KIGALI – Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah has appealed to the European Union (EU) to respect the sovereignty of African states.
He accused the EU of continuously influencing how African countries define democracy, saying that whilst many African states are independent, they cannot practice their own ideologies of democracy.
“Why are we disrespecting people, if a country wants to do what is best for them, allow them to seek and find on their own what is best for them as a country,” Oulanyah said.
Oulanyah made the remarks at the ongoing 55th Session of the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) and the 38th Session on Joint African-Caribbean and Pacific-European Union (ACP-EU) Parliamentary Assembly in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Joint Political Committee which is meeting from 13 to 22 November 2019 debated and adopted a report on democracy and respect for the constitution in EU and ACP states.
Oulanyah expressed dissatisfaction with the report for criticizing 18 nations without presidential term limits in the Sub Sahara Africa, arguing that some developed countries do not have written constitutions.
“What should be clear is the respect of the constitution and how if at all, the people wish to amend it to suit their country’s evolving needs,” Oulanyah said.
According to Oulanyah, EU should instead focus on investing in the stability and prosperity of nations through practical policies and creating a platform for equal dialogues on global matters.
Kenya, Madagascar and the Caribbean pointed out that some African countries are still in the process of developing democratic processes which are suitable for their states, hence the need to provide the necessary support.
Weidou Adjedoue a delegate from Madagascar said, “I support wholesomely the idea that dignity and respect to African members in the ACP-EU should be focused on,”
Mali, Malawi and Burkina Faso, however, called on all African nations to embrace democracy, arguing that democracy is a universal language for all.
The report which was generated by the ACP joint political committee received overwhelming support and it recommends that continued efforts should be made to ensure people’s participation in decision-making processes, including the role of the opposition and the involvement of civil society without discrimination.
The ACP-EU partnership agreement, signed in Cotonou in June 2000 was concluded for a 20-year period from 2000 to 2020. It has been the framework for the EU’s relations with 79 ACP countries.