By Alagie Manneh
The 44th ordinary meeting of the Ecowas Mediation and Security Council in Niamey, Niger, on Friday urged the Ecowas commission to seek for an extension of the Ecomig forces’ stay in The Gambia.
The Council reviewed the political and security situation in the Ecowas region, with particular emphasis on the political processes in The Gambia and Guinea Bissau.
According to Nigerian medium The Nation, “The Council recommended that the Ecowas Commission seek an extension for the mandate of Ecomig, which expired end of June 2020, to enable the forces to monitor the peaceful implementation of the TRRC hearings, as they may generate additional tensions in the country.”
It is reported that the Council was also informed by the Ecowas Commissioner for political affairs, peace and security that the political situation in The Gambia is relatively calm and peaceful, but still remains unpredictable due to issues revolving around the constitutional review process, preparations by the Independent Electoral Commission in terms of the electoral process and conduct of the referendum in readiness for the 2021 presidential and parliamentary elections.
The Nation also reported that after a period of frank deliberations, Council recommended that all stakeholders are carried along by the IEC in the ongoing electoral reforms and that the outcomes of the reform processes are implemented scrupulously.
Code named ‘Operation Restore Democracy’, the Mission was launched in January 2017 to protect the verdict of the Gambian people in the 2016 presidential election disputed by former President Jammeh who refused to step down
The terms of the mission have been repeatedly extended reportedly based on need assessment.
President Barrow has in the past called for the extension of the stay of the mission in the country, citing the “unique situation” of the country. But some Gambians insist the continuous presence of the mission is meaningless.
Meanwhile, Kalla Ankourao, foreign affairs minister for Niger, called on the Ecowas body to take all steps to ensuring the upcoming presidential elections in The Gambia, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Niger are peaceful.
The 44th ordinary meeting was attended by foreign ministers from Ecowas member states.