ECOWAS won’t back coups in member countries – Pres

presPresident John Mahama, who is CHAIRMAN of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of state and Government, has cautioned member countries that the sub- regional body would not support violent overthrow of governments.

“Change of, must come through constitutional means in accordance with the ECOWAS protocols”, he stated.

President Mahama gave the warning on Sunday in Banjul, The Gambian capital, where he stopped over, on a short solidarity visit, following an attempted coup in that country.

He was on his way back home after a state visit to Germany.

Accompanied by the Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Toga Gayewea McIntosh, President Mahama said the visit, though brief, was to demonstrate ECOWAS’ solidarity with President Yahya Jammeh and the people of The Gambia.

“In the African tradition, if anything happens in your brother’s house, you have to go and visit and make sure that things are okay, and that is why I came”, he said

You also know that our ECOWAS protocols do not support violent overthrow of governments, so we want to remind all member states of the protocols that change of government must be through democratic means and as far as possible, we should try and abide by that,” President Mahama added.

President Mahama was welcomed at the Banjul International Airport by President Jammeh, government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, as well as hundreds of Ghanaians living in The Gambia and Gambian nationals.

Mr. Mahama inspected a Guard of Honour mounted by The Gambian Armed Forces both on arrival and before his departure.

The almost three-hour stopover, according to Gambian officials, was a major step by President Mahama and ECOWAS to demonstrate its support and cooperation with member states.

Gunmen, – some allegedly to be members of the country’s Presidential Guard on December 30, last year attacked the State House of The Gambia, the official presidential residence, on am attempt to overthrow President Jammeh.

At the time of the coup attempt, President Yahya Jammeh was out of the country, with sources differing on whether he was in France or Dubai.

Jammeh, who came to power through a  coup d’état in 1994, has survived a number of attempted coups against his regime, and sometimes accused the United Kingdom and United States of being behind those attempts.

By Samuel Nuamah

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