Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 November 2019:
President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone has called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to take urgent action to stop the deteriorating political situation in Guinea Bissau and prevent instability in the region.
Speaking last Friday at the Extraordinary Session of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government held in Niamey, Niger, President Bio said: “Everything we have stood for, and all the democratic gains we have made in this region are being tested”.
Calling for strong action, president Bio said “We must be ready to change the mandate and strength of ECOWAS Mission in Guinea-Bissau (ECOMIB). Let us translate our words into action. Now is the time to act”.
The actions of President Jose Mario Vaz of Guinea Bissau (Photo), including the dismissal of the country’s Prime Minister Gomes, and the dissolution of the government were unanimously condemned at the ECOWAS summit last week.
ECOWAS Heads of State and Government attending the summit agreed that the actions of President Jose Mario Vaz of Guinea Bissau were illegal and contrary to the decision taken at the 55th Ordinary Session of ECOWAS.
The ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, expressed their deepest regrets at the turn of events in Guinea Bissau, that has plunged the country into crisis, and threatening civil war in the country.
After hours of closed-door deliberations, the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government issued a final communique, saying: “that the date of 24th November 2019 for the first round of Presidential elections in Guinea Bissau must be complied with; that the Authority condemns President Vaz’s decision to dismiss Prime Minister Gomes and the appointment of a New Prime Minister; that the Authority reaffirms its full support to Prime Minister Gomes and demands the immediate resignation of the newly appointed Prime Minister;
“The Authority directs the President of the Commission to present a list of any individuals who may have undertaken actions to derail the electoral process and upset political stability for immediate sanction; that the Authority decides to strengthen the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB) to position it to respond to all challenges before, during and after the elections and that the Authority decides to dispatch to Bissau a high-level mission of Heads of State and Government led by the Chair of the Authority, and the mission will be preceded by a mission of ECOWAS Chiefs of Defence Staff.”