The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at the end of an extraordinary summit held in Accra yesterday to discuss and respond to the political impasse in Guinea has given the Colonel Mamady Doumbouya-led National Committee for Rally and Development (CNRD), the ruling military junta in Guinea, six months ultimatum to return the country to constitutional rule.
During this period, the regional body has also imposed a travel ban on all leaders of the CNRD as well as their family members and supporters.
However, this measure does not apply to invitations extended by ECOWAS, the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN).
The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kissie Brou, disclosed this to the media after the summit.
These are part of several decisions taken at the meeting.
The full outcome of the meeting was not available at the time of going to press, since the communiqué had not been issued.
However, information gleaned by The Finder indicates that the decisions were arrived out of a report of a high -level mission dispatched to assess the political situation in that country.
The report recommended, among others, a “targeted sanctions” against the military leadership of that country.
The Mission which was commissioned pursuant to the decision of the Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of States and Governments of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), held on September 8, 2021, recommends among others the urgent need for ECOWAS leaders to demand for the immediate and unconditional release of President Alpha Condé.
Furthermore, a recommendation was made for the freezing of the financial assets of members of CNRD.
The report also recommends the nomination of a civilian to lead the referenced transition and the appointment of a facilitator by the President of the Commission to accompany the process of return to constitutional order.
Lastly, the report suggested the creation of a monitoring committee comprising ECOWAS, African Union and the United Nations to keep an eye on developments in Guinea.
The delegation led by Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana and Chairperson of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers; however, recommended strongly that “in light of the already difficult economic situation in the country and given the level of poverty among the population, economic, trade and financial sanctions should not be recommended as they could prove counterproductive.”
The delegation also observed in its report that the CNRD does not come across as well coordinated and does not have a clear vision of how to end the crisis and thus urged ECOWAS to act quickly to restore constitutional order.
This, notwithstanding, the delegation noted that the leader and members of the CNRD showed signs of readiness for a solution of the socio-political crisis and are looking forward to ECOWAS’ support for a successful transition.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who opened an extraordinary summit by ECOWAS to discuss and respond to the report on Guinea and also discuss the political situation in Mali, urged his counterparts to take the required bold decisions needed to restore democracy and peace in the region.
“We are required to take informed decisions on these matters that will have a long-time consequence on the security and the defense of democratic values of our region.”
Eight leaders, including the presidents of Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau and Niger, took part in the deliberations. Nigeria was represented by its vice-president. Three other foreign ministers and a prime ministers represented their respective countries.
It could be recalled that soldiers, led by a former French Legionnaire, Lt. Col. Doumbouya, announced on September 5, 2021 that they had seized power and arrested 83-year-old President Condé, and suspended the Constitution of the West African nation.
According to the CNRD, the coup was motivated by a chain of events resulting in institutional dysfunction, lack of confidence in the political system, breach of trust, social tensions and economic crisis.