ECOWAS discusses Guinea in Accra today

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
 Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey (left), the Minister of Foreign Affairs, speaking at the press conference in Accra. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR
Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey (left), the Minister of Foreign Affairs, speaking at the press conference in Accra. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will hold an extraordinary summit in Accra today to discuss the coup d’état and the political crisis in Guinea.

Heads of State and other top officials of the 15-member sub-regional bloc will deliberate on a report by a fact-finding mission sent to assess the situation in Guinea on September 10, this year.

It is expected that after the summit, ECOWAS will give the military junta in Guinea timelines to prepare the country back to democracy, in accordance with the ECOWAS treaty and protocol on democracy and good governance.

This is the second time ECOWAS will be meeting with Guinea on the agenda.

The first meeting was held virtually on Wednesday, September 8, this year, during which the Authority of the Heads of State and Government, the highest decision-making body of ECOWAS, suspended Guinea over the coup that toppled President Alpha Conde on September 5, this year.

Participants

Heads of State of six countries — Togo, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Niger and Senegal — are expected to join President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the ECOWAS Chairman, at the summit.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, who confirmed the participants at a press conference in Accra yesterday, said Nigeria would be represented by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, while The Gambia and Sierra Leone would be represented by their Foreign Affairs ministers.

Guinea and Mali, the two West African states currently being ruled by military juntas, will not be participating in the summit, as they have been suspended from the sub-regional body.

Agenda

Ms Botchwey said the Authority of Heads of State of ECOWAS would assess the report of the fact-finding mission, after which it would come up with a communique detailing the next line of action.

“At the moment, the ministry has not received any indication of participation by Cape Verde and Benin. We also expect the participation of the President and the Vice-President of the ECOWAS Commission,” she said.

Coup d'état

Guinea was thrown into political turmoil on September 5 when Prof. Conde was overthrown in a coup by the country’s Special Forces, led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya.

Col Doumbouya formed a military junta dubbed: National Committee for Reconciliation and Development (CNRD).

Prof. Conde, who had been in power since 2010 and was in the first year of his controversial third term, is currently being held under house arrest by the junta.

The coup was condemned by ECOWAS, the African Union and the United Nations, with all of them calling for the unconditional release of Prof. Conde and the restoration of democratic rule in Guinea.

Last Tuesday, Col Doumbouya and other leaders of the CNRD met political, religious and business leaders and other stakeholders, which meeting the junta said would lay the framework for forming a transitional government that would set the country on the path back to democracy.

State of shock

Ms Botchwey, who is the Chairperson of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, led a high level mission to Guinea on September 10 to assess the situation.

“The delegation informed Col Doumbouya of its mission to ascertain, among others, the issues that led to the coup and about the plan of the CNRD for the restoration of constitutional order in Guinea,” she said.

The Foreign Affairs Minister said the delegation also met with Prof. Conde and spent some time with him.

She revealed that the ousted President was in good health, but was in a state of shock.

“He looked very well, but for anybody who had gone through a traumatic experience like he did, he was still in a state of shock,” she said.

Road traffic disruption

Meanwhile, the Ghana Police Service has announced that there will be temporary road blocks on some roads in Accra today as a result of the summit.

The Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Police Service, Superintendent of Police Mr Alexander Obeng, said the temporary road blocks were to facilitate the transportation of the Heads of State and other dignitaries to the Kempinski Hotel, where the submit would be held.

Speaking at the same event, he indicated the affected areas to include the Kotoka International Airport, the Opeibia House, the Akuafo Roundabout, Afrikiko, the Ako-Adjei Interchange, the National Theatre, the Ridge Roundabout and finally the Kempinski Hotel.

“There will be about 100 policemen to direct traffic. The road blocks will be temporary, meaning they will be done as and when the dignitaries are being escorted to the venue,” he said.

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