ECOWAS demands return to constitutional rule in Guinea

BY: Justice Agbenorsi
 President Akufo-Addo — ECOWAS Chairman
President Akufo-Addo — ECOWAS Chairman

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has demanded that the members of the Guinean defence and security forces who embarked on a coup in that country return it to constitutional rule.

The regional bloc also called for the immediate and unconditional release of President Alpha Condé and all other persons in detention following the coup d’etat.

The Chairperson of ECOWAS, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who made the demand in a statement, also said “ECOWAS demands respect for the physical safety of the President of the Republic, Professor Alpha Condé”.

The statement, which was issued in Accra last Sunday, reaffirmed ECOWAS’ objection to any unconstitutional political change.

“We ask the Guinean defence and security forces to remain in a constitutional posture and express our solidarity with the Guinean people and their government,” it added.

Suspension of constitution

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the head of Guinea's military special forces that ousted the government last Sunday, Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, announced the proscription of the Guinean Constitution and the dissolution of the National Assembly and called on zonal commanders to replace regional governors.

It also invited outgoing ministers and former presidents of institutions to a meeting at the People's Palace at 11 a.m. yesterday, adding: “Any refusal to attend will be considered a rebellion against the CNRD.”

The statement assured the international community of the physical and moral integrity of the overthrown president, saying “we have taken all measures to ensure that he has access to health care and in contact with doctors. Everything will be fine”.

It added that an arrangement was being made to ensure the safety of peaceful citizens, as well as their properties, and, therefore, urged people to resume work.

“All units in the interior are requested to keep calm and avoid movements towards Conakry. The road police and gendarmerie detachments must ensure compliance with these measures,” it said.

It further urged the people to comply with a national curfew it had imposed until further notice.

Background

This is the second time President Akufo-Addo has had to ask illegitimate governments to return to constitutional rule since he assumed office as ECOWAS Chairman a year and a half ago.

The first intervention was in Mali, where Col Assimi Goïta ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita last year.

Upon the intervention of President Akufo-Addo and a mediator, Mr Goodluck Jonathan, the junta in that country agreed to form a unity transitional government.

In May this year, however, Col Goïta again seized power from the interim President, Bah Ndaw, and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, accusing them of failing in their duties and seeking to sabotage the country's transitional effort.

ECOWAS subsequently met in Accra to expel Mali from the regional bloc, including the application of sanctions.

The Guinean situation is, therefore, another litmus test for President Akufo-Addo to help bring calm to that country and also ensure that it returns to constitutional rule.