In 2001, at the end of a decade of democratization, ECOWAS Member States adopted the "Protocol a/sp1/12/01 on Democracy and Good Governance additional to the Protocol relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security". It was complemented in 2007 by ECOWAS's Vision 2020, which had the ambition of moving the institution towards an ECOWAS of the people.
All assessments of the progress made by the West African organization towards the goal of creating a people's ECOWAS conclude that it has failed. In relation to the objectives of the charter on democracy and good governance, the regression is significant in some countries. Indeed, in recent years, several leaders have run for third terms, leading to serious electoral crises and corruption scandals.
Thus, West African civil society would like to become more involved in a constructive process alongside the regional institution. The goal is to help reduce the many frustrations arising from electoral crises, as well as problems of bad governance, insecurity, and democratic denial.
A first Citizens' Summit on the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, initiated by the Social Universities of Togo (UST), was thus held in Lomé in 2017. Another summit for civil society organizations was then held in Niger in 2019, organized by the NDI. During this summit, Mahamadou Issoufou, former president of Niger, pledged not to run for a third term. The participants had then committed, in the Niamey Declaration, to "Promote and defend the principles of constitutionalism, the rule of law and respect for term limits. ". Following on from these two summits, African civil society organizations are organizing the second edition of the citizen summit on July 8, 9 and 10, 2021 at the Palais des Congrès in Cotonou.
The objective of this 2nd edition is to focus on the effective implementation of existing texts, including the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance. While four of the top five longest-serving heads of state are African, the Summit will focus on the issue of a lifetime limit of two presidential terms and on the transparency and credibility of electoral processes, which are key elements in the democratization of regimes. In 2015, ECOWAS wanted to make permantant this principle of term limits, but Togo and Gambia were opposed to it. Today, it is clear that the issue of the third term is a source of conflict and democratic regression throughout the ECOWAS area.
The first day of the summit will be dedicated to a meeting of the West African youth on the issues of democratization and good governance. In the perspective of the ECOWAS Vision 2050, a declaration that will collect recommendations made by the youth will be released. July 9 and 10 will be days dedicated to conferences and debates around crucial issues for the present and future of ECOWAS states: the transparency of electoral processes, violations and changes in the constitution, the repression of human rights defenders and activists, or the role of the military in the governance of states.
David Dosseh, First Summit Coordinator & Coordinator of Tournons la Page Togo:
email@example.com ; +228 90 32 82 76
Brigitte Ameganvi, Summit Coordinator & Treasurer of Tournons la Page:
firstname.lastname@example.org; +336 12 84 78 21
Ismaël Diallo, Assistant to the Summit Coordinator & Project Manager at Tournons la Page: