Guinea Coup: Stop being reactive – Prof. Antwi Danso to ECOWAS, AU

The Dean of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Professor Vladimir Antwi-Danso has mentioned that the imposition of protocols on countries after the coup are not helping but rather a punishment to the citizens living in the country at large.

According to Prof. Antwi Danso, the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS and the African Union AU, have become reactive anytime there is an overthrow of the government.

He indicated that in 2001 ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance defined common constitutional principles and rejected any “power obtained or maintained by unconstitutional means.” Article 45 of the protocol states, “In the event that democracy is abruptly brought to an end by any means or where there is massive violation of Human Rights in a Member State, ECOWAS may impose sanctions on the State concerned.”

Until the coming into force of the AU Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance, the ECOWAS protocol clearly went beyond the continental policy framework. Article 2(1) entailed a provision against constitutional manipulations, and it more explicitly aligned unconstitutional changes of government to human rights, freedom of expression, and the rights of citizens to choose their government’, Prof. Danso.

He continued that the imposition of these protocols have never helped anywhere in the world. We dismiss the country; we say we don’t recognize you, infact we rather punish the people within. For example Mali they didn’t have access to their own money”.

This to him, It is therefore, surprising that, ECOWAS would be mute over manipulation of the constitutions of Niger, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, and Guinea, and also over human rights abuses until coups happen.

However, “is it acceptable to ignore the factors that drive coups, only to condemn them when they happen? The African Union condemned the coups in Mali and Guinea and even suspended Mali from the union. In the same vein, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) condemned the military takeover in Guinea and suspended the country from membership. Yet these same bodies remained silent amid extreme economic hardship in Guinea and Conde’s controversial attempts to stay in power.”

“The fact is that the conditions that triggered the Guinean coup exist in several African states today. Also, developments after the coup, including widespread jubilations on the streets and the fact that the coup-makers have tried to endear themselves to the citizens by releasing political prisoners, need critical analysis so as to shorten the tenure of the military juncture and return the country quickly the constitutional rule while also drawing lessons for avoiding replication of the coup in the sub-region,” he pointed.

On September 5, 2021, the President of Guinea, Alpha Condé, was captured by the country’s armed forces in a coup d’état after gunfire in the capital, Conakry. The Army also said it has dissolved the Guinea constition.

Special forces commander Mamady Doumbouya released a broadcast on state television announcing the dissolution of the constitution and government.

Meanwhile, ECOWAS, led by its Chair, President Akufo Addo of Ghana has warned the army to return the country to constitutional rule or risk being sanctioned.

Speaking at IEA Policy Dialogue forum dubbed: “What Went Wrong in Guinea? Lessons for Africa” held at IEA Dialogue Center in Accra, Prof. Vladimir Antwi Danso, is of the veiw that “We sit down for this to happen. Can we have something else to make sure these things do not happen at all. Cote D’Ivoire we said we were going to have 6,500 -man contingent we never intervened. So on and on and on these things will continue to happen when there are crisis situations and we are incapable”, he stressed.

Prof. Vladimir Antwi Danso also tasked the leadership of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) as a matter of urgency to help Guinea build Democratic institutions to help them have structures in place, and ensure that what led to the overthrown of Alpha Konde doesn’t happened again.

According to the political analyst, there is the need to ensure prevention, by using their peer mechanism to be able to ensure that every country constitutionalism is observed. He added that one fundamental thing we should know that democracy is a process not an event ,but we always make democracy, an event.

He therefore cautioned ECOWAS leaders to spice democracy with good governance, because that’s the only way or the ballot which they think is democracy cannot stop the bullet. He made this assertion at the Institute of Ecomic Affairs(IEA) policy Dialogue in Accra on Tuesday , September 28, 2021.

stressing that when CAR experienced dictatorial rule, corruption, and severe political instabilities, prompting at least ten coups within a decade, regional bodies remained silent. Military coups in Africa have tended to follow a familiar pattern.

For Prof. Danso, the military often takes advantage of protests by disgruntled young people to arrest and depose members of the ruling elite. After a coup, one might imagine that any subsequent military or civilian administration would do whatever it takes to avert future coups by addressing the underlying factors that gave rise to them, yet that rarely happens because the original goal of gaining power is achieved.

Nigeria condemned the coup and ECOWAS threatened that Guinea would face sanctions unless the president is immediately released.The U.S., France, the African Union (AU), and the U.N. Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, condemned the seizure of power These condemnations respond to existing Protocols of the respective multilateral organizations.

The Sanctions were immediately imposed the sanctions included border closures and a ban on commercial trade and financial flows but not basic necessities, drugs, equipment to fight coronavirus, fuel or electricity. They also include travel bans on Junta members.

Report By Bernard K DADZIE

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