Wednesday, February 18, 2015

#ECOWAS@40Podcast Episode 5: #StopBokoHaram; #SouthSudan; #Libya; #

Ecowas@40Podcast – 17 February, 2015

Welcome to the 5th edition of the Ecowas@40Podcast, where we give you insights into all that is ECOWAS.

The ECOWAS@40Podcast is divided into four parts. We start off with an overview of what stories are trending under ECOWAS. We then move on to what ECOWAS and/or AU accounts are tweeting. Third, we give listeners an ECOWAS Fact; and, finally, “What’s my ECOWAS Beef?” where I offer candid views on a trending topic.

First, the Valentine and Chocolate day did little to remind warring factions to love one another. South Sudan – a long-running headache for the African Union -- became a talking point as a HRW report warned that children as young as 13 were being recruited to fight in the army. And even as the UN was warning that South Sudan is on the brink of famine, as roadblocks have been erected in certain areas inhibiting aid workers from reaching communities urgently in need of food, a GlobalVoicesOnline report is noteworthy in its critique of the AU. The article states that instead of the report being presented by the Chair of the AU Commission of Inquiry into South Sudan (AUCISS) Obasanjo, the Ethiopian PM Desalegn raised a motion to defer publication of the report until peace is achieved. SA Prez Zuma seconded – as did Prez Museveni of Uganda. Public release of report has been put off indefinitely!

Still on AU-related matters, #MugabeFalls has been trounced by #Libya and South Sudan

1.      Yannis Koutsomitis of @YanniKouts tweeted: “  



Still on #Libya, and closely trailing behind was still the headache of #SouthSudan:

#BokoHaram/#StopBokoHaram still in the news:




According to 2013 ECOWAS Annual report, there remain five protocols and conventions yet to enter into force as of 3 Oct 2012. These are:

a.      The Protocol establishing VAT in Ecowas member states (July 1996)
b.     Protocol on the Fight against Corruption (Dec 2001)
c.      Supplementary Protocol amending the protocol on the establishment of an ECOWAS Brown Card  relating to motor vehicle third party liability insurance (Dec 2001)
d.     Agreement of cooperation in criminal matters between the Police of ECOWAS Member states (idem)
e.      Protocol establishing an ECOWAS Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Bureau (ORIC…Guinea only country that has one) (Jan 2006)

2. From 1978 to 15 November 2013, Ghana signed 43 out of 54 protocols and conventions. That is 79% signed, which is commendable.

4.     What’s my ECOWAS Beef?
First: when I googled “ECOWAS at 40” a few days ago, what should I see but one of the countries that was dealing with Ebola – Sierra Leone – reporting in a news item of 30 January (by Sierra Leone News Agency) that its Ministry of Finance and Economic Devt(MOFED) had “commenced the inaugural meeting of the 40th anniversary celebration of ECOWAS” already.  Rewind a few months to a news item by Nigeria’s Leadership newspaper that our ECOWAS Chair in Mahama  had stated how for 39 years “regional integration had been hampered by several factors including political instability.” 

This is clearly an admission that in its 40th year, things had to be done differently. Yet, as I write, there has been no mention made by Ghana’s diplomatic machinery about the auspicious nature of this year, and how Ghana ought to clearly capitalize on it being Chair to drive home the point about ECOWAS doing things differently in its 40th year. Note we are 90 days away from AU day and ECOWAS Day on 28 May!

The pretext of fighting Ebola, and fighting terrorists (therefore unable to think clearly on celebrations) can only serve to remind us of an age-old narrative of the sub-region being one that has “nuits blanches” (sleepless nights) over peace and security—as it has done for the past four decades.

Second: Chad was instrumental in fighting in AFISMA in 2012. In 2011, Chad became an Observer of ECOWAS. It is again still playing critical roles in combating Boko Haram. Why does ECOWAS not just admit it as a member for the simple reason of helping to complement the sub-region’s efforts on peace and security in ways some of our smaller countries cannot. UEMOA, for example, on 13 February approved a strategic peace and security pact in Dakar that has five pillars. My view: what can UEMOA do differently that ECOWAS has not done since 1989 when it went into Liberia with ECOMOG?!


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