ECOWAS to review steps after Guinea coup

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Ghana’s foreign minister has announced that West African bloc ECOWAS said it will convene on Thursday to debate possible steps after Guinea’s president was overthrown in coup earlier this month.

Earlier last week, ECOWAS suspended Guinea after a special forces commander ousted 83-year-old president Alpha Conde, calling his ouster a “clear violation” of the group’s regional charter.

A committee from the 15-member ECOWAS group was sent to Conakry to meet with coup leader Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, visit Conde and demand a civilian-led transition.

Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Ghana Foreign Minister, who led the mission, said Thursday’s extraordinary summit would evaluate the delegation’s findings and decide next steps for Guinea’s return to constitutional rule.

Coup Leader Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya

“The summit will have a single agenda, where I will lay before the authority the report of the ECOWAS high-level mission to Guinea,” she told reporters on Wednesday.
Botchwey said Guinea’s coup leaders were likely still not in a position to give a timetable for a return to democratic rule.

“It is now up to the heads of state to take some serious decisions on Guinea, what they want to see in the next, whether it is one month, six months or 12 months, how they want to see the transition and for how long it should be,” she said.

Conde came under heightening pressure for what critics say was a slide into authoritarianism, with dozens of opposition activists arrested after a disputed election last year.

The coup in Guinea has aroused anxieties of democratic backsliding across West Africa and drawn parallels with Mali, which withstood two army uprisings since August 2020.

ECOWAS imposed economic penalties on Mali last year, but lifted them after Mali’s ruling military committed to rebuilding civilian rule.

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