A statement issued by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission on The Gambia government’s use of excessive force against armless, peaceful protesters depicts the regional grouping knows what is yet to be known to many Gambians. This is evidenced by the fact that the Commission is extending “its deep condolences to the families of the deceased persons.” It called on Gambian authorities to shed light on the circumstances that led to the recent unfortunate event. This statement is simply telling, especially in the absence of five of Thursday’s protesters in court last night. Is ECOWAS is telling us these people are dead? If so, what is the toothless Commission’s next move against a President who is hellbent on liquidating everyone to save his crown?
ECOWAS admitted the fact that the peaceful protest “is marked by the arrest, detention and death of some opposition leaders following demonstrations advocating political reforms prior to the presidential election scheduled to hold election in December 2016.”
The regional bloc officials know they are dealing with a belligerent leader who thinks it’s either his way or the way. A leader who disregards ECOWAS Court verdicts and gets away with it! Talking soft to such a leader makes no sense because that is not the language he understands. A bully fears no one but a fellow bully. Is it therefore sensible for the ECOWAS to simply state that “the consolidation of peace and stability in The Gambia can only result from a consensual, inclusive and nationally-owned process and respect for constitutional order.”
Another weak part of the ECOWAS statement is an appeal to “political stakeholders including opposition members and civil society organizations to display a profound sense of civic responsibility and patriotism in the exercise of their civil rights to peaceful assembly.” We all know the only problem is the Aggressive Brutal Dictator – not even the ruling Alliance for Patriotic, Re-orientation and Construction party most of whose members have been embarrassed by their leader’s repression.
We support the Commission’s line, calling on the government “to ensure the freedom of expression and strict adherence to the rule of law and the principles of human rights.” We doubt whether this appeal couple with another calling on “Gambian security forces to put up a republican comportment and refrain from the use of any form of excessive force while maintaining law and order” will be honoured. The problem lies with a Dictator who has total control over security forces. They are like his babies who are flipped whenever he wishes.
We concur with ECOWAS Commission’s readiness to support authorities and Gambians for a peaceful resolution of the crisis. Another questions that comes to mind is how is that done when the drum of justice remains silent? The coward government and its leadership are sitting on the drum, so how can it be beaten?