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May 14, 2015, 10:05 AM

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is planning to enact a new clause that will prohibit presidents of member countries from staying beyond two terms.

The agenda to introduce two-term limitin West Africa by the ECOWAS is a welcome and encouraging move by the regional body, as it will promote democracy, peace and stability in the region.

It will also place leaders on their toes to deliver the goods expected of them by their people.

It is vital to note that African leaders should not claim to own states, but should bear in mind that they are servants of their people, and so must always endeavour to do their best during their tenure.

When such a law or recommendation is effected all member states of ECOWAS should respect it, so that there will always be a peaceful and enabling environment that will pave way for economic development in the region.

If African leaders could respect this recommendation and apply it, it will be good not only for them but also for their nations, as this would attract more investors to their countries, to help in building their economies and infrastructures.

The recently dethroned Burundi president Pierre Nkurunziza is a case in point. Many African leaders who have refused to leave the presidency when their people wanted them to go have got to go down the same lane as Nkurunziza is treading now. His fate is also in limbo about his actions or inactions on the property and lives of the people of Burundi.So African leaders be warned!

The suggestion by ECOWAS should be embraced by the African Union. It should be so because so far only seven of the 15 member states of ECOWAS have applied the two-term limit. They are Senegal, Sierra Leone, Mali, Nigeria, Ghana, Cape Verde and Benin.

Next week there will be a summit of ECOWAS heads of state in Ghana, where the issue of two-term limit will be high on the agenda.

“I can see both sides of term limits, and I think, in different positions, term limits make more sense than in some others.”

Caroline Kennedy