Gambia: Ecowas: The African Toothless Tiger


West Africa for a little while had moved away from constant wars and coup d’états, simply because ECOWAS had presented the perception of strength and authority.  These constant pushing of regional envelopes by President Jammeh are beginning to show fault lines within the ECOWAS system. It is now very obvious ECOWAS is a toothless Tiger.  Therefore, here we go back to a new era of civil wars within regional west Africa.

History has shown presidential term limits is the best prophylactic to civil wars and civil uprising. In the absence of term limits, the path becomes clear for violent civil uprising, arm resistance such as, assignations, guerilla wars, coup d’états and rebel insurgencies.

From the mouth of John Kennedy “those who make peaceful change impossible will make violent change inevitable”. Since ECOWAS have failed to establish sweeping term limit for all member states because of the resistance of two members, at the expense of all others and hundreds of millions of Africans, the path to another forceful change is inevitable.

Hence it is fair to conclude that ECOWAS do condone by default, all of the alternate path to regime change, even the much dreaded violent option to be precise. ECOWAS like many African institutions are reactionary institutions, they lack pro activity and preventive measures. Therefore, ECOWAS must be forced to react and reconsider its toothless relationships with all dictators from within as well as their lackadaisical support for all peaceful regional change.

Frequent eruptions of civil revolts, violent uprising, low grade gorilla campaign, armed insurgencies etc are the needed catalyst to facilitate the necessary mind change from ECOWAS.

This time around, any such calls and initiations will have to come from Gambians everywhere else but the USA.  From the lessons of Dec 30th, it should be obvious to all that the laws of the land impose a significant degree of limitation on USA based Gambians to invoke the violent option, in our search for an appropriate remedy for our predicament.

The situation in Gambia has become a throwback to the dark says of West Africa (pre Ecomog days in Liberia), a disgrace to ECOWAS as a body and her regional panthers. The question to ECOWAS as an institution is, how will she vindicate herself in light of president Jammeh’s most recent threats?

  1. “Will lock up political leaders and nothing will come of it.”
  2. “Will kill Mandingos and nothing will come of it”
  3. “Will kill protesting citizens and nothing will come of it”

These threats cannot be taken lightly given the history of Jammeh following up on his threats. ECOWAS had witnessed the execution of nine prisoners. The killing of journalists, the arrest, torture and murder of innocent citizens for simply protesting and a lot more have been carried out by Jammeh. ECOWAS therefore must be equally held accountable if Jammeh kills anymore Gambian citizens. Gambia’s peace and stability is directly connected to that of Senegal and the sub-region. Therefore any unrest in Gambia might disrupt the regional peace with its neighbors.

 Written By Dr. Samuel B Artley.DMD. FAGD.

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