— Liberia’s Vice President Taylor challenges them to bring change in the region
Amid the struggle for peaceful co-existence within and among West African countries continues to remain a critical challenge and given the recurrent episodes of xenophobic violence, territorial fights, ethnic clashes, scramble for lands, food security and water resources, division, corruption, illiteracy and self-indulgence among other ills pervading the continent, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor was moved to ask the 115-member ECOWAS Parliament, including experts and resource personnel, whether West African can love one another.
The most recent display of un-sportsmanship by Sierra Leoneans in Freetown against the Liberian National Football Team, the Lone Star, characterized by throwing of stones and jeering ahead of the second leg World Cup pre-qualifier match between the two countries, was highlighted as a typical problem.
Vice President Taylor, during the formal opening of the ECOWAS Parliamentary Session on Transhumance and Intercommunity conflict said on Thursday, September 12, 2019 that, as the Fourth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament convened in its Second Extraordinary Session in search of a productive formula and cordial relationship in the sub-region and continent between and among all of the people, there is a need to take retrospect in history.
The Vice President maintained that the farsighted pan-Africanist exhortations on the oneness in diversity, as espoused by eminent icons like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Osagyefo Kwame N’Krumah, Madiba Nelson Mandela, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Patrice Lumumba and Kofi Annan voiced their respective ideal reasonings for struggle for the unity and cohesion of the African people and the affirmation of their dignity.
“Africa is one continent, one people and one nation and that the forces that unite us are intrinsic and greater than the superimposed influences that keep us apart,” the Vice President said Osagyefo Kwame N’Krumah taught us.
She noted, quoting Julius Nyerere that “Without unity there is no future for Africa.”
The Vice President pointed out that people of the generation should work in a way to make their nations better than the past. As leaders of the region, the Vice President noted that it is their obligation to bring the change in this region.
“I hope this new trend of rotating and hosting major meetings in member states becomes a norm; so that the local understanding and subsequent ratification of decisions being taken at the level of the authority of the heads of state will be easier”, she maintained.
The Vice President urged the ECOWAS Parliament to play an active role in detecting the brewing conflict in a timely manner in order to employ the most effective means of amelioration.
Speaker Bhofal Chambers
House’s Speaker Bhofal Chambers said history informs us that our forefathers lived in this part of the world, which is now considered the “ECOWAS region”, and they, too, lived with challenges including language barriers, political pluralism, among others.
He said the ECOWAS Parliament reminds him that the Community needs to mitigate and resolve the challenges. He defined transhumance as the movement of people with their animals or livestock from one place to another in search of food and better weather for their livelihood, whilst intercommunity conflicts deal with people’s inability to coexist in social or cultural diversities.
Speaker Chambers indicated that efforts by the regional body to bring about socio-economic synergy between and amongst the peoples of ECOWAS states must take cognizance of their respective cultures and values of its peoples.
He said as the region moves more closely together, the means and mechanisms for ECOWAS citizens to live more peacefully cannot be over emphasized.
Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Mawine G. Diggs
Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Mawine Diggs, on behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Liberia, expressed sincere condolences to the Government and people of The Gambia for the loss of their former Head of State, H. E. Dr. Sir Dawda Jawara.
“We want to specially ask The Gambian delegation here to take solace in the Lord as they go through this period of mourning for such a great loss. Our prayers are with you the bereaved family.”
She reminded ECOWAS Parliament that the influence and prestige carried by its Parliament and programs have made it the most notable ECOWAS institution in Liberia.
“The work of this Parliament has continued to create indelible imprint of tangible achievements in the region and I want to join the greater West African population to extend sincere appreciation for your courage and efforts in working tirelessly in the interest of our common patrimony. I am quite certain that people listening to this program across the region via the ECOWAS Radio will agree with me that all the necessary efforts surrounding the hosting and maintenance of the ECOWAS 1st Radio can be accredited to the work of this body,” Madam Diggs said.
She intoned that in August 2018, Members of the Parliament’s Joint Committee on Communication and Information Technology voted and adopted in their report, and subsequently submitted to the Parliament’s Plenary for the consideration of the ECOWAS Radio headquartered in Monrovia. “This effort represents the true quest for information dissemination of our Community. Liberia is grateful for your service, Honorable MPs,” she said.
“This Parliament has also made an invaluable contribution in the integration of ICT for our Community, particularly affecting this region. The Parliament adopted several Acts to promote a safer cyber environment and further strengthen the capacity of Member States within ECOWAS, and this includes Directive on the fight against Cybercrime; Supplementary Act on Electronic Transactions; and Supplementary Act on Personal Data Protection and many other protocols.”
Former Niger President Mahamana Ousmane
In his goodwill message, by Mr. Mahamana Ousmane, former President of Niger and former Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, said one of the main reasons for transhumance in the region is that most of the young people in the region left their respective fertile lands and seek greener pastures in unfriendly and unwelcoming lands.
Amb. Tunde Ajisomo
The Special Representative of the President of ECOWAS Commission in Liberia, Amb. Tunde Ajisomo, said as violent conflicts appear to be declining in some Member-States, the wave of insurgencies, banditry and kidnapping in the Sahel Region that is currently afflicting some West African countries sends alarming signals of the possible resurfacing of internal and regional violent conflicts.
He stressed that the issue involving Transhumance and Inter-Communal Conflicts in West Africa is one serious challenge that our Sub-Region has been dealing with for some time now. Given its pervasive nature, one is tempted to ask what are the causes and drivers of the problem of Transhumance and Inter-Communal Conflicts.
Speaker Moustapaha Cisse Lo
Speaker Moustapaha Cisse Lo of the ECOWAS Parliament said transhumance conflict is spreading in the region which has led to many deaths. He said ECOWAS has put in place measure to end terrorist activities.
He stated that it is necessary for the capacities of Members States to be built to tackle transhumance.
He thanked President George M. Weah for his continue support to the Parliament and maintained that Liberia is a country that opens doors to people.
Rep. Representative Edwin M. Snowe
Earlier, in the welcome remark, Bomi County District #1 Representative Edwin M. Snowe, Jr., also head of Liberian Delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament, said it is befitting, behalf of the President George Manneh Weah, to welcome members of the ECOWAS Parliament to Liberia. He said this event will be historic and remembered.
The three-day Parliamentary Seminar will end Saturday, September 14, 2019. From Monday, September 16 through Saturday, September 21, the ECOWAS Parliament will convene to have its Second Extraordinary Session, which will be its first outside of Nigeria.