The Authority of Heads of State and Government of regional group Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has suspended Guinea from all ECOWAS governing bodies with immediate effect, voicing its unreserved opposition to the military junta’s overthrow of President Alpha Conde’s government last Sunday, 5 September 2021.
The Authority took the decision during an extraordinary session convened via videoconference Wednesday, 8 September, announcing plans to immediately dispatch a high-level ECOWAS mission to Guinea to assess the situation there.
“[The] Authority will review the situation in light of developments in the Republic of Guinea and the Assessment mission report,” a final communique from the extraordinary session said.
Led by army Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, members of Guinea’s Special Forces captured President Conde in a coup Sunday over claims of his alleged disrespect for democratic principles, corruption, and tampering with the constitution, among others as factors for the uprising.
The junta carried out the coup while Prof. Conde was serving a third presidential term he won after changing the constitution months before elections were held in Guinea, amidst violence in the country and resistance from citizens opposed to the move.
But the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS reaffirms its unreserved opposition to any political change by unconstitutional means and condemns, in the strongest terms, this coup.
It demands respect for the physical safety of President Condé, and his immediate and unconditional release, as well as that of all arrested persons.
Meanwhile, the Authority calls on the African Union and the United Nations to endorse decisions it has taken and are stated in its final communique.
“The Authority expresses deep concern over the political developments in the Republic of Guinea following the coup d’état of 5 September 2021 and their consequences for regional peace and stability,” the communique reveals.
The Authority holds the coup plotters, under the aegis of the National Committee for Reconciliation and Development (CNRD), individually and collectively responsible for the physical safety of President Alpha Condé and the arrested persons.
It calls for the immediate return to constitutional order and demands that the Defence and Security Forces maintain a constitutional posture.
The Heads of State and Government express their solidarity with the people of Guinea and affirm their determination to take every necessary action for the restoration of constitutional order in Guinea, in conformity with the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.
On the political transition in the Republic of Mali, the Authority considered the report by the Mediator, former Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, on his mission to Mali from 5 to 7 September 2021.
The mission reviewed the transition process and, particularly, the progress made in the preparations for the election scheduled to be held in February 2022.
The Authority welcomes the relative calm observed in the country and takes note of the renewed commitment of the transitional authorities to respect the planned duration of the transition period.
The Authority also takes note of the lifting of the restrictive measures imposed on the former President of the Transition, Bah N’Daw, and the former Prime Minister, Mr. Moctar Ouane.
It calls on the Chair of the Authority to remain seized of the matter and of the conditions of detention of former senior government officials, particularly, the former Prime Minister, Mr. Boubeye Maiga, a person of advanced age.
The Authority expressed great concern over the lack of progress in the preparations for the different election-related activities scheduled for the end of February 2022, in accordance with the decisions of the Authority.
It urged the Transitional Government to draw up rapidly, a timetable detailing the calendar, reforms, and priority actions to be undertaken, including the consensual definition of the legal framework for the elections, the preparation of the voters’ list, and the choice of the body to conduct the elections. The Authority insisted on adherence to the agreed electoral timetable.
The Authority reaffirmed ECOWAS’ commitment to supporting the Republic of Mali for a successful transition and called on multilateral and bilateral partners to continue to support the transition process, particularly in the preparations for the elections.
In this connection, the Authority congratulated the Mediator and urged him to continue his efforts for a successful transition in Mali.
The Heads of State and Government express their deep gratitude to Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, for his leadership of the Community.
Present at the videoconference summit were Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kabore; Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara; The Gambia President Adama Barrow; Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; Guinea Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo and Liberian President George Manneh Weah.
Niger President Mohamed Bazoum; Senegalese President Macky Sall; Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio; Togolese President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe; Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Benin Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Aurélien Agbenonci and Cabo Verde Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Regional Integration Rui Alberto de Figueiredo Soares were also at the extraordinary session.
Further, the session was attended by ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou; African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat; and the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for West Africa Mahamat Saleh Annadif.