Guinea: ECOWAS Mediators Heading To Meet Coup Leaders
High-level mission from main West African bloc is expected to seek democratic transition following overthrow of President Alpha Conde.
A delegation from the West Africa’s main political and economic bloc will head to Guinea on Friday, two days after it suspended country’s membership in response to a military coup that removed President Alpha Conde. The foreign ministers of Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria and the Togo are due to land in the capital, Conakry, as
representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Alpha Barry, the Burkinabe member of the delegation, said on the Thursday. The high-level diplomatic mission is expected to demand the return to constitutional order and then also to push for immediate release of Conde, who was arrested by
special forces led by the Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya on the Sunday. ECOWAS has demanded 83 year old Conde’s unconditional release but has made no mention of any possible sanctions. The military will also want to keep Alpha Conde as a bargaining chip during negotiations, reporter said from the Conakry. Life in the
capital was gradually returning to normal on Thursday, with markets reopening their doors as citizens await the announcement of a new government. Consultations have been going on but apparently this is taking much longer than the coup leaders had expected. Doumbouya maintains he is acting in the best interests of the nation,
accusing Conde’s government of endemic corruption and of trampling on citizens’ rights. He has pledged to install a transitional government of national unity but has not said when or how that will happen. The coup in Guinea also sparked broad diplomatic condemnation, including by the United Nations and the African Union. It
was the fourth in 13 months in West and Central Africa, raising concerns among observers over a proliferation of military-led governments in the region. It’s also very important for ECOWAS and other international actors to condemn this coup, which was unconstitutional, and to not let a precedent be set that it’s all right to depose a
government that you simply disagree with, Alix Boucher, analyst at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies said. Clearly what needs to happen is a transition of some sort that also brings back democracy and that helps to also establish a system where the government is well managed, where human rights too are guaranteed and
where political participation leads to elections, Boucher said. ECOWAS on the Wednesday said it had suspended Guinea’s membership to the fifteen 15 member bloc in response to the coup. However, Alpha Barry, Burkina Faso’s foreign minister, also told reporters following an extraordinary virtual summit that the bloc could review
its decision to suspend Guinea’s membership following its mediation. At the end of that mission, the ECOWAS should be able to re-examine its position, Barry said. Alpha Conde became the first democratically elected president in 2010 and was re-elected for a second term in 2015. Last year, he pushed through a constitutional
change to allow himself to run for a third term, a move deemed illegal by his opponents. The ECOWAS was also criticised at the time by activists for remaining silent about Conde’s third term, which would also have allowed him to remain in power until 2030. Conde went on to win a presidential election in the October 2020.
Violent protests also erupted across the country in response to his re-election, resulting in dozens of protesters being killed. Military leaders on Tuesday released about 80 political opponents that were jailed during the turbulent electoral period on a variety of charges, including breaching security, destroying public property and manufacturing weapons.