Finally, we have a leader that both West Africa and Continental Africa and, indeed, the Global African Community, at large, can trust and be proud of and confident in to studiously advance the cause of the most deliberately and viciously regressed region of the world. On the latter count, of course, the reference is to the vehement insistence by President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, current Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), that the junta leaders of war-torn Mali who ousted the government of 75-year-old democratically elected President Ibrahim Keita, on August 15, 2020, cannot deviously and mischievously hang on to power, as the military has routinely done in the West African Subregion in the recent past (See “Mali Crisis: Akufo-Addo Insists ECOWAS Only Recognizes Civilian-led Transition Team” Modernghana.com 9/16/20).
The junta leaders of Mali have insisted, as a matter of established routine or protocol, to be allowed to stay in power and run a transitional team with the objective of returning this lumpen-poor Sahel nation of some 19 Million people to civil rule in the “normal” three or so years. By which period, as has been the case in the past, the Mali military would have further worsened the socioeconomic situation in this country that has been declared by the Bretton-Woods establishment to be one of the poorest nations in the world. Already, Mali is seriously threatened by the secessionist Arabo-Tuareg insurgents in the arid-sahel region in the north who have been vigorously pushing to take over the 8th largest country on the African Continent. It has only been the direct military intervention of France, the former colonial occupant of Mali, and the considerable support of the United States, especially under the tenure of former President Barack H. Obama, and the military contingents of some neighboring West African countries, that have ensured that Mali would not lapse into the sort of political barbarism that has gripped and ravaged Somalia and the Horn of Africa for a little over a generation now.
Presently, landlocked Mali is smack under the imposition of an ECOWAS-wide sanctions which has resulted in the closures of all of its landed borders, as well as the effective freezing of its international aerospace mobility. For the first time, ever since any middle-aged adult can remember, the leaders of this region of nearly 370 Million people have staunchly, healthily and wisely come together to ensure that West Africa’s new-found democratic political culture would not relapse into the sort of junta-dominated stasis that prevailed for more than 40 years in the immediate postcolonial era. For instance, during the latest consultative summit convened in Accra by Ghana’s President Akufo-Addo, at least 8 of the 16-nation ECOWAS leaders were in attendance, prominent among them, Presidents Alpha Conde, of Guinea; Faure Gnassingbe of Togo; Mahamadou Issoufou, of Niger, who is also the immediate past ECOWAS Chairman; and Macky Sall of Senegal.
Also, in attendance were Presidents Roc Marc Christian Kabore, of Burkina Faso; Alassane Ouattara, of Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana’s immediate western neighbor; and Nigeria’s Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo. It is also morally and politically refreshing that President Akufo-Addo and the West African leaders who conferred in Accra to deliberate on the political future of Mali, issued an ultimatum to the junta leaders of Bamako, whose representatives also showed up at the conference, to come up, in a matter of days, not weeks or months, with a decision of whether they intended to peacefully hand over power to a civilian-composed transitional team or inadvisably hang on to power and be prepared to face the dire consequences of failure to conduct themselves in strict accordance with the democratic rule of law within the civilized tenets of the ECOWAS Charter.
This progressive approach to democratic leadership enforcement is in stark contrast to the sort of jaded parochial practice of the traditional noninterference in the internal affairs of neighboring countries, regressively counseled by the leaders of Ghana’s main opposition party, the Strongman Chairman Jerry John Rawlings-founded National Democratic Congress (NDC), and religiously pursued by the likes of the late President John Evans Atta-Mills, that came to be widely known as the “Mind-Your-Own-Business” foreign-policy mantra; and by the equally dogmatic and morbidly megalomaniacal and globally infamous kleptocratic former President John “Airbus-Kanazoe” Dramani Mahama.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
September 16, 2020
E-mail: [email protected]