ECOWAS should engage political class in negotiation with military in Mali, Guinea, say CSOs

A Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali have urged the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) to engage the political class and CSOs in negotiations with military authorities in the three countries.

The Chief Executive Officer of Tuwindi, Mali, a CSO, Mr Tidiani Togola, made the call at a news conference organized in collaboration with Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA),on Sunday, in Abuja.

Togola also called on the ECOWAS Commission to join the military authorities in Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali in  identifying activities that should constitute the priorities of their transition to a normal constitutional order.

He stressed the need for ECOWAS to assist in easing the sanctions imposed by the commission on the three countries.

According to him, ECOWAS sanctions were certainly legal, but were not likely to improve the resolution of the problems they seek to address.

” That is why we advocate for the support of each country instead of sanctions, the only victims of which are the populations. The latter are often now in illusion and deviated from reality by their leaders.

” We recommend that ECOWAS assists states in identifying the highest priorities that a transition could achieve more easily than a normal political regime. These priorities should be based on the outcome of their national conference.

” Regarding, Burkina Faso, we recommend that ECOWAS joins the country in implementing the three-day roadmap and not initiate any sanctions.

” We call for the lifting of all political, individual and economic sanctions in all the three countries in transition”, Togola said.

The CSOs advocated for technical and financial support from states to facilitate the return to constitutional normalcy based on a timetable that allows for the implementation of the priorities assigned to the transition.

” We plead with ECOWAS to collaborate more with CSOs and the media in the resolution of political and social crises in general and in the process of managing the transition”, he stressed.

Earlier, Fatou Su, Program Associate, OSIWA, Senegal, decried the widen rate of authoritarianism and human rights violation in West Africa.

” At OSIWA, we work on issues that have human rights promotion, justice, governance as the core and we strongly believe that citizens’ participation is the cornerstone of democracy.

” We are here in Abuja on an advocacy mission, we have three countries in West Africa that are currently in transition and we are calling for a smooth and successful transition in those countries”, Su said. (NAN)

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