Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 September 2021:
ECOWAS Heads of State and Government met two days ago via videoconference to discuss last week’s military coup in Guinea Conakry, which brought down the government of the country’s 83year old president Alpha Conde.
The military junta led by a close confidante and head of the president’s security – Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, arrested president Conde whose whereabouts and condition remain unknown.
Although Guinea remains calm and life returning to normal with the junta enjoying widespread support across the country, ripples of the military takeover are now being felt across the region as Heads of State and Government demand the reinstatement of constitutional rule.
At the meeting of ECOWAS, a few of the leaders – especially George Weah of Liberia, were philosophical about the military takeover – suggesting that the military intervention in Guinea was prompted by president Conde’s decision to change the constitution so as to achieve his three terms objective.
“While we are condemning these military coups, we must also muster the courage to look into what is triggering these unconstitutional takeovers………..Could it be that we are not honouring our political commitments to respect the term limits of our various constitutions,” said George Weah of Liberia to his fellow West African leaders.
In their published communique, ECOWAS leaders condemned the coup and resolved to send a high-level mediation team to Conakry to examine the political, social, and humanitarian condition on the ground, warning the junta leaders that they will be held individually and collectively liable for the safety and well-being of the deposed president and other detainees.
ECOWAS leaders also agreed to suspend Guinea from all ECOWAS governing bodies with immediate effect.
This is what the communique says:
“The Authority expresses deep concern over the political developments in the Republic of Guinea following the coup d’état of 5 September 2021 and their consequences for regional peace and stability. It reaffirms its unreserved opposition to any political change by unconstitutional means and condemns, in the strongest terms, this coup.
“The Authority demands respect for the physical safety of the President of the Republic and Head of State, H.E. Alpha Condé, and his immediate and unconditional release, as well as that of all arrested persons. It holds the coup plotters, under the aegis of the National Committee for Reconciliation and Development (CNRD), individually and collectively responsible for the physical safety of President Alpha Condé and the arrested persons.
“The Authority calls for the immediate return to constitutional order and demands that the Defence and Security Forces maintain a constitutional posture. The Heads of State and Government express their solidarity with the people of Guinea and affirm their determination to take every necessary action for the restoration of constitutional order in Guinea, in conformity with the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance. To that end, the Authority decides as follows:
- to suspend Guinea from all ECOWAS governing bodies with immediate effect,
- to immediately dispatch a high-level ECOWAS mission to Guinea to assess the situation,
- the Authority will review the situation in light of developments in the Republic of Guinea and the Assessment mission report.
“The Authority calls on the African Union and the United Nations to endorse the decisions stated in paragraphs 8, 9, 10 and 11 of this Final Communique.
On the political transition in the Republic of Mali
The Authority considered the report by the Mediator, H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, on his mission to Mali from 5 to 7 September 2021. The mission reviewed the transition process and, particularly, the progress made in the preparations for the election scheduled to be held in February 2022.
“The Authority welcomes the relative calm observed in the country and takes note of the renewed commitment of the transitional authorities to respect the planned duration of the transition period. The Authority also takes note of the lifting of the restrictive measures imposed on the former President of the Transition, H.E. Bah N’Daw, and the former Prime Minister, Mr Moctar Ouane.
“It calls on the Chair of the Authority to remain seized of the matter and of the conditions of detention of former senior government officials, particularly, the former Prime Minister, Mr. Boubeye Maiga, a person of advanced age.
“The Authority expresses great concern over the lack of progress in the preparations for the different election-related activities scheduled for the end of February 2022, in accordance with the decisions of the Authority. It urges the Transitional Government to draw up, rapidly a timetable detailing the calendar, reforms and priority actions to be undertaken, including the consensual definition of the legal framework for the elections, the preparation of the voters list, and the choice of the body to conduct the elections. The Authority insists on adherence to the agreed electoral timetable.
“The Authority reaffirms ECOWAS’ commitment to supporting the Republic of Mali for a successful transition and calls on multilateral and bilateral partners to continue to support the transition process, particularly in the preparations for the elections. In this connection, the Authority congratulates the Mediator, and urges him to continue his efforts for a successful transition in Mali.
“The Heads of State and Government express their deep gratitude to H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana and Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, for his leadership of the Community.”
Chaired by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana and Chair of ECOWAS, the following Heads of State and Government or their duly mandated representatives were present at the Summit:
Roch Marc Christian Kabore, President of Burkina Faso
Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire
Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of The Gambia
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana
Umaro Sissoco Embalo, President of the Republic of Guinea Bissau
Georges Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia
Mohamed Bazoum, President of the Republic of Niger
Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal
Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone
Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe, President of the Togolese Republic
Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Aurélien Agbenonci, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Benin
Rui Alberto de Figueiredo Soares, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Regional Integration of the Republic of Cabo Verde.
The summit was also attended by Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, President of the ECOWAS Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission and Mahamat Saleh Annadif, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for West Africa.