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Monday, October 2, 2023

Will Niger be as lucky as The Gambia was in 2017?


Twenty-seventeen was a high-water mark for democracy in West Africa, Ecowas persuaded dictator Yahya Jammeh to accept the results of the election or face an invasion by its forces.

Since then, partly because of the absence of strong Nigerian leadership, Ecowas has watched somewhat helplessly as governments in Guinea, Mali and Burkina Faso — all members of Ecowas fall to military coups.

It is fair to assume that The Gambia’s size and location upped its chances for a successful intervention to maintain the constitutional order. Besides Senegal’s intervention in 1981 coup attempt led by Kukoi Samba Sanyang provided a suitable precedent.

Some have argued that one of the reasons the 1994 coup led by Jammeh succeeded in The Gambia was because President Diouf of Senegal was still bitter about the 1989 breakup of the Senegambia Confederation and the former president naively thought that he could teach ‘little Gambia’ a lesson. But as the saying goes when your neighbour’s house is on fire better help to quench that fire before it consumes your house! 

In my view Ecowas must take an uncompromising stand against the democratic recession plaguing the region and fortunately for Nigerien democrats their neighbour the host and current Chairman of Ecowas Nigeria is leading the effort to restore constitutional rule in Niger. Now is not the time to blame Ecowas for sins of the past or Nigeria; the HOUSE IS ON FIRE! Let us try and put out the fire first by any means necessary.

By Alammi Fanding Taal

Folks cheering coups in Ecowas don’t understand the implications

I don’t think a lot of the good folks cheering these ignorant low level military mandarins prancing around Mali, Burkina, Guinea and Niger pretending to be some kind of latter-day saints understand the dire implications of having an entire region and the fate of its tens of millions of people being endangered by these wide-eyed fools. Each of these nations are wracked by severe internal polarisation, near state collapse, and grave insecurity coupled with the even greater danger of contagion to their neighbours in the subregion. And in this growing security vacuum comes in all kinds of bad actors from transnational terrorists, criminal syndicates, predatory commercial interests and the ever-wily Chinese and Russians who have become adept at making gullible Africans believe the West and particularly the French are the reasons for the comprehensive failure, poverty and penury of the region. So they feed them easy self-deluding slogans , goad them into cutting relationships with these countries they want them to hate, give them just enough military equipment to be able to suppress their citizens but not enough to secure their borders and restore normalcy because weakness and an ever present security vacuum helps their overall objectives of resource extraction and having pliable client states presided over by uniform wearing tinpot dictators driving in convoys serving their people with empty platitudes .

If any sane person believes Wagner is willing to shed blood in our subregion thousands of miles from its cozy St Petersburg offices in the Russian Federation because Russians have a soft spot in their heart for West Africans, you must not know the business model of that mercenary group and the overall ambition it represents. If you believe there are legitimate grievances against France or the West in general, have you thought about the role our own horrible leadership plays in the running of our affairs? Who is really responsible for our terrible fate? The French, America, the West, the Inuit Indians of Scandinavia, Santa Clause, Elvis Presley, the Jinnehs of Hardington Street and everyone of Allah’s creation but ourselves! This is the shame and tragedy of our circumstances. We are the authors of our own misery ever ready to never take responsibility for our own selves, perpetually looking for someone to blame for the shame and poverty we bring on ourselves.

If we let democracy in our region be substituted with uniform wearing toadies with no legitimacy, no capacity to govern and no ability to secure their own borders, we would be inviting grave danger in our part of the world. If you hate France and the West more than you love yourself or democracy itself and, in the process, you surrender yourself, your country and the entire subregion too far away malignant forces handing you what the Mandinkas call “Gi mondo” (fist full of water) an absurdity only a gullible fool would believe, you will only end up losing yourself, your country and your subregion.

Therefor I believe Ecowas and the AU are correct in drawing the line in Niger and insisting the coup there be reversed as a precursor to pursuing a wider regional strategy safeguarding West Africa itself.

Karamba Touray

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