In spite of the ‘snail pace’ at which mediation efforts to restore calm in the West African State of Bourkina Faso may be preceding, Nigeria, on Tuesday, played host to another extraordinary summit of Leaders of the regional group – ECOWAS.
At the core of the gathering of West African Heads of States was a proposal evolving from recent discussions held with Bourkinabe civil society groups, political parties, as well as the military junta, among others, by an ECOWAS mediation team headed by President Macky Sall.
The proposal by Ecowas includes returning the country to civilian rule, an amnesty for the soldiers behind the recent coup, as well as the conduct of elections by the end of November – a plan that continues to attract resentment in certain quarters of the Bourkinabe society, culminating into the current military situation in the country.
In the wake of the planned extraordinary summit of ECOWAS on Tuesday, army troops movement into the Capital, Ouagadougou against the Presidential Guards, who over-threw the interim Government and held the President and Prime Minister hostage, threatened the stability of the country. The army assault on the Presidential Guards who may have defied an army ultimatum to aside by Tuesday morning – the day of the meeting of ECOWAS leaders in Nigeria may further create more problems.
Regrettably, without any courtesy and respect, as it relates to the outcome of Tuesday’s meeting, the main army – probably under the influence of politicians, began converging on the capital for the military showdown that may exacerbate the already crisis-prone West African nation.
Even though ECOWAS may be slow in its mediation efforts in the region, it is equally unfair for Bourkinabe politician and army to thrive on such path they chose, under the guise of removing the junta and restoring the interim government in the wake of efforts by ECOWAS. Moreover, it is even uncertain that the current state of affairs, regarding the dislodging of the Presidential Guards from Quogadougou, may lead to a smooth transition.
Additionally, while ECOWAS’ financial and logistical constraints may be well understood, fast-tracking some of these mediation efforts under emergency for immediate resolution could prevent intensification of such cris9s. Other than travel restrictions on coup makers, tougher measures such as restrictions on economic relations with neighboring countries, as well as international communications must first be in place against those who breach ECOWAS and African Union Protocols against military coup, before any mediation effort.
Again, in all fairness, ECOWAS continues to be the strongest regional organizations on the African continent and must be given the opportunity to be stronger, efficient and effective in ensuring the peace and security of the West African Region.
And in the wake of the prevailing military situation, ECOWAS must also condemn the army for undermining its peace initiatives, especially ongoing efforts for lasting solution to the crisis in Bourkina Faso. Bourkinabe politicians must also be warned against inciting/influencing the army, while Leaders of ECOWAS attempt to ensure a smooth transition to democracy in the interest of all Bourkinabes.