Let’s spend some time in diplomacy with the junta in Niger
Though international opinion has condemned the coup in Niger, the call to restore the democratically elected government of President Mohammed Bazoum is in line with democratic principles. There is the need to restore proper state authority.
The West African subregion is enhancing its track record of coup d’états in these last two years. Over the past two decades the leadership of the ECOWAS is determined to implement the proposed action.
The challenge remains most pressing, especially in sub–Saharan African. Disruption of constitutional rule derails national development, especially in a place where majority of the people are in extreme poverty.
A coup d’état will have a direct impact on people who already need humanitarian assistance from the developed world.
Even before the military takeover by the junta, their poor conditions remained essentially unchanged. There is precisely no improvement in their social condition.
Capability, West African Force
The West Africa military force based on the performance of ECOMOG in peace keeping and peace building in Liberia and Sierra Leone some two decades ago can confront the military junta led by General Abdourahamane Tchiani.
Though there was a sporadic display of support for the junta, it is possible that some of the military personnel will not join the group to resist ECOWAS intervention.
ECOWAS military commanders have all the professional skill required to attempt to accomplish such an agenda. There is a commitment to put the nation back on the trail of democracy and rule of law, if this is achieved by ECOWAS that would be a great achievement and an investment which will deter other countries from such unconstitutional action.
The US Diplomatic efforts are well noted, as well as the defence and foreign ministers of ECOWAS, European governments and those of many developed countries who have also shown commitment to the preservation of peace and stability in the sub-region.
The UN has poured itself into the mediation efforts, but there are challenges, and the leadership of the junta may take time to respond positively to diplomatic persuasions.
Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and many other African countries are looking for a new definition of the relationship between Africa and the West in these last few weeks. Niger and many other African countries are trying to analyse the relationship between France and Africa.
The leaders of the junta are posing key questions and are trying to challenge current understanding of the role the West played in Africa.
The junta argues that the relationship between the West, specifically France and Africa has been characterised by conflicting interests.
France must listen to the voice of their former colonies; the teacher must listen to the bits of the children and learn from their mistakes.
France and some other western countries would need a complete paradigmatic shift to accommodate the notion of their colonies that may contradict the rules of their civilisation.
Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait and annexed the country. Prior to this, Saudi Arabia had engaged Iraq and Kuwait to resolve the dispute.
The kingdom representing the voice of the Arab league adopted a stable policy to tackle the crisis. Saudi Arabia and other diplomats coordinated efforts to contain the dispute between Iraq and Kuwait.
The Arab Leagues diplomacy began when the first indications of the disputes between the two countries loomed large on the horizon. Regrettably, matters took a course different from what diplomats had striven for.
ECOWAS, African Union, the UN the United States, and other countries are finding it difficult to push the diplomatic option. It was in order that the international coalition force exonerate Kuwait.
It happened that UN and regional bodies have been keen on the use of force as a means for solving crisis. They all sought to achieve a just and peaceful solution that will avoid bloodshed.
The international Coalition Force at a high preparedness fought and exonerated Kuwait. ECOWAS may not go the way of the Coalition force. The action in Kuwait was a requirement of the season.
Sadam Hussein unlawfully annexed Kuwait, a sovereign state side stepping the demands of international law.
The coup happened in the country led by their own citizens and even had the support of a greater majority of them.
The junta must conform to international democratic norms by restoring the democratically elected government. It is not in the interest of any country to deal with coup leaders who have
thrown constitution away.
The call by the UN, African Union, ECOWAS and the United States to reinstate ousted President Mohammed Bazoum is in the right direction. Whatever grievances they may have they will have to come to the negotiating table.
They have to prepare an acceptable timetable to return the country to constitutional rule. This is the short-term measure.
The long-term measure will be for France to review its economic and financial relationship with the francophone countries. The three coup d’états in the sub-region Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger have spotlighted the genuine interest of the people in these countries towards the unfair treatment of their colonial master.
There is hope, though. France tried for centuries and is still trying to impose its own model of development on Africa, without taking into account the cultural, political, economic and other differences that the current sustainable development concepts accommodate.
The writer is Senior Lecturer,
Coordinator (Russian Section),
Department of Modern Languages,
University of Ghana.