By Tabora Bojang
The vice president has urged Ecowas member states to embrace democratic ideas that are centred and rooted on development that is tangible to the people instead of baseless political slanders associated with political democracy. Badara Alieu Joof said this is the only viable way to reduce poverty, ignorance, conflict and hunger in the West African sub-region.
“Political democracy breeds partisan politics. It leads to bickering. It leads to ignoring the idiom of development but with development democracy we work together. We reduce poverty, we reduce conflict and we de-risk the society of disease, ignorance and hunger. That is development democracy and that is a challenge I am pushing on to you [lawmakers]. We should promote development democracy rather than putting a lot of emphasis on political democracy which leads to disunity and dysfunctionality of the system. So, promote development democracy. We don’t need conflicts in the Ecowas region. The cost of war is more expensive than the cries of peace and it is in peace that we can achieve a lot and we don’t have much time,” VP Joof lectured.
The former higher education minister was addressing a 5-day meeting of the Ecowas parliamentary joint committee on political Affairs, Peace and Security- APRM, legal Affairs and Human Rights, Social Affairs, Gender and women’s empowerment, hosted by the National Assembly of The Gambia.
He reminded lawmakers that the realisation of these new perspectives on democracy that will lead the sub-region to a new path of development which cannot be realised without their support as they are the representatives of the people, tasked with holding executives, judiciaries and public institutions in a functioning democracy to account.
“If the legislature functions democracy functions but it depends on your effectiveness, your proactiveness and your efficiency in the execution of your duties,” the VP stated.
The vice president urged Ecowas parliamentarians to take advantage of the lowest common multiple that will unite them in the drive to achieve the aspirations of the people of the Ecowas region.
VP warned that the sub-region “risks mortgaging its future” if it fails to re-look into its policies on skills development, politics and the factors that continue to push the youth to the periphery forcing them to seek greener pastures in Europe
“The youths of the Ecowas region are migrating to Europe risking their lives tragically in the Sahara or being enslaved somewhere in the Maghrib or drowning in the treacherous waters of the Mediterranean and even if they cross to Europe, they face the walls and the barbed wares because they are not wanted there. They are leaving because of the push factors. Home is not sweet for them. It is home sour. It is high time we reflected on our policies of skills development, in our policies of politics, and in our policies of education to be able to create that wherewithal for those young people to come back and help. If we neglect them, we will only have the old and the feeble. And What can they do? It means we are mortgaging the future of our countries. Ecowas should come up with recommendations and sound policies that make a difference in the lives of our women, our children and our youths. It is better to build strong children than repair broken men. And we should build strong children for the future of our respective countries so that tomorrow, it will be the United States of Africa,” he said.