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ECOWAS meets today to decide next step on Guinea

By Oludare Richards, Abuja
16 September 2021   |   3:15 am
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is meeting today to review developments and decide next step on Guinea following the recent military coup in the Sahel nation...

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is meeting today to review developments and decide the next step on Guinea following the recent military coup in the Sahel nation.

Ghana’s Foreign Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, said the extraordinary summit of the bloc would examine the findings of an ECOWAS delegation to Guinea and come up with how best to restore constitutional rule in the country.

The African Union (AU) had already aligned with the sub-regional body by suspending the troubled nation’s membership last week after Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, a special forces commander, toppled 83-year-old President Alpha Conde, calling his ouster a “clear violation” of the group’s charter.

Today’s evaluation would focus on the report by the delegation from the 15-member ECOWAS team sent to Conakry to meet with coup leader Doumbouya and visit the ousted president.

Guinean Special Forces stand in position as Colonel Mamady Doumbouya arrives at the Peoples Palace ahead the second day of talks between the Colonel and members of the guinean civil society in Conakry on September 15, 2021. – Colonel Mamady Doumbouya’s special forces on September 5, 2021 seized Alpha Conde in a Coup, the West African state’s 83-year-old president, a former champion of democracy accused of taking the path of authoritarianism. (Photo by JOHN WESSELS / AFP)


“The summit will have a single agenda, where I will lay before the authority the report of the ECOWAS high-level mission to reporters.

She said Guinea’s coup leaders were not in a position to give a timetable for a return to democratic rule.

“It is now up to the Heads of State to take some serious decisions on Guinea as regards what they want to see in the next one to six months and how they want to see the transition and for how long it should be,” the Ghanaian added.

Conde came under intense pressure for what critics termed a slide into authoritarianism, with several opposition activists arrested after a disputed election last year.

The putsch, on the other hand, has sparked fears of democratic backsliding across West Africa, drawing links to developments in Mali, since August last year.

The junta, led by Doumbouya, a former member of the French Foreign Legion, began holding consultations with various public figures and groups in the country, including political parties and religious leaders, on Tuesday.

The military administration said at the time that the four-day talks would lead to the formation of a transitional government.

When asked whether the bloc should have done more to prevent Conde from extending his presidency, Botchway stated: “There is need to amend the ECOWAS Charter to have more stringent measures to proactively deal with situations where Presidents try to change constitutions to remain in power.”