Chambas vacates Ghanaian Parliament

Accra- Ghana (PANA) -- Newly-elected Executive Secretary of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mohamed Ibn Chambas Thursday bade farewell to the Ghanaian parliament opening the way for a bye-election to fill his seat.
Chambas, who was serving his second term in parliament for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), was nominated and supported by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).
His Bimbilla Constituency seat had swung from the NDC in 1992 to the People's National Convention (PNC) before being recaptured by Chambas with a comfortable majority in 2000.
But the NPP, which has 100 seats in parliament and has had to woo over small opposition parties and independent members in the 200-member legislature in crucial times, says it is determined to wrest the seat from the NDC.
According to the Constitution, the Clerk of Parliament has seven days to write to the Electoral Commission about the vacant seat and a bye-election held in 30 days.
Chambas, who was Deputy Foreign Minister and Deputy Education Minister under former President Jerry Rawlings, avoided partisan politics when he made his final speech to the House Thursday, praising his colleagues for giving him "exceptionally strong support.
" "I feel deeply touched.
I shall certainly miss the camaraderie that has characterised our relationship here," he added.
On ECOWAS, he said: "I take over the ECOWAS Secretariat at a time when our sub-region has embraced many new initiatives to build a peaceful democratic, economically vibrant and integrated West Africa.
" He said the protocol on good governance, the fast-track approach regarding trade liberalisation and monetary union, various sub-regional infrastructural projects in energy, road, rail and telecommunications, as well as the New Economic Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), would all contribute to the realisation of the noble objectives of ECOWAS founding fathers.
Chambas said the creation of the ECOWAS Parliament was an acknowledgement of the crucial role of the various parliaments to build a democratic and truly integrated West Africa with greater opportunities for private sector growth, employment generation and reduction in high poverty levels.
"This is a time of great challenges, but also of tremendous opportunity.
Let us work together, face the challenges squarely and take advantage of the opportunities to make the 21st Century Africa's century of destiny - a century of African renaissance.
" Alban Bagbin, Minority Leader, described Chambas as a shining member of the NDC, "nurtured as a flower that has blossomed with a sweet scent blowing over the sub-region.

14 february 2002 14:40:00

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