ECOWAS must employ diplomacy to manage Niger crisis — Dr Belley



A lecturer of Governance Studies at the Evangelical Presbyterian University College (EPUC) in Ho, Dr Harrison Kofi Belley, has called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to use proactive preventive diplomacy to address the prevailing political situation in Niger.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Ho yesterday, he said that the proposed military intervention by ECOWAS was likely to fuel the crisis in that country.

Dr Belley cited the growing support the military junta in Niger was enjoying from the masses and said neutral and sustained results-oriented strategic conflict management measures were required to deal with the state of affairs in Niger, and not military intervention.

The lecturer also called for the strengthening of the capacity of African states to settle electoral disputes at national, regional and continental levels through the enactment of laws and setting up of mechanisms for independent adjudication of such disputes to ensure political stability.

Tenure extensions
Dr Belley further called for a halt to tenure extensions by political leaders, and said the protocol of the Community Court of Justice of ECOWAS should be modified to allow for judicial intervention in all electoral matters.

“ECOWAS must muster the political will to hold member states accountable to their treaty obligations, in addition to combating corruption in public life to build confidence in state institutions and create the conditions for instability,” he added.

The lecturer further highlighted the need for ECOWAS to find ways of building and strengthening constitutional democratic norms and economies to eradicate poverty among the populace to ensure stability.

Meanwhile, the deadline for the military junta that overthrew Niger’s government has passed, leaving neighbouring countries and Western allies of Niger in an uncertain situation.

The country’s military was asked by ECOWAS member states to stand down and reinstate ousted president Mohamed Bazoum by last Sunday.

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