Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tension in Guinea: ECOWAS Gives 3-Week Ultimatum for National Elections

Leadership (Abuja)

West Africa: Tension in Guinea - Ecowas Gives 3-Week Ultimatum for Election

Innocent Odoh
18 September 2010
Abuja — Member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have issued a three-week ultimatum to Guinea Conakry to organise a run-off election to restore constitutional order in the beleaguered country.

At the extraordinary summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, held at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja yesterday, the sub-regional body in a communiqué, expressed concern with the developments in the political situation in Guinea and took note of the postponement of the date of the second round of the presidential elections previously scheduled for September 19.

The Authority acknowledged the efforts made in the first round of the elections as well as the challenges. Consequently, it urged the CENI to take necessary measure with a view to identifying the technical and logistical challenges that are still pending in preparation for the second round.

In order to consolidate on the progress made in the process to return Guinea to constitutional order, the Authority urged all stakeholders to work together, and to immediately announce a date for the effective holding of the second round of presidential election, which should take place not later than three weeks from now.

The Authority appealed to the two contestants, Mr. Celluo Dalein Diallo and Prof. Alpha Conde, to abide strictly by the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding signed on September 3, 2010 in Ouagadougou under the aegis of President Blaise Commpaore of Burkina Faso.

Guinea has been dogged by political tension in the last couple of weeks following clashes by rival political parties that left several people wounded. The bauxite rich nation is in dilemma of degenerating into further tension after the crisis that trailed the attempted assassination of Captain Dadis Camara.

Meanwhile, chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Goodluck Jonathan, tasked the Authority to intensify efforts to curb the lingering political confusion that has bedeviled Guinea Bissau. Jonathan made this known during the Summit. He bemoaned the confusion in Guinea Bissau triggered by the seizure of power by elements within the armed forces of the tiny West African nation in April 2010.

He challenged the Authority to liaise with the international community, saying, "We have a moral responsibility to assist this sister country. It is obvious that in doing so, we will be serving a collective interest as members of the same organisation with common destiny. In the spirit of the African brotherhood, Guinea Bissau's problem is our problem."

The communique issued at the end of deliberations on Guinea Bissau reviewed the security situation in the country and reaffirmed support for Malam Bacai Sanha, President of the Republic of Guinea Bissau. The Authority also underscored the importance of effective implementation of the Defence and Security Sector Reform Programme (DSSRP) for peace and stability of the country.

The crisis started when in March 2009, President Vieira and the chief of General staff were brutally murdered in an incident that triggered a succession of a culture of impunity.

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