ECOWAS - Economic Community of West African States

07/31/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/31/2019 05:03

ECOWAS Strengthens Capacity of Guinea Bissau Parliamentarians on Management of Disputes

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Accra, Ghana, 25th July, 2019. The ECOWAS Commission is strengthening the capacity of Guinea Bissau law makers on the use of negotiation, dialogue and mediation as effective tools for the management of parliamentary disputes.

Declaring open 4-Day workshop to this effect in Accra, Ghana, on the 23rd of July 2019 the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Gen. Francis Behanzin, recalled the political and institutional crises which had engulfed the country since 2015 and the sustained interventions by ECOWAS and its partners in seeking lasting solutions.

The Commissioner, who spoke through the Director of Political Affairs, Dr Remi Ajibewa, identified notable progress made so far to include the successful conduct of the 10th March 2019 Legislative elections in Guinea Bissau, the formation of a new government after weeks of stalemate, and the promulgation of a law to pave the way for the holding of Presidential elections now scheduled for 24th November 2019.

He noted that the ECOWAS Commission recognized the central role of the country's parliament-the Peoples National Assembly in political conflict management and the need to enhance the capacity of the Members of Parliament (MPs) in negotiation, dialogue and mediation.

In a goodwill message, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Officer-In-Charge of the UN Integrated Peace building Office in Guinea Bissau, (UNIOGBIS), Dr Abdel-Fatau Musah, welcomed the ECOWAS initiative and its timeliness. He lauded the strong collaboration between ECOWAS, which also has a mission in Guinea Bissau, ECOMIB, and UNIOGBIS, in addressing the multi-faceted political and peace-building challenges in the country.

While commending Bissau Guinean stakeholders for their contributions, Dr Musah encouraged the MPs to work towards removing all avoidable impediments to allow for the smooth functioning of the legislature.

The objectives of the workshop, funded under the European Union Support for ECOWAS Regional Peace, Security and Stability Mandate (ECOWAS-EU PSS) Project, include to promote cohesion, trust and reduce tensions between and amongst the main political actors in the National People's Assembly; enhance capacities of the leadership of the National People's Assembly in negotiation, dialogue and mediation skills; and promote the formation of an inclusive structure at the level of parliament to manage and mediate conflicts/disputes.

Besides, the workshop was meant to promote confidence and consensus-building among parliamentarians in conducting parliamentary business, create opportunity for ECOWAS to proactively engage with the leadership of the Parliament and political actors in promoting national peace and stability, familiarize participants with broad ECOWAS integration agenda, and in particular, its peace and security architecture, instruments, protocols and normative frameworks.

Participants at the workshop included members of the ruling and opposition parties represented in parliament - the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), the Movement for Democratic Alternative G-15 (MADEM G.15), the Party for Social Renewal (PRS), Assembly of the People United (APU-PDGB), the New Democratic Party (PND) and Union for Change (UM). Also in attendance are representatives of the Female Mediation Network of Guinea Bissau and inter-faith organizations.

Additionally, the workshop is expected to inspire participants to forge collaborative partnerships and promote trust-building based on national interests, for the purpose of maintaining peace, stability and efficient functioning of the business of the Parliament and other institutions of state.