• Security analyst, Irbard Ibrahim, says the leadership should be cautious in dealing with the situation
• Irbard wants a review of ECOWAS’ way of handling such insecurities
Security consultant and social commentator, Irbard Ibrahim, has suggested that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) needs a review of its processes in tackling insecurities in the sub-region.
Speaking on this week’s The Lowdown on GhanaWeb TV, he explained that there is no need to deny the fact that the ECOWAS has put in place the right measures needed in situations like what has happened in Guinea.
ECOWAS recently suspended the West African country over the coup led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, toppling the long reign of Alpha Conde.
This, Irbard Ibrahim said, was the right thing to do.
“The communique that has come out of the extraordinary session summoned by the ECOWAS chair of heads of governments, Ghana’s own president, Nana Addo, has done what we’ve done in recent years, as soon as there is a coup, the tools that are available within the toolkit, are the things we use.
“First of all, we announce the suspension of the country from ECOWAS, so the borders are shut – that’s a semblance of our sanctions but because we’re not an economic powerhouse, you can’t say presidents or military people who have saved in banks within West Africa will have their accounts frozen. It is non-existent, to begin with and so what you do is to come out and say the membership of that country has been suspended, so that will cajole them into putting together a transitional government,” he said.
He explained that the current situation is however quite thorny, especially considering the enormous role that the late Jerry John Rawlings played in the Mali situation.
He admitted that the absence of the former president makes it quite difficult in getting to the root of the impasse in Guinea.
“But, unlike in Mali where Jerry Rawlings was involved, because Nana Addo as chair of ECOWAS at that time, invited the military coup leaders to Accra and they met Jerry Rawlings because Jerry Rawlings has a history of transition from AFRC, PNDC into a civilian government. So, those were some pep talks involved in diplomatically resolving the Malian issue.
“But today, Jerry Rawlings is no more; we’ve lost him. And so, what are the options? And again, I see intransigence on the part of the coup leaders because they are complaining [that] when things were bad, where was ECOWAS? Why would ECOWAS now dictate to them what to do? And for me, it puts across a situation because this is a situation you’d have to intervene and the military leader seems popular currently,” he said.
Irbard Ibrahim also cautioned the ECOWAS, led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to work at dialoguing with the military leaders rather than aiming to force them to succumb to a democratic process.
“That means that if ECOWAS wants to use force to turn to a civilian government, there could be a civil war and so the options of ECOWAS are a bit limited and I believe that when we jaw-jaw, it’s always better than war-warring. And so, I believe that we need to speak to Colonel Mamadou and all the people involved in this coup.
“ECOWAS comes up with ad hoc measures; we saw in the Gambia, they involved Sirleaf, Buhari, and other leaders and immediately after the crisis, they dissolved that initiative. So, there should be a continuous standby initiative to resolve political insecurity issues,” he advised.
The Lowdown, a current affairs program, airs on Mondays on GhanaWeb TV on YouTube.
Watch the full interview below:
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