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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

ECOWAS and their threats


Dear editor,

There is a reason Niger, the sixth largest country in Africa, and like so many other African countries, is so rich and yet so poor. France has a lot to do with that and sadly, I have a hunch that our ECOWAS leaders will soon gallop to France in the guise of saving Niger from Russia. One puppet master will be assigned to protect the puppet from another master.

A group of power-hungry African leaders threatening to go to war to protect the security of their power but making it seem like they are protecting some so-called democracy is a joke you will not want to fall for. If ECOWAS genuinely cared about true democracy, they would have long since exercised some urgency in mobilizing forces against the insecurity in Niger. True democracy is impossible in the absence of security and Niger, like most African countries, has never known security. By security, I mean human security, not the type of security that is limited to the security of those in power.

Since ECOWAS cares so much about Niger, we must ask them what have they done about the abiding insecurity there? What has ECOWAS done about the factors leading to insecurity in the Sahel region? The truth is, to these hapless African leaders, the insecurity in the Sahel is not as urgent as restoring this lipstick-on-a-pig-democracy they champion. It is not a case of whataboutism, rather, it is akin to addressing the sores while ignoring the leprosy. I suspect that this grandstanding communique is geared toward the happiness of the West.

The reality is that these ECOWAS leaders are threatening Niger to protect their political powers. The hope is that since they have perfected the art of manipulating elections to call themselves “democratically elected”, attacking Niger’s military will serve as an example to other militaries in the region. Since military coups are the biggest threats to their authoritarian governments, by stamping out military coups, they can essentially cloak their fashionable authoritarianism in the raiment of democracy and use the law to legally abuse their citizens who dare stand up to them. What is happening in Senegal is a case in point. These ECOWAS heads are not as interested in true democracy as they are interested in protecting their power. If they were interested in democracy, they’d have already mobilized forces against their fellow presidents who manipulate elections or seek third terms by manipulating their constitutions or using technicalities to hang on to power beyond their original mandate.

In ECOWAS, illegitimately hanging on to power is not an issue worthy of an emergency meeting. The poverty that abounds in Africa is not worthy of an emergency meeting. The destitution in Africa is not worthy of an emergency meeting. The insecurity in the Sahel is not worthy of an emergency meeting. But any threat to the powers of these powerful men means the world is coming to an end and they will mobilize heaven and earth to protect their powers. “We are fighting for democracy” becomes their anthem. In return for protecting their powers, the puppet masters get all types of concessions out of our African leaders. Left to ECOWAS, there will be more foreign military bases in Niger and more foreign companies will come to haul away its resources leaving the people in destitution. Left to ECOWAS, the so-called Islamic terrorism in the Sahel will continue to be profitable for the West and the ECOWAS leaders will continue to enjoy power over their people.

Someone should tell ECOWAS that The Niger situation is completely different from what happened in The Gambia. Thinking that a threat of force worked in The Gambia and that it will work in Niger makes me wonder if the people making these decisions have any security advisors. They can rely on the West to help fund their war in Niger but it will only lead to more instability in the long run and the West will only foment that insecurity as they are doing today because it allows them to exploit the land. But Perhaps that does not bother our leaders as much as the threat of losing the stranglehold of power they have over us Africans. I wish the ordinary people of Niger all the best. It is truly sad that they are caught up in a situation where their neighbors care more about who is in power than the suffering of the masses.

Alagie Saidy-Barrow

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