The Vice President of The Gambia, Alieu Badara Joof has tasked members of the ECOWAS Parliament to promote development democracy arguing political democracy leads to partisan politics and bickering.
He challenged them to better serve their people while saying the region does not need conflict.
The Gambian No 2, was addressing lawmakers from ECOWAS member countries, who are currently attending a five-day Delocalised Meeting of the Joint Committee on Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Legal Affairs and Human Rights, Social Affairs, Gender and Women Empowerment at the Sir Dawda International Conference Centre in Bijilo.
The outspoken VP urged the members of the ECOWAS legislature to use their oversight functions to hold all other institutions including the executive accountable for progressive democracy.
“If the legislature functions, democracy functions. Political democracy leads to partisan politics, it leads to bickering, it leads to ignoring the idiom of development,” he said.
“But development democracy, we work together, we reduce poverty, we reduce conflict, we de-risk the society of disease, we de-risk the society of ignorance, we de-risk the society of hunger; that is development democracy.” He added “and that is a challenge I’m posing to you that we should promote development democracy rather than putting a lot of emphasis on political democracy which leads to disunity and dis-functionalism of the system. So promote development democracy.”
He further stated that development of the region does not lie in coups saying sound policies are the way forward.
West Africa is faced with numerous challenges including coup d’états, conflicts and extremism and VP emphasised the more reason why the lawmakers should promote development democracy not political development which could lead to disunity among the people of the region.
“We don’t need conflict in the ECOWAS region. The cost of war is more expensive than the price of peace and it is in peace that we can achieve a lot,” VP Joof stressed.
He acknowledged that the region is faced with numerous challenges and expressed dissatisfaction with the leadership of the region saying the youth do not find what they want, resorting to risking their lives in the seas with the hope of entering Europe.
“The youth of ECOWAS migrating to Europe, acting out their lives tragically in the desert sands of the Sahara or being enslaved somewhere in the Maghreb or drowning in the treacherous waters of the Mediterranean.
“And even if they crossed to Europe, they face the walls and the barbed wires meaning that they are not wanted.
“It is because of the push factor; home is not home sweet home, it is home sour home.”