Parliament has praised ECOWAS for its timely intervention in solving the Gambian post-election crisis by deploying troops to maintain peace in that country.
The House said the high powered mediation team at various times also ensured that the Protocol on the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security was fully enforced, setting a new standard in sub-regional commitment to action.
Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin MP for Efutu, in statement, raised the issue on the floor of Parliament, noting disputes over election results and its attendant armed conflicts as one of the perennial problems to peace and security in the West African sub-region.
He said on December 9, 2016 former President Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia, withdrew an earlier concession of defeat he had offered Adama Barrow following the December 1, elections.
He said former President Jammeh subsequently indicted his intention to legally contest the election results. This was enabled by an admission by the Electoral Commission of the Gambia that the margin of Barrow’s victory had be recomputed from nine per cent to four percent.
Mr Afenyo-Markin stated that the integrity of Jammeh’s decision to contest the election result was however tamed by his record of manipulation of the judiciary in the Gambia under the excuse that there were no supreme court judges to rule on the matter.
He said the brink of another violent conflict situation in the sub-region, ECOWAS activated its dispute settlement mechanism while calling on President Jammeh to respect the results and ensure that there was a peaceful transition to the newly-elected Adama Barrow.
He said the gunboat diplomacy manifesting as a combination of mediation and the declared intention to use force to remove President Jammeh as well as overt support from the international community including the African union and the UN Security Council, yielded the intended outcome and on January 21, 2017 made Mr Jammeh to depart Gambia to Guinea Conakry.
Mr Afenyo-Markin further stated that multi-purpose approach adopted by ECOWAS including the deployment of the troops and the supervision of the swearing-in of the new President Adama Barrow at the Embassy of the Gambia in Senegal were necessary interventions.
This. he said, averted humanitarian disaster, violation of human rights and the rule of law, manifested threat to peace and security in the sub-region, and internal conflict by political actors and displacement of persons.
“It was gratifying that even after President Jammeh’s departure ECOWAS troops have still been deployed to ensure that the threat to the security of Gambia likely to emerge from the vestiges of the Jammeh era ,” he said.
He added that Ghana committed 205 troops that enhanced its political leverage in the sub-region.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader in his contribution to the debate called on the new government in Gambia to work towards electoral reforms in the country.
He called for a term limit to the Gambian Presidential office to prevent people from abusing the current system which had no term limit.
Ms Sarah Adwoa Sarfo, Deputy Majoity who still wanted to hang onto power after losing Presidential elections were placing the sub-region in a bad light.
She said in situations where conflicts had arisen as result of election, the most affected people were women and children.
Mr Frank Annor-Dompreh, Dr Kwabena Donkor, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah and Ms Laadi Ayamba members of parliament for Nsawam Adoagyiri, Pru East, Ofoase Ayirebi and Pusiga respectively also contributed to the debate.