Yenga Must be Liberated!

26 March 2008 at 09:49 | 1321 views

By Professor Hassan Sisay,USA.

I would like to briefly weigh in on the critical national matter of Yenga.

Indeed Yenga is a Sierra Leone territory that was occupied by Guinean soldiers during our nation’s civil war. Now that the war is over, Guinea needs to vacate Yenga.

Guinea is in violation of international norms and decency by deciding to permanently occupy this area that belongs to Sierra Leone. I appeal to our leaders to do everything in their power to redeem Yenga. We should not foreclose on any options.

Two issues come to mind in this regard: First, according to the Sierra Leone Constitution the Commander in Chief, working in concert with Parliament, decides when the nation goes to war. The role of the soldiers is to obey what the Executive and the legislative branches of government have decided.

Revealing one’s options in advance of any negotiations is inadvisable. Now that the Guineans know that our Minister of Defense has ruled out war in advance of any negotiations on this matter, this might encourage them to be more resistant to reason and unyielding in their impending negotiations with Sierra Leone. Secondly, we must in all our dealings with Guinea, keep in mind key principles in effective negotiations, namely:

“Don’t give anything away without getting something in return. There is no need to be generous.”

“Try to give away things which are of little value to you but worth a lot to the other party.”

“Only give away things which you can afford to give away.”

Yenga is indeed Sierra Leone territory which must be freed expeditiously, and no options should be ruled out.

Editor’s note: I wonder what the UN, ECOWAS and the AU are doing about this issue.