NEWS COMMENTARY DISCUSSES THE ECOWAS EMERGENCY SUMMIT HELD IN ACCRA AND THE POLITICAL SITUATION IN MALI
The ECOWAS emergency summit in Accra which was Chaired by Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo was necessitated by the need for a response to Mali’s second coup in nine months. The second coup has triggered warnings of fresh sanctions and deep concerns over stability in the Volatile Sahel region. The first coup in that country was led by Colonel Assimi Goita who overthrew that country’s elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita last August over perceived corruption and failure to prevent a bloody insurgency.
Even though corruption is not good and should not be entertained by any government, the solution to the problem does not lie in coups and counter coups, but the use of constitutional means to address the canker. This is the only way to ensure peace, democracy and economic growth in any part of the world. The crisis in Mali has been worsened by the second coup attempt within a short period of nine months. If care is not taken, there would be a cycle of coup attempts and political instability in that country. This would also lead to economic instability and worsening of financial misfortunes of people in that country since Mali is among the poorest countries in the world. Poverty is what should be addressed by countries in West Africa but not the use of military coups and counter coups which very often go to worsen the plight of ordinary people.
Even though Mali’s constitutional court has named Colonel Goita as the transitional President, he needs to respect the promise to hold elections in early 2022. Anything short of this would create serious doubts in the minds of ECOWAS members as well as the international community. This explains why during the kickoff of that talk, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo called for the commitment of ECOWAS for a peaceful transition in Mali, urging all member states to remain committed in supporting the people of Mali to find a peaceful solution and restore democracy and stability in the country. Colonel Assimi Goita and his military team must be made to respect the timetable to restore the country to democratic rule. It is the people of Mali who, through their own elections, must make decisions, on who should rule the country since military regimes are often found to be entangled in corruption as well.
Sometimes, corruption under military government tend to be worse compared to the previous civilian government they overthrow. The worsening of the crisis in Mali can disturb the peace not only in that country but in the sub region of West Africa as well. This explains why all hands must be on deck to pressurise the transitional leader in Mali to succumb to elections early next year. President Akufo-Addo ‘s decision to hold the meeting in Accra inviting all ECOWAS members, to freely participate in the emergency meeting, goes to show his preparedness to iron out all differences and return Mali to constitutional rule. Commitment of ECOWAS members to the peaceful transition in Mali with the basic goal of returning democratic rule and stability to that country should be the ultimate goal of all peace-loving countries in the sub region of West Africa.
What all countries in west Africa must think about is the desire to fight poverty squalor, economic degradation and hunger among others and restore people’s hope through economic growth and improvement in their economic welfare. The purpose of the meeting in Accra ought to be achieved to overcome all forms of difficulties in Mali. The way forward, therefore, is to ensure the commitment of the transitional leaders, and all stakeholders including ECOWAS members to remain committed to the peace deal so as to avoid further escalation of conflicts in that country. We do not want the situation in Mali to worsen and this explains why the fifteen-nation ECOWAS bloc has warned of re-imposing sanctions on the country as have the United States and former colonial power France. In today’s world, the international community cannot stand by any country that does not have democratic legitimacy. In the light of this therefore leaders in Mali assisted by ECOWAS must see to the full implementation of a peace deal in Mali so as to attain the purpose of the emergency ECOWAS meeting in Accra. This is what we hope for ECOWAS and the sub region as a whole.