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A Challenging Moment For ECOWAS Leaders

Jun 24, 2009, 7:01 AM

Other than discussing the global financial crisis and mode of responses to mitigate the impact on the sub-region, ECOWAS leaders attending the 36th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government in Abuja, Nigeria were faced with so many serious challenges to deal with.

The summit, no doubt focus on the current political situation in the sub-region, including the recent challenges facing Guinea Bissau in the build-up to June 28 elections. They were also faced with challenges regarding political situation in Guinea Conakry, Niger and Mali.

Our leaders also looked at the surfacing of drug trafficking in the sub-region and how to combat the practice

The session reviewed the developments in these countries and expressed concern "with the recent developments around the constitution" and rejected any attempt to maintain power through unconstitutional means, citing the imperative to respect the country's constitution and the 2001 Regional Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.

On Guinea, they reaffirmed their determination to ensure the return to constitutional governance in 2009, and appealed to members of the CNDD and the transitional government to respect the road map for the return to democracy.

This is great of our leaders. This kind of stand must be maintained and respected by all and sundry so as to maintain peace and stability in the ECOWAS sub-region.

We must give power to the electorate, meaning anyone who wants to rule must come through free, fair and transparent elections.

The words of the ECOWAS leaders are highly welcome. There is no room for unnecessary coups in this era.

On the killings in Guinea Bissau, the summit also condemned both killings of the late President Joao Bernado Viera and General Tagne Na Waie, the Chief of Defence Staff.

 In order to end impunity after the killings, Heads of State and Government urged the ECOWAS Commission and the African Union with the technical assistance from the EU, to accelerate the investigation of the killings in order to restore respect for justice and help create an atmosphere conducive for national reconciliation in Bissau.

Moreover, they urged the various stakeholders, particularly members of the security services to take all necessary measures to create a peaceful atmosphere that will guarantee that the 28th June 2009 Presidential election would be free, transparent and credible.

Once again, we commend ECOWAS leaders for their firm decision on Guinea Bissau.

The Monetary Union for the countries of the zone is scheduled to take place on or before 2015, before the introduction of Eco. The common currency to be formed in January also took centre stage in the deliberations.

We also join the ECOWAS leaders to call for the restoration of peace and justice in the region.

And in Conakry, we urge the military rulers of the CNDD and the transitional government to respect the rule of law and to restore democracy soonest.

"Judges are guided by the law; politicians by expediency."

Hilaire Belloc