Ghana’s foreign minister said the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will meet on Thursday to discuss possible actions following the ouster of Guinea’s president in a coup earlier this month. The army’s top brass met with members of the country’s civil society on Wednesday, a day after meeting with legislators and party leaders the previous day.
Guinea was already suspended by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) last week after a Special Forces commander toppled the country’s 83-year-old president Alpha Conde, who was accused of a “clear violation” of the group’s regional charter. A delegation from the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was dispatched to Conakry to meet with coup leader Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, pay a visit to President Alpha Condé, and call for a civilian-led transition.
Following the mission’s conclusion on Thursday, Ghanaian Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, who served as the delegation’s leader, said the special summit will study its findings and determine the next steps for Guinea’s return to constitutional governance.
In a statement to journalists on Wednesday, she said the summit would have a single agenda and that she would bring the report of the ECOWAS high-level delegation to Guinea to the authority. Botchwey predicted that Guinea’s coup leaders would be unable to provide a schedule for the country’s return to democratic rule for some time.
The heads of state must make “important decisions” on Guinea, including what they want to see in the next month, six months, or a year; how they want to see the transition carried out; and how long the transition should go, according to her. Following a contested election last year, Conde came under increasing pressure for what some claimed was a slide into authoritarianism. Dozens of opposition activists were detained as a result of the disputed election.
In the wake of the coup in Guinea, there have been fears of democratic backsliding across West Africa, with comparisons drawn to Mali, which has had two army uprisings since August last year. Economic sanctions on Mali were imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) last year, but were withdrawn after the country’s ruling military agreed to restoring civilian authority.