African News

ECOMOG and Democrazy by force

20 January 2017 at 01:18 | 3748 views


By Knana Kanthe, Quebec, Canada.

If only the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone were serious in having a holistic prosecution of individuals who committed war crimes and other serious violations of human rights, many ECOMOG Generals and foot soldiers would be behind bars long before their second adventure of violating the sovereignty of the Gambia in the name of bringing DEMOCRAZY to that country.

In other words until prosecution for war crimes and human rights violations also include leaders of sub-regional intervention forces like ECOMOG, there will be more thirst to flagrantly intervene in countries in West Africa in the name of a lousy DEMOCRAZY idea.

Today, any nation that has a parochial interest can adopt the nomenclature of ECOMOG as if that gives an automatic mandate to interfere into matters of national sovereignty. There seems to be a trend in the West African-sub region where countries can choose what they like to do with others under the guise of ECOMOG or DEMOCRAZY.

The foundational principles and treaties which conceived ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) was never meant to create a supra pro-war structure at sub-regional level. The formation of ECOMOG (Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group) does not give a blank cheque to Nigeria and other West African countries intervene and interfere in the domestic affairs of member countries.

Recently we have seen the sub- regional agency of ECOWAS (ECOWAS Court based in Nigeria) trying to litigate a matter of res judicata brought forward by the former Vice President of Sierra Leone. That is after the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone, which is the Final Court of Appeal in every legal sense, had ruled on the matter.

Activist bodies of ECOWAS like ECOMOG and the ECOWAS Court are drifting and leading the sub-region into greater uncertainty thereby undermining state relations and stability in the sub-region.

For example, how can Nigerian judges in Abuja understand or interpret our constitution better than our Sierra Leonean judges? Can Sierra Leonean judges in Freetown do likewise in Nigeria? Where has our sovereignty gone? When did we surrender it to these obnoxious activist bodies? Why is the same sub-regional body of ECOWAS refusing to use the same military might of deadly military ground and air power against BOKO HARAM in Nigeria? Is Boko Haram, which is a terrorist organization more deserving to exist than very poor and innocent Gambians who would eventually become guinea-pigs ready to be slaughtered by the invading ECOMOG army, all in the name of a bogus idea called DEMOCRAZY?

Can ECOWAS muster the same military thirst to stop the massive violation of human rights against innocent and god fearing Ibo Nigerians who have suffered from successive repressive regimes in Nigeria? No, because it is not a soft spot. The soft spot is Gambia, a nation of less than 2 million people. That is the right place to test these stock piles of military equipment and hardware. Shame on ECOMOG!

What is wrong with West Africans? Have we not had enough war already? Why fast track another war in a tiny country? The same mistakes are about to be repeated in the Gambia as ECOWAS embarks on building a war infrastructure against a tiny West African State, the Gambia.

ECOMOG has always taken sides in every conflict in West Africa. One would expect that as a peace keeping force, ECOMOG should be neutral. Unfortunately, that has never been the case. In Sierra Leone for example, quite apart from supporting the Government, ECOMOG was actively involved in the training, recruitment and mentoring of civilians into combatants. It also provided military logistics to a faction of the Sierra Leone civil war. There were reports of populations used as human shields by ECOMOG forces. These are truths that are not popular in post-war discourse let alone codified by a flamboyant UN Special Court and the story telling circus of a TRC constitutive of pro-government partisans.

Are there lessons for Gambians to learn especially from Sierra Leone? Indeed, a lot. Perhaps that will help the people of Gambia in making an informed choice between ECOMOG and DEMOCRAZY on one hand and dialogue on the other.

To intervene or invade a country is not the problem. It is how the country deals with issues the next day. They will have to deal with an army and security forces that are loyal to the former regime. How are they going to pursue reconciliation? How would they ask the invading army to return looted treasury, although Sierra Leone never asked? How are they going to create a political system that represents every Gambian? How are they going to address the problem of an already traumatized population? How are they going to address the economic situation of the country? Where would the money come from?

Many Questions that even the intervention force cannot answer.