The MFWA is saddened by the failure of the ECOWAS and the African Union (AU) leadership to live by the fine protocols and charters on good governance they have adopted over the years and thus failing to act to prevent leaders from acting in ways that do not bode well for good governance, peace and security.
While ECOWAS and AU instruments abhor constitutional amendments by Presidents to perpetuate themselves in power, leaders of the regional groups remained silent over the years in the face of evident attempts by former President Blaise Compaoré to amend the constitution of Burkina Faso in order to seek re-election after his constitutionally mandated term comes to an end in November 2015.
Citizens of Burkina Faso exercised their civic rights by staging protests to indicate their displeasure at attempts by now ex-President Compaoré to extend his stay in power. They later succeeded in forcing the President to resign from office.
Compaoré, who until October 31, 2014, had ruled Burkina Faso for 27 years, tried to push for a constitutional amendment through parliament. If he had succeeded with the amendment, there would been a change in Presidential term limits to make it possible for him to stand for re-election next year.
To ensure regional peace and the protection of the rights of citizens, ECOWAS and AU leaders must begin to enforce regional mechanisms and protocols on good governance, human rights and democracy. ECOWAS and AU leaders must be seen to be acting in defence of citizens rather than themselves. The ECOWAS and the AU must be seen to be institutions of the people rather than of Heads of State. It is the only way the continental and sub-regional body can gain the confidence of citizens and promote regional peace and stability.
Issued by the MFWA in Accra on November 3, 2014.