Monday, January 26, 2015

ECOWAS Chairman did not use "terror attack" during Banjul visit

President Mahama of Ghana at Harvard

President Mahama of Ghana, who is also the serving Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), paid a three-hour visit to Banjul over the weekend.

The purpose of the visit was, in the words of the ECOWAS Chairman was "find out what had happened and show solidarity with the Gambian people" following events of the 30th December.

At no time during his brief visit did the ECOWAS Chair use the words "terror attack" to characterized what had happened on that fateful December day.

He also made clear that he was in Banjul in his ECOWAS capacity and not Head of State of Ghana which he could have done but opted not to.  Read what you may from this.

Since the events of 30 December, Jammeh had tried to influence the international community's perception by referring to the State House firefight as a terror attack.  Fortunately, with the exception of a very few who lack the temerity to chart an independent course of action against a violent regime, many are calling it anything but a "terrorist attack."  

President Mahama made it clear to the journalists at his brief airport press conference that, in tune with African tradition when a neighbor is in trouble, he was in Banjul see that everything is okay with his brother and the Gambian people.

He emphasized also his show of solidarity with the Gambian people.  In doing so, he reiterated ECOWAS view that "a change of government must be through democratic means and as far as possible we should try and abide by that."

President Mahama had a close door session with the Gambian dictator and it is hoped that the real and difficult issues relating to the human right abuses including, but not limited to, widespread use of torture, forced disappearances and extra-judicial executions.  It is within Mahama's role as Chairman of ECOWAS to visit Banjul.

Let us continue to insist on getting ECOWAS, as well as other bodies, to raise their level of engagement with the dictatorship that will lead to its peaceful disengagement to make it possible to usher in a new and democratic government that respects and guarantee the rights of every Gambians.