Ex-UL Graduate School President Calls for Review of ECOWAS 2001 Protocol on Military Overthrow of Gov’t


Monrovia – Amidst series of military takeovers being witnessed in Africa, with the latest being neighboring Guinea, a former President of the State-run University of Liberia Graduate School, B. Geeplaye Nyenswah, Sr. has written the Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS), requesting the review of its 2001 protocol on Military overthrow of democratic government.

Nyenswah, who served as President for the class of 2019/2020 said the communication intends to permanently prevent or end the military’s double breach of the prevailing constitutions of member states and their assigned responsibilities within said constitutions by overthrowing democratically elected governments and usurping political authority.

He also noted that the communication is to request the dire need of addressing what he termed as “systemic issue of bad governance;” which accordingly, continued to plague not only West Africa but the whole of post-independence Africa.

According to Nyenswah, Africa’s independence did not come on featherbedding, rather, independence was achieved as the result of years of bitter and bloody struggle against racism, suppression, repression, oppression, and exploitation at the hands of the colonizers. Therefore, leaders must not become the new oppressors of their African brothers.

“Your excellences are witnesses and you also bear testimony to the truth that Africa’s hard-earned independence which promised immediate positive changes and glorious future for the victimized populations and exploited continent, was betrayed by successive post-independence governments,” Nyenswah said in his letter to the regional body.

However, he noted that the bulk of the leaders themselves, who are victims of bad colonial rule, are now the new oppressors.

Besides, he noted that they deliberately changed their countries’ constitutions to remain in power for as long as they wished, to enrich themselves, their families, and friends.

“First, it is to request your endorsement of the need for a revision of ECOWAS 2001 protocol on the coup,” Nyenswah noted.

He viewed said ‘betrayal’ of the objectives of Africa’s struggle for freedom by unscrupulous post-independence leaders, as mark of the beginning of unconstitutional military coups.

He said: “Guinea, an ECOWAS member state, is the latest example, which has drawn the body’s attention.”

However, Nyenswah believes the mere condemnation of the coup and insistence that President Alpha Conde be reinstated by the junta in the absence of addressing the reasons for the coup is not a permanent solution to the situation.

Rather, he said the way forward is to make it mandatory for each member state to put its house in order, under the breath of good governance.

 In pursuit of what he described as a laudable leadership charge, Nyenswah is seeking the indulgences of heads of states of ECOWAS to consider the following recommendations during the deliberations at their next Summit; among which include, emphasized the need that presidents of ECOWAS member states must always be conscious of the fact that they took a sacred oath to uphold, protect, and defend the constitution of their respective Nations.

That undercount (1) 0ne, no sitting president of an ECOWAS member state should abrogate the very constitution he or she has sworn to respect, for instance by changing the tenure of the presidency to allow him or her to remain in power for as long as he or she desires, which, more often than not, leads to family, or tribal, or ruling class hegemonic control.

That, in keeping with the above count, presidents of ECOWAS member states must always be guided by the tenants of Representative Democracy; that is, they must regard themselves as trusted servant leaders committed to the wellbeing of their people, as well as the growth and development of their respective Nations; that all ECOWAS member states must subscribe to and make good governance the hallmark of their respective governments; that no sitting president of a member state must manipulate, alter, or change any part, or section, or portion of his or her country’s constitution for personal aggrandizement; that all Leaders of ECOWAS member states must accept the fact that they are servants and dependable managers of their people and Nations.

Mr. Nyenswah, writing further in his letter, called on the ECOWAS’ leaders to “Serve above the reproach, for example, of corruption, and must declare injustice, self-aggrandizing, as public enemies and that would – be violators prosecuted or removed from office without discrimination and that Presidents of member states must refrain from human rights abuses and from hindering or preventing the rule of law.”

At the same time, the former UL Graduate School president stressed that if these and all the virtues and positive leadership styles become the mainstay of the governance structures of ECOWAS member states, the organization will boast of its moral authority to condemn coups and order the reinstatement of any or all ousted presidents.

Notwithstanding, he said some or all presidents of ECOWAS member states cannot be in repeated violations of their constitutions while paradoxically condemning the military of abrogating those organic Laws and compelling them to reinstate their deposed colleagues.

Meanwhile, Nyenswah said because countries that make up ECOWAS are in continuous betrayal of the vision of Africa’s independence through bad governance and coups, then-current leadership of that body will begin to lay the blueprint for altering the negative historical trend.