The Ranking Member on Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has blamed international communities including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) for the military take over in Guinea.
Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, Mr Ablakwa explained that these communities failed to raise alarm when about 13 countries including Guinea amended their constitutions to extend the term limits for Presidents.
According to him, the ECOWAS and AU, comprising of some West African countries were silent when President Alpha Conde through the amendment of the constitution tried to make himself president at the age of 83.
“Back to the failure of the African Union, ECOWAS and to some extent the United Nations. Since the 1990s democratization wave, after it was clear that the African people have had enough of the coups from the first coup that happened in Ghana, February 24, 1966, all the way to the 80s. The 1990s ushered in a new era. According to the African Centre for Strategic Studies, there were about 50 constitutions that were drafted in the 1990s. Thirty of them had term limits.
“It will surprise you to note that only from 2015, over the last six years alone, not fewer than 13 countries have amended their constitution to extend the term. The sad thing about Guinea is, he (Alpha Conde) was preparing to even run for a fourth term. He wanted to make himself President at 83 years for Christ sake. What he did was to say this is a new constitution. So it doesn’t matter what has happened, my two terms will not count. So this will be my first term, I’m starting afresh and he would have gone again. I mean holding the Guinea people to ransom.
“What is the AU saying about it, nothing. What is ECOWAS saying about this? Most of them are West African countries,” he told host, Evans Mensah on Monday.
His comments come as a response to a takeover by the military in Guinea. Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, who led the coup on Sunday, September 5, announced that the country’s constitution has been dissolved.
Following the change in administration, President Alpha Conde, sources say is being detained.
Also on the show, Director of Faculty of Academic Affairs & Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Professor Kwesi Aning agreed with the assertions of Mr Ablakwa.
He also noted that the lack of action by the ECOWAS and AU, has resulted in the loss of respect for these institutions.
“The Guineans have failed themselves and the international community has failed the people of Guinea. Guinea as a signatory to ECOWAS instrument and African Union instrument expected that when it flouts or does not comply with the values and norms inherent in those protocols and conventions, that these two multilateral agencies which Guinea is a member would automatically trigger some response mechanisms incrementally so that the regime in Conakry is aware that its actions are not tolerable.
“But because failure or unwillingness to apply the structures within these conventions have become the norm, rather than the exception, everyone flouts these rules with respect to the rule of law, human rights, democratic transitions, changes in constitution and extension of term limits; because both the AU and ECOWAS protocols and conventions are very clear.
“There are certain things member states cannot do. But we hear this deafening silence and only an ex post facto response that has honed out the respect and credibility of these institutions.”
According to the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Okudzeto Ablakwa, the happenings in Guinea is a sad one and in no way does he endorse coup d’etats.
“We do not endorse coups. We do not wish it. Coups take us back and they do not and should not have a place in any democratic construction. His (Alpha Conde’s) story is such a sad one because he would have emerged as one of the success stories of Africa because he is one of those few grand old men who have spent all their lives in the trenches. For more than 30 years he has been fighting for a democratic order. He has paid the price himself. He was sentenced to imprisonment for five years. He was only lucky to be pardoned.”
He, however, added that despite these achievements, Alpha Conde should have expected his overthrow due to his recent actions that did not please many citizens in Guinea.
“One would have thought that with this rich history, where he can become an inspiration to a lot of opposition politicians and African democracy activists, he would have been a shining example.
“You (Alpha Conde) managed to secure a second term, that is enough. But instead of bowing out after your second term, you then amend the constitution, go for a referendum and that was a dubious referendum.
“This has been coming. You should have taken steps to avoid this. You have a situation where President Conde decided that he will totally abandon the constitution that brought him into power.”
Meanwhile, the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS), has condemned the Guinean military’s arrest of Alpha Conde and demanded his release.
Also, ECOWAS is demanding a return to constitutional rule, stating that failure will attract sanctions.