Leadership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was humiliated Friday, by residents of the Guinean capital, Conakry, when it stormed that country to speak with the junta that overthrew one of theirs, Alpha Conde, for his release him.
The delegation led by Ghanaian President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who is the Chairman of ECOWAS, was also to talk with the new military leadership on how to restore democracy within the shortest possible time.
However, the presence of Ivorian leader, Alhassane Quatara, is suspected to have sparked the anger among the people of Guinea, who saw him as unfit to be part of the delegation to speak on the Guinean issues; because Ouatara was believed to have also adopted the same democratic sin of Alpha Conde, to clinch onto power in his country.
With hosts of placards, the Conakry residents lined themselves up the principal streets chanting; CEDEAO Zero, CEDEAO Zero…. to wit “ECOWAS Is Zero” as the ECOWAS delegation drove through the city for the meeting venue.
On September 5, 2021, Soldiers in the West Africa state led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya overthrew 83-year-old President Conde in a bloodless coup.
Announcing the dissolution of the Conde government, the junta leader indicated that the army had no choice but to seize power, because of rampant corruption, abuse of power, disregard for human rights and economic mismanagement, among others.
The ECOWAS, on September 16, 2021, after an emergency meeting, imposed couple of sanctions on the Coup leaders and, called for elections within six months in its demand for quick return to civilian rule.
Even before the ECOWAS meeting in Ghana’s capital, Accra would end, Col. Doumbouya was reported to have said that ‘’We the CNRD, remain firm in our positions and will not let ourselves be intimidated by this Union of Heads of State. We are accountable only to the people of Guinea.’’
Regional heads of state in their final communiqué decided to freeze the financial assets and impose travel bans on Guinea’s military leaders and their relatives, insisting on the release of President Alpha Conde and a short transition.
“In six months elections should be held,” said ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou at a briefing, rule in a resource-rich but poverty-stricken region.
It was after the Accra meeting that the leadership of ECOWAS decided to storm Guinea and unfortunately, found itself disgraced by residents of Conakry.
Although, the residents did not attack Ghana’s President, they were livid with the presence of the Ivorian President.
Col Doumbouya pointed out to the delegation of West African leaders he was not concerned about new sanctions imposed by the regional bloc to pressure a swift transition to constitutional rule, the junta’s spokesman revealed Saturday.
He told the high-level ECOWAS envoys that “as soldiers, their work is in Guinea and there is nothing to freeze in their accounts,” junta spokesman Amara Camara said at a briefing.
The bloc’s decision to impose sanctions reflects members’ desire to deter a further democratic backslide in the region after four military-led coups in West and Central Africa, since last year.
They have demanded a six-month transition in Guinea. But Doumbouya told the delegation the will of the Guinean people should be taken into account.
Over the past week, the junta has held consultations with public figures and business leaders to map out a framework for a transitional government. It has not yet commented on the results of these talks or said what timeline it has in mind for the transition.
ECOWAS’s credibility in Guinea has been strained since 2018, when the bloc failed to condemn Conde for running for a third term in office last year, despite a law declaring that presidents must step down after two.