NIGERIA AND ECOWAS REACT TO GUINEAN COUP 01.11.09
Nigerian Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe told a meeting of ECOWAS foreign ministers in Abuja, “We cannot walk away from the challenges of assisting the authorities in Guinea to return to constitutionality. In the African spirit of being our brother’s keeper, ECOWAS shall support and reward every sincere move in Guinea to ensure the emergence of a democratically elected government within the year.” The Nigerian official was reacting to the recent military coup in Guinea after the death of the democratically elected president. The military juntas are now in charge in Guinea.
Dr. Maduekwe the current chairman of the ECOWAS Security and Mediation Committee, also said Guinea would need the support of its neighbours in the coming months inorder to be a stability in the country. He reiterated ECOWAS policy on coups, his words: “There is a need for us to speak with one voice, that in Africa, the era of making a distinction between a good coup and a bad coup is over. There is no patriotic coup as distinct from an unpatriotic coup. The ECOWAS protocol we are all parties to, leaves no room for those distinctions.”
The National Council for Democracy and Develop-ment (CNDD) – a junta led by army captain Moussa Dadis Camara – seized power in Guinea on December 23 following the death of autocratic President Lansana Conte, who had ruled since 1984. Major donors including the United States and European Union have called for a return to constitutional rule, while the African Union has suspended Guinea.
But the junta has tried to reassure nervous neighbours that it poses no threat, sending representatives to Guinea-Bissau, Mali and Sierra Leone to explain the takeover. Senegal and Libya have publicly indicated they would be ready to work with Camara. The junta, which was welcomed by ordinary citizens in Guinea as a break from Conte’s corrupt and nepotistic administration, has appointed a civilian transition government and initially promised elections in 2010. But Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade, who endorsed the coup leaders, has suggested polls could be held earlier, while French Secretary of State for Cooperation, Alain Joyandet has said Camara had agreed to hold polls within 12 months. The Nigerian government is trying to get the support of other West African leaders to oppose the subterranean support being given by the Libyan leader, Mu’ammar Gaddafi and Wade to the Guinean coup leaders. President Umaru Yar’Adua is insisting that the support being given to the plotters is against the African Union Constitu-tional Act and that African leaders should not seek to extend their influence by promoting the subversion of democracy.