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ECOWAS – A coming of age

Economic Community of West African States

ECOWAS

A coming of age

The Global Democracy Project (The GDP) extends its appreciation to ECOWAS for the sobriety and vision for a better community worthy of her citizens that ECOWAS has displayed in some key areas of community life. Among these, are:

  1. The strengthening of the ECOWAS court of Justice
  2. The pivotal role ECOWAS played in the ominous vortices of La-Guinea since the passing of President Lansana Conte(PBUH) up to the healthful climax of the first democratically elected president Alpha Conde in the country’s 50-year history. Special commendation goes to President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso for his role as ECOWAS mediator in that matter.
  3. The critical role ECOWAS played in the negotiations between all sides of the Ivory Coast divide prior to and after the election of President Alassane Ouattara. Special commendation is due Nigeria and Presidents Ya’Ardua(PBUH) and Goodluck Jonathan.
  4. The insistence of ECOWAS for free and fair elections in Gambia, in the absence of which to decline participating as observers in the Nov. 24th, 2011 election in Gambia. This comes on the heels of the contempt with which the President of Gambia Yahya Jammeh views his more sober peers and the institution of the community.

ECOWAS has demonstrated that a paucity of resources can be overcome by a preponderance of goodwill, collegiality in justice, and considerate life. It is significant to recognize that this transformation has accrued at the same time that each member nation of ECOWAS experienced greater democracy and momentum from such conscienergy has helped guide their actions. We are reminded that when we clean our own homes, we are empowered to help our neighbors clean their homes.

Although it took a little while for the ECOWAS community to be on the right side of history in the Libya affair, it could be forgiven for deferring to the continental body, the AU, which was derelict in its duty to expedite and perhaps negotiate the more peaceful and benign exit of Gadhafi and his family during the early days of the Cyrenaica (Souk Turak) Uprising. With ECOWAs leading the way to circumspect, we are hopeful that the regional communities will inevitably help to center the AU.

Even as we commend ECOWAS for a renewed spirit of good-neighborliness and sober stewardship, we encourage the community to invest itself in the permanent resolution of the separatist MFDC expedition in southern Senegal, to remain engaged in Liberia’s fragile peace and to undertake proactive conflict prevention efforts rather than reactionary conflict resolution. With limited resources, conflict prevention is a far superior consideration to conflict management and peacekeeping after the breakout of internecine conflict. We had ample experience in West Africa and in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda that when seemingly inconsequential neglect and injustice is ignored, it has the potential of undermining the entire community, if not in full-blown and intractable carnage, certainly via a series of festering tumors to ravage the community’s peoples. Further, we encourage ECOWAS to harness goodwill from environmental co-ordinations such as the Mano-River Union, Sahel-Cills, OMVS, OMVG, The Niger River Authority, The Great Green Wall project, and other similar cultural and environmental reserves of bonds. After all, multinational rivers and ranges, are ready conduits of both prosperity and conflict to include arms and contraband.

Du Courage. God Speed.

The GDP

Gambia: Nov. 24th, 2011 Presidential Elections. What Happened?

We have once again been treated to a marvel of an election, this time with Yahya gaining an average of 70% in all constituencies, even the traditionally secure strongholds of Kiangs, Jarras, Wullis, Kombos, Nianis, and Sandu. This while in the duration between 2006 and 2011, arms and amunition coming from Iran and destined for Kanilai were intercepted in a Nigerian Port, a billion dollar’s worth of cocaine was found in Bonto riverside village resulting in a Dutch citizen’s murder, Assets of Pristine Consulting Biometric registration were confiscated and impounded upon, the Gamcotrap-2 have been illegally arrested and are still being gratuitously prosecuted, Yahya’s relationship with his friend Chavez of Venezuela is on the rocks for the former’s antics against his former friend Gadhafi to save his own hyde, Baba Jobe was murdered to dispense with potential witnesses to the Sierra-Leone-Liberia Blood Diamond saga, and Yahya and his wife’ss implication in the assassination attempt on the life of La-Guinea President Alpha Conde’.

As in 2006, 2001, and 1996, The Gambia’s voter rolls include citizens of Senegal particularly from the region of Cassamance where the rearguard of Yahya’s Kanilai enclave hails from. On occasion, these illegal voters were housed at The University of Gambia and some have been intercepted in the southern border region between Senegal and Gambia.

Yahya has total control of state resources to include the national television and radio which he uses to the stealthy exclusion of opposition messaging and campaign. On several occasions, the national radio and television station refused to broadcast meeting advertisements of the opposition political parties and the inspector of police refused to grant permit for the conduct of opposition rallies. On one such occasion when the opposition United Democratic Party held a meeting without a permit, an officer of the UDP, Hon. Femi Peters was arrested and remanded in prison for using a loudspeaker and leading a public procession. In the runup to the election, the opposition parties were allowed 11 days of public campaigning while Yahya has been campaigning for 5 years. Public officials, including Seyfolu and Alkalolu, used their state vehicles, fuel, and other logistical resources to openly campaign for Yahya and his APRC gang.

Prior to election day, bands of the Green boys and girls groups went on an intimidation campaign to inform would-be opposition voters that hidden cameras were installed in the voting booths to survey how voters voted and that those who vote for the opposition parties would be found out and dealt with after Yahya’s foregone win.

On election day itself, voting marbles were issued to both illegally registered voters and unregistered voters.

On election day, labels were removed from ballots and re-labelled according to weight and improper labels attached. All the while, opposition representatives were prevented from monitoring the ballot totes/drums until the deed is done.

Friends, Gambians, and countrymen/women, this was the manner of your election on November 24th, 2011.

The GDP Team.