...says Sen. Snowe, stressing that Guinean military takeover has delicate economic implications, others
The head of Liberia's delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament has called on the government of President George Weah to condemn the military takeover in Guinea, which he believes has “delicate, economic and other implications”.
Sen. Edwin M. Snowe of Bomi County, who heads the ECOWAS Parliamentary Committees on Political Affairs, Peace, Security, and African Peer Review Mechanism, noted that Liberia needs to join all civilized and democratic nations to condemn the coup.
“President Conde’s overthrow is confirmed by what we are seeing so far,” Senator Snowe said, “but I would advise that Liberia be diplomatic in its approach, as any democratic country would do. It is good to condemn the action, even if it is right for those who staged it and the majority of the people in whose interest they acted.”
Sen. Snowe added that while Liberia might find it difficult, in days or months ahead, to access agricultural produce and other commodities that are imported from Guinea, President George Weah should be courageous enough to condemn the military takeover. Even Liberia’s proposed deal with Guinea to use the Liberian railway to ship iron ore to the Port of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, will likely to be put on hold until Guinea returns to a democratic civilian rule.
“I understand how close Condé and Weah's friendship was, and I also know how irresponsive Condé was to adhering to the tenets of democracy. But for diplomacy, Weah should condemn the act and ensure there is strict monitoring of our borders,” he said.
President George Weah has however expressed deep concern about unfolding political development and called on all sides in the ongoing political situation to refrain from violence, uphold the rule of law and ensure calm a day after the coup happened. In a statement released early Monday morning, President Weah called for the immediate release of President Alpha Condé, who has reportedly been detained by soldiers staging a revolt against his rule.
“The Liberian Chief Executive reiterated the Liberian government's support for the position of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance and called on military leaders in Guinea to adhere to the tenets of civilian rule and democracy. President Weah reminded all concerned of the need for peace and security, adding that violence and political instability in Guinea will have negative ramifications for the entire region,” the President said.
Meanwhile, Sen. Snowe has disclosed that ECOWAS is expected to take some actions to ensure there is peace in Guinea since the implication on the region is serious. Sen. Snowe added that the military takeover in Guinea may have happened since the deposed President was not a listening leader, rather an adamant old man, which has led to many crises even before his overthrow. He went on to state that Condé, now 83, manipulated the election process by introducing a referendum which brought a yes result favoring him for a third term bid. He added that it is wrong for the will of the people to be subverted.
“The people were not comfortable with the outcome, but he had control over the army and that, by then, guaranteed him a safe haven,” the Liberian Lawmaker said. “In Guinea, the President had not been a listening leader. He is an adamant old man and that has led to many crises even before his overthrow...
“Now, he has fallen in trouble with his own men in the military, most of whom, in fact, are from his own tribe, for failing to upgrade their living standards by increasing their salaries when he was doing it for other sectors,” Sen. Snowe said.
Col. Mamadi Doumbouya, a French legionnaire trained and skilled in military operations, and a member of Conde’s tribal group, the Malinke (Mandigo), led the coup and toppled and arrested the Guinean leader. During a brief address on Radio Television Guinea, the national broadcaster, Col. Doumbouya, draped in his country’s flag, said the country’s parliament and constitution had been suspended and the borders shut.
“We are taking our destiny in our own hands,” he said, decrying the poor state of affairs in the country under Condé. “The personalization of political life is over. We will no longer entrust politics to one man, we will entrust it to the people.”
Meanwhile, the Guinean defense ministry claimed that an attack on the presidential palace by mutinous forces had been put down, fueling doubts that the coup was successful.
“The presidential guard, supported by the loyalist and republican defense and security forces, contained the threat and repelled the group of assailants,” it said in a statement. “Security and combing operations are continuing to restore order and peace.”
Liberia is different
Sen. Snowe added, while the coup in Guinea is worrisome, Liberia has no semblance of such chaos due to the proven and peaceful conduct of recent elections. “The opposition won almost all of the Senate seats in December 2020. The President campaigned for certain propositions to be passed through the referendum, but everything got defeated and he allowed the results as they came in, and announced them to the public by the National Elections Commission (NEC),” Snowe noted.