ECOWAS calls for elections in Guinea in six months and sanctions the putschists

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By Nation. Africa

The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) has imposed targeted sanctions on the leaders of military juntas in Guinea and Mali, a measure aimed at forcing countries to return quickly to democratic rule.

The decision was taken at an extraordinary summit of heads of state and government from the 15-member bloc in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, on Thursday.

A statement issued by the ECOWAS Commission said that the sanctions which involved the travel ban and the freezing of financial assets targeted members of juntas and members of their families.

In Guinea, sanctions take effect immediately against all members of the National Committee for Reconciliation and Development

(CNRD) and their family members. And in Mali, this will only affect people identified as participating in a deliberate move to anticipate the transition process there.

All 15 member states were represented at the summit, including heads of state from nine countries, including the leaders of Sierra Leone, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau and Senegal. Nigeria, the regional superpower, was represented by its vice president, Yemi Osinnajo.

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The summit was chaired by the Ghanaian president and current president of the bloc, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

President Akufo-Addo told an opening summit session ahead of a closed-door leaders’ session that he hoped his fellow heads of state would offer lasting solutions to crises that could send a strong message against the resurgence of coups in the region. .

ECOWAS leaders discussed two reports presented to them by envoys sent to Guinea and Mali.

The mission to Guinea was dispatched on September 10, five days after special forces soldiers led by Lt. Col. Mamady Doumbouya seized power and arrested President Condé. The main objective of this mission was to secure the release of the deposed president and to hand over military power to civilians. He did not achieve either.

“The Conference reiterates its firm condemnation of the coup d’état of September 5, 2021 and reaffirms its request for the immediate and unconditional release of President Alpha Condé”, we read in part in the press release read by the President of ECOWAS Jean-Claude Kassi Brou during a press briefing. He adds that the bloc holds the junta leaders individually and collectively responsible for the security of Mr. Condé.

The leaders of the Guinean junta have been ordered to conduct presidential and legislative elections and hand over power to elected officials within six months. All CNRD members have been banned from running in the presidential election.

ECOWAS leaders in the statement, however, also acknowledged the junta’s “apparent commitment” to work for a speedy return to constitutional order, citing ongoing consultations with national and international actors in the country.

Mali, where the military first seized power in August 2020 and later in May this year, is expected to hold elections in February 2022, as dictated by a previous summit of regional leaders.

But some fear that the transitional government will not meet the deadline, while the junta is dragging its feet.

The report on the political transition in Mali was presented by the former Nigerian president and ECOWAS envoy to the country, Goodluck Jonathan. The bloc’s decision, according to the ECOWAS statement, was an endorsement of the main recommendations contained in the Jonathan report.

He expressed his dissatisfaction with the slow preparation for the elections and insisted that the stipulated date be respected.

Mali’s transitional government has also been ordered to submit by the end of next month a roadmap outlining the essential stages of the transition to elections, insisting that only the reforms necessary to organize the elections to the date indicated should be implemented.

The President of the ECOWAS Commission has been tasked with compiling and submitting the list of individuals and groups of individuals involved in the alleged efforts to derail Mali’s transition process for appropriate action.

ECOWAS leaders also called for support from the African Union, the European Union, the United Nations and multilateral and bilateral partners in the application of sanctions.

This intransigent position adopted by ECOWAS is a demonstration of the efforts of the leaders to consolidate the democracy and the good governance which it qualified as “essential” for the development, the peace and the stability of the region.

And in apparent response to criticism of his inaction against democratically-elected leaders who undermine democracy, which pro-democracy groups say have inspired a resurgence of coup in the region, ECOWAS leaders have pledged to launch a process to revise its Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.


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