August 14, 2023

Dr Zanetor Rawlings, the Member of Parliament for Klottey Korle is advocating for a deeper analysis of some critical factors by the government of Ghana before making any commitment to the sub-regional bloc’s military intervention in Niger.

Authority of Heads of States and Governments in trying to address the coup crisis in Niger announced a number of sanctions including possible military intervention by the bloc.

This, was however, variedly received with Burkina Faso, one of the countries currently under military rule, and a neighbor to Ghana to the north as well as Mali pledging their support to the coup makers in Niger, stating that any military intervention means declaration of war against them.

Dr. Zanetor Rawlings pointed out that Ghana is surrounded by French speaking countries; to the North is Burkina Faso one of the Countries that has declared to take position in alignment with Niger should there be military intervention; with Cote d’ Ivoire aligning with the bloc, while the position of Togo is not yet known .

According to her cooperation between Burkina Faso and Ghana is key to keeping our Northern Borders safe. “So when we are looking at how ECOWAS takes decision of intervening in another country, we should consider what is our national interest; no country can be quiet of its national interest in spite of international treaties it might have signed”.

“Again, in all seriousness, rushing into a military intervention may not be the best thing to do. You may in theory think this thing that can be done in a period of time; forty-eight hours, seven days, in a month. When you go into a military situation and you notice that the conflict that you have entered into is not a straight forward one, it becomes difficult to determine where the end point should be. At which point should we say we are pulling out; are you going to leave the place in a worse state than you find it?

She advised that a critical look should be given to the common trend of these coups in the sub-region as it appears that the Francophone countries in the sub-region are taking a position with regards to France; “we need to have that conversation, we cannot ignore the elephant in the room any longer”, she added

The Deputy Ranking on Defense and Interior further questioned the possible outcome of a military intervention if it runs the risk of destabilizing the sub-region further in the event that we have exodus of refugees and whether member states have the capacity to absorb these refugees without completely collapsing their economy given the fact that the economies in the sub-region are generally struggling.

Citing Ghana as an example, she said the country is currently at the IMF for support which they don’t really know would get the country out of the economic difficulty; adding that the consideration of military intervention goes beyond trying to restore the status quo in a particular country which is a sovereign state despite being part of ECOWAS.

According to her, the issue of internally displaced persons first of all and refugees is not something that can be handled as it appears on paper; you have to find premises and resources available and with countries struggling that would be far-fetched.

As to what will be her stand should the military intervention issue come to the floor of Ghana’s Parliament; she said the good thing is that the Executive cannot take a unilateral decision and take a country to war without the buying in of the representative of the people. And stated that the Nigerian Senate has proven to the sub-region and all of us in the member states that the Executive which is represented by the President and the Commission of ECOWAS cannot do this unilaterally without the various legislative arms of member states we are talking about constitutional rule and democracy.

“That we cannot just stand up and declare war without the buying in of our people this is perhaps what we saw happen to Brexit; a referendum was held the people pushed for the exit from the EU, the representative of the people had no choice but to implement what the masses were looking for and like manner if the Senate of Nigeria has not agreed to a military intervention.

What it simply does is to allow a face saving way out in a way from this position of military intervention and push us back to the dialogue and mediation board because, none of what we are observing is happing in a vacuum; the reasons may be different base on the different countries but there appears to be a common underlying factor; mind you all of these are happening in Francophone countries so there is something that we need to be looking at beyond the obvious as ECOWAS.”

She affirmed that Nigeria itself is dealing with violent extremism which they are struggling to keep in check and if you combine that with an intervention in another country looking at the geopolitics in that particular region, that would be problematic.

“Again, we should certainly have that discussion whether it is the issue of the influence with France, whether it is the case of governance, or case of injustice perceived or real, or a case of corruption, we need to bring everyone to have that talk or discussion with regards to what the underlining factors are”, she concluded.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/