That response by ECOWAS to the Gambian election crisis of 2016 is a lasting indictment on the shallowness of EAC cooperation.

When Gambian election managers announced that Addama Barrow had won the 2016 presidential election and defeated the incumbent with an unassailable margin, those of us who support change African politics had reason to celebrate.

What followed next followed usuall script that has  happened in too many places. The incumbent president announced tat he would challenge the election results. He later graduated this to a state of emergency as inauguration day grew closer. The chief of the military declared his loyalty to the incumbent (though later). Last Thursday, the country’s ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC), which had fronted the incumbent, filed an application for an interlocutory injunction seeking to stop the inauguration of Mr. Barrow as President on January 19. The outlook could not have looked worse for the Gambians.

Luckily, they were not alone, the United Nations, the African Union and ECOWAS all declared support for the president elect. ECOWAS heads of state hurriendly assembled  and designated Muhammadu Buhari as chair of the investigating committee and entered a resolution.

Resolution available here: http://unowas.unmissions.org/sites/default/files/gambia_joint_declaration.pdf

Leadership of the military intervention was handed to the Senegalese. Mohamadu immediately flew to Gambia, arriving on xxx and held consultations with both the President Elect and the incumbent. Ecowas troops were gathered in haste and were to start their offense on the Wednesday the 18 in support.

The country’s vice-president Isatou Njie-Saidy resigned on Wednesday, family sources said, along with the environment and higher education ministers, in the latest of a string of cabinet members deserting Jammeh’s government. – AFP

There were other meetings, other resulting but one things was clear, ECOWAS states would not sit back and watch while one of their countries fell in to chaos. They would prevent chaos and enforce the decision of the Gambians.

Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz landed in the Gambian capital Banjul on Wednesday evening in an effort to convince Jammeh to step aside.

Ecowas leaders have worked hand in hand in an exemplary show os leadership to protect the citizens of the gambia from the hold of a brutal dictator. They met on xzxx and issued a clear statement. Shortly aftwerwards, The Chiefs of Defence Staff of ECOWAS countries came to Abuja on Saturday 14th, where they discussed what components each member state is expected to contribute to the troops.

This cohesive action; determined and focused is a decisive blow to the final kicks of the rejected regime. It is also a lasting indictment on the shallowness of regional cooperation on this side of the continent. Eastafricans have a policy to keep off each other’s internal political affairs.

Perhas now is a good time to set the foundation of such peer support. In this way East African countries have plenty to learn from our West African brothers on how best to be our brothers’ keeper.

East African states have stood watch while their neghbours fell into chaos.


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