West Africa: MPs, Security Chiefs Meeting Ends in Stalemate …As ECOWAS Military Capos Converge On Accra Tomorrow to Decide On Intervention in Niger

A meeting between the Committees of Defence and Interior and Foreign Affairs of Parliament and Ghana’s military chiefs on how Ghana should proceed on the political crisis in Niger has ended inconclusively.

The meeting was for the security chiefs to brief the Members of Parliament on Ghana’s readiness to deploy personnel as part of ECOWAS’ planned military intervention in the West African country.

The Ghanaian Times understands that the meeting ended inconclusively because the majority and minority caucuses have some disagreements whether or not Ghana should contribute troops for that intervention.

While the Minority argued that the cost of a military intervention would be catastrophic, their colleagues in the majority hold the view that the deployment would only be in line with Ghana’s international commitments.

According to the Ghanaian Times sources, the minority thinks that deploying troops to Niger would not be in the interest of the country as stipulated by Article 40 of the 1992 Constitution.

Article 40 (c) mandates Government, in dealing with other countries, to “promote respect for international law, treaty obligations and the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means”.

But the majority caucus members said 40(d) incapacitates the president from doing anything otherwise than deploy troops to join the ECOWAS standby force to intervene in Niger.

Clause (d) of Article 40 enjoins the government to “adhere to the principles enshrined in or as the case may be, the aims and ideals of the Charter of the United Nations…the Commonwealth and the treaty of the Economic Community of West African States”.

Speaking with the Ghanaian Times exclusively after the over two hours meeting, an MP who was at the meeting and pleaded anonymity said the indications are that Ghana will be deploying troops to Niger.

“The opposition NDC is opposed to military intervention in Niger but it seems the president is bent on deploying troops to Niger.

“His ministers of Defence, Interior, National Security and Foreign Affairs have made it clear to us that the President has committed at ECOWAS and that is it,” the Ghanaian Times source said.

According to the source, the consequences of a military intervention may be dire with other geo political interests in and around Niger and its neighbouring countries.

West African leaders at an extraordinary summit in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on Friday, August 11, directed its Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff to “promptly activate the ECOWAS Standby Force with all its elements”.

The decision by ECOWAS followed the expiration of its one-week ultimatum to the coup leaders to reinstate deposed democratically elected president, Mohamed Bazoum.

The Chiefs of Defence Staff of the ECOWAS are expected to hold a meeting in Ghana on Thursday and Friday to discuss a possible military intervention in Niger.

Mr Bazoum’s government was toppled on July 26 by General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the former commander of the Niger presidential guard.

The Tchiani-led junta has, however, named a 21-member transitional government to be led by Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, a civilian, as Prime Minister.


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