Liberia: Former Senatorial Candidate Kouyateh Frowns On ECOWAS Sanction

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MONROVIA – Former Montserrado County Senatorial candidate, Sheikh Al Moustapha Kouyateh, has frowned on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for renewing sanctions against Mali and Guinea; which according to him could have a devastating impact on the ordinary people in those countries.

Mr. Kouyateh disclosed that the restrictions by ECOWAS including the closing of borders and imposing a trade embargo, as well as cutting off financial aid and freezing the countries’ assets at the Central Bank of West African States could greatly affect these countries economy thereby imposing hardship on the masses. 

“These sanctions will have devastating consequences for the people and most especially the humanitarian situation in Mali. The people of Mali already face the worst food insecurity seen in 10 years, with over 7.5 million people – more than a third of the country’s population – in need of humanitarian aid. It’s critical that these restrictions may further hamper people’s ability to access humanitarian assistance and basic social services in a country where 70% of the food is imported and where 1.2 million Malians are facing a food crisis coupled with the COVID-19,” he emphasized.

Mr. Kouyateh, the leader of a Pan African Movement: ‘Liberia First Movement’ alarmed that sanctions may hold back humanitarian organizations from delivering essential assistance in a country where drought, terrorism, and rising insecurity, as well as the economic impacts of COVID-19, are already pushing millions of Malians over the edge.

It can be recalled that the West African regional grouping (ECOWAS) on Sunday, January 9, 2022, hardened its stance against military-ruled Mali and Guinea, imposing new individual sanctions and calling on both countries to honor timetables for a return to democratic rule.

The Economic Community of West African States “has decided to sanction all those implicated in the delay” in organizing elections set for February 27 in Mali.

As for Guinea, where soldiers seized power on September 5, 2021, ECOWAS decided to uphold the country’s suspension from the bloc as well as sanctions against individual junta members and their families.

It also reiterated its demand for the “unconditional release” of President Alpha Conde, 83, who has been under house arrest since his ousting.

From this backdrop, Sheikh Kouyateh expressed his disappointment in the leadership of ECOWAS Chaired by the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo for the lack of leadership in issuing sanctions against the Government and people of Mali for what he referred to as ‘resolvable’ issues.

He called on ECOWAS to withdraw its sanctions against Guinea and Mali to create a space for negotiations with both countries and leaders; adding that there is no ECOWAS in the absence of any West African States.

Mr. Kouyateh is calling on ECOWAS to give the interim Government of Guinea a chance to organize elections according to their constitutions; since they have just held elections that gave ousted Alpha Conde a third term mandate which was legitimized by the oppositions through their participations; thus giving them the rights to have elections in 3-4 years’ time; and for Mali, he is of the belief, by next year, that country shall have fresh elections that is required by the constitution.

 Sheikh Kouyateh is calling for time so as to get the military Government prepare for the elections.

At the same time, Mr. Kouyateh has commended the Guinean Government for restoring the freedom of the former ousted President Conde and for also allowing him to seek medical attention.

He further commended Colonel Mamady Doumbouya and his team for setting up committee to investigate those who allegedly committed crimes against the economy and humanity. Sheikh Kouyateh also commended the Malian Government for maintaining peace and stability despite the security situation in that country.

The tough-talking Liberian politician urged ECOWAS to work with both countries for the forward march of Africa. It can be recalled that Mr. Kouyateh was one of the voices in Africa that condemned the third term bid of dethroned Guinea President, Professor Alpha Conde and Ivorian President Professor Alassane Ouattara.

Sheikh Kouyateh is against third term bid of leaders in Africa and believed that Africa should be united with a vision of one Africa, one people.

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