Emmanuel Bombande, the former executive director of the West African Network for Peace Building (WANEP), has advised the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to use negotiation and communication to settle the problems in Niger.
He said that while ECOWAS military involvement is permitted, diplomacy and negotiation should always come first.
The senior mediator from the UN stated, “I think the message of trying to use what has been described by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs as ‘by all means’ is basically to have a robust and firm hand and to insist that ECOWAS will not relent.
However, in my opinion, the language used should accurately depict the political participation of the ECOWAS through conversation and mediation rather than giving the impression that the military option has not been considered.
“I say for this simple reason, what is the objective of the ECOWAS?” the former deputy minister of foreign affairs continued. When a situation like this happens, ECOWAS’ goal, going back to its protocols, especially the one on democracy and good governance from 2001, does not present what you might call a military option.
“What it presents more is to use the kind of avoidable diplomatic effort, negotiations, and dialogue even though Ecowas could now use any other means that might ensure that constitutional rule is restored in the repertoire of choices to make for the restoration of constitutional rule.”
The junta in Niger is allegedly engaging in a cat-and-mouse game with the locals, according to Dr. Abdul Fatau Musa, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political, Peace, and Security.
Nevertheless, he has pledged that Niger would once again have a democratic government.
Constitutional order will be restored using all available methods, Dr. Fatau emphasized.
He made the statement at the emergency meeting of army commanders of various West African governments in Accra today, Thursday, and Friday, regarding sending soldiers to Niger to restore constitutional order. “If push comes to shove, we are going into Niger with our machinery, we are not going to beg for alms,” he stated.
The gathering comes after the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States decided to deploy a standby force in the West African country in turmoil.
The military junta headed by General Abdourahamane Tchiani had first been given a seven-day deadline by the West African group to restore Mohamed Bazoum to his position as president.
Following the expiration of the deadline, the Authority resolved to consider additional alternatives, including an intervention by stand-by force, on Thursday, August 10 in Abuja, Nigeria.
According to reports, the Ghanaian Parliament has backed a joint military force’s intervention in Niger.
After the meeting in Abuja, Alassane Ouattara, the president of the Ivory Coast, told reporters that his nation had finalized the financial arrangements to send a battalion to the force.
If the operation is to last three months, “Cote d’Ivoire will provide a battalion and has made all financial arrangements for the operation,” President Ouattara said.
“Budgetary provisions will be made to ensure that our participating soldiers and officers do not lack anything during this operation. Cote d’Ivoire is prepared, then.
The meeting of the Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff will “finalize plans for the deployment of the Standby Force” at Ghana’s military installation, Burma Camp.