Ghana Minister suggests ways to end coups in ECOWAS region

Adoba Echono

0 1,024

The Deputy Attorney-General & Deputy Minister for Justice of Ghana, Diana Asonaba Dapaah, says ECOWAS region must thoroughly interrogate the reason for the recent unconstitutional change of government in some countries in the region in bid to stem the tide.

Diana Asonaba Dapaah, stated this in an exclusive interview with Voice of Nigeria at the end of the 2023 international conference of the ECOWAS Court in Banjul, the Gambia.

She said the unconstitutional change of government in some countries in West Africa must be strongly condemned.

 “Coup or unconstitutional change of government unequivocally must be condemned, we need to interrogate and explore what have been the possible causes of the unconstitutional changes. Clearly, as it has been indicated, the whole idea of democracy cannot be self-sustaining unless we move from rhetoric to practice, what we mean by that, that there will be political will and not just engaging in fanciful philosophies and ideas. What is the reflection of democracy good governance, rule of law in the life of the ordinary person on the street? That for me is the question that as leaders we must face and interrogate impartially and practically”.

Dapaah said that faithful adherence to constitutional principles must be the bedrock of governance as those in authority must not be permitted to manipulate and subvert the constitution for their own ends.

She said anybody aspiring to power must do so through the constitutional processes which are based on the cardinal principle that government must be with the consent of the people.

According to Dapaah, “it is not enough for a state to say that it has all in place the policies, the legislation that reflect the constitutional convergence principles. It means a lot of things; it is not just about taking arms to overthrow government, but even the fact that using pseudo law in ways to change what is the role of the people in itself can amount to unconstitutional change of government. And so there is whole spectrum and the various roles that need to be played by us. Top of it for me is political leadership that will translate the philosophies, the ideas into realty that the citizenry will feel part of the democracy we are practicing and a reflection of the will of the people.” 

Dappaah attributed the manipulation of law by some leaders to amend the constitution to achieve their desire to elongate the term in office because of the large number of uneducated populace.

“Education is very key, for the people who claim that the citizenry clamour for elongation of term, the issue is that are they aware or educated on what the effect of that. Unfortunately, some of these positions on elongation arguably thrive on the large uneducated populace, and for me that is a key thing we need to look at education of the people.

“Education will do so many things; education for instance, will disabuse the mind of the incumbent from thinking that he is the only wise person within the state and it is the same education that will inform the citizenry to balance the scale of the impact of going through constitutional change and making an informed decision.”

On measures taking by ECOWAS to deter coup in region with the recent unconstitutional change of government in three West African countries, Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso, Dappaah expressed satisfaction by the action taking so far to stem the tide from spreading to other countries in the region.

She said apart from sanctions, ECOWAS must interrogate the root causes of these unconstitutional changes.

“We need to interrogate other issues other incidentals to the whole idea of unconstitutional change and then measure whether the sanctions that we have taken are actually have been helpful and I think these are some of the conversations that are coming up. Is it just about sanctions, what about the root causes, could we have better alternatives?

“But, clearly ECOWAS could not have looked on unopposed and for me it is a giant stride for them to take this intervention, to state out clearly that we are minded, that we are interested in any form of unconstitutional change of government.”

The four-day conference with the theme; ECOWAS’ Zero for Unconstitutional Change of Government also recommended effective sanctions against perpetrators of unconstitutional Change of government, including coup plotters and their supporters.

Hauwa M.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.