Moustapha Cisse’ Lo, and Togo is next in line to succeed Sierra Leone for the Speakership.
According to the provisions of the ECOWAS Court, the Speaker is non-residential, which gives Hon. Tunis the opportunity to retain his position as Leader of Government Business in the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone. Hon. Tunis has started presiding over deliberations using the Rules of Procedure; noting the election of four Deputy Speakers, and the constitution of both Committees on Selection and Rules of Procedure.
In his acceptance Speech, Hon. Tunis recognised a 30-Man delegation from Sierra Leone headed by the Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Abass Chernor Bundu, expressing appreciation to President Bio for his endorsement and confidence to take up the leadership of the ECOWAS Speaker.
Speaking on his role relative to directing the business of ECOWAS Parliament and its organs, he deeply appreciated past Speakers for their dedicated services to advance the cause of the ECOWAS Community in light of free movement of goods and persons in the Region.
He called for continued monitoring of the situation in Togo, youth empowerment and the need for meeting the convergent criteria for the realization and operationalization of the ECOWAS single currency to facilitate and enhance effective trade in the Region.
The newly elected Speaker called for ECOWAS to be accountable through the establishment of a Public Accounts Committee that will guarantee prudent fiscal management of the Community’s funds, imploring ECOWAS to go closer to the people by utilizing innovative and effective means of communication to reach the very people the Parliament is constituted to represent.
He particularly called for improved information sharing as a counter-terrorism measure; adding they could not sit idly by and allow bad people to inflict harm on the people; whilst speaking on women’s empowerment and effective preparedness to tackle the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
In his Speech of solidarity by outgoing Speaker, Moustapha Cisse’ Lo, he recognised the President of Niger as a Pan-African who is working assiduously for the advancement of Africa, ECOWAS and the people of Niger. He referred to the ECOWAS Parliament as a representative body charged with the responsibility of maintaining peace, democracy and stability in the Region. He observed that his tenure was not a luxurious one, but one that was purposely full of results; citing other interventions including the ECOWAS mediation Team sent to Sierra Leone after the conduct of the last general elections in 2018; aimed at preventing a re-occurrence of conflict in Sierra Leone; illegal migration; and counter-terrorism efforts in the Sahel Region. President of ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou described Niamey as the bedrock of regional integration in light of installing the 5th Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament, citing the ECOWAS Supplementary Act authorizing the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government to inaugurate a new Parliament. He recognised the role played by the 4th ECOWAS Parliament in tackling threats by terrorists in the Sahel Region. He also said that inclusive social development is the foundation of democracy; whilst calling on the 5th ECOWAS Parliament, headed by Hon. Tunis to take the necessary initiatives to amplify the cause of ECOWAS by following good precedents.

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