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12.08.2005 Press Review

EDITORIAL: The Gambia Killings

By Ghanaian Chronicle
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Many Ghanaians received the news that Gambian security agents had gunned down innocent Ghanaians in their country, with shock.

However, reports that other West African nationals from Nigeria and Senegal, are likely to have suffered similar fate, makes the issue more disturbing.

Time and again, the people of the sub-region have reported various acts of abuses at the hands of security personnel of neighbouring countries, especially, in their travels.

Unfortunately, this open secret has not engaged the serious attention of our leaders, in spite of their continuous cry over the need for greater integration.

Already, indications are that, the matter of the killings is heading for the highest international arena, for redress.

It would be important however that, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as well as the African Union (AU), let their voices be heard on this matter.

It is our hope that the Gambian authorities would accept full responsibility for this barbaric act, and bring the culprits to book, to serve as deterrent to others.

Africa is still seeking to improve its ratings among the comity of nations, and the way matters of such nature are dealt with, go a long way in either adding or subtracting from it.

The Chronicle would like to point out that the way this matter is handled would go a long way, to let Ghanaians know how valuable citizens are to the country.


The setting up of the African Union (AU) was to help map out a new vision for the African continent, taking into consideration the challenges of modern times, to create a better image.

Even as the new code of conduct or Charter was drawn, to ensure greater participatory governance in member states, to discourage coups, the dictators and pretenders to democracy among them never learn any lessons.

What these dictators and pseudo democrats fail to appreciate is that, legislations can neither prevent coups, nor can they stifle a people's quest for greater freedom.

Last week's news reports that a security capo within Mauritanian President, Maaouiya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya's administration, Colonel Ely Ould Mohamed Vall had seized power, did not come as a surprise to the realists of this world.

We have maintained that, even though those who came to power through the gun are fast becoming endangered specie, the few around continue in their degenerated state.

It is not possible for any coup to succeed if it lacked the support of the people or their opinion leaders.

Reports have it that, the putsch received a lot of support in the country, with the opposition parties gunning to take part in the decision-making process.

What those who kick against coups, as a way of changing elected governments forget is that, the system of conducting elections (electoralism), is not synonymous with democracy.

There are too many phony elections on our continent, and they have often, as would be expected, sparked controversy and conflicts.

The military council of colonels, which seized power in the bloodless coup last week, has proposed a two-year reign to restore democratic governance in that country.

The AU has condemned the coup, suspending Mauritania from its membership. Beyond that suspension, it is not clear what else the continental body is capable of doing.

A legitimate question to ask now would be: can Col. Vall who was part of the pseudo-democratic regime be trusted to introduce any real democracy?

While we brood over al these, it is instructive to note that, what incidents like the Gambian and Mauritanian situations succeed in doing is, to advertise our continent again as violent, hence unsafe, which goes a long way in making our part of the globe unattractive.

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