The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and governments in the region have been implored to proactively tackle the underlying causes of military takeovers in the sub-region to avert their increasing effect on security and socio-economic development.
According to security analyst, Dr Adam Bonaa, and fraud and security consultant, Richard Kumadoe, the fundamental factors included youth unemployment, corruption and lack of transparency amongst leadership as well as the relative weakness of ECOWAS to deal with security issues.
They were expressing their thoughts on Monday’s coup d’état in Burkina Faso and recent security issues in the sub-region, in separate interviews with the Ghanaian Times, yesterday.
A group of soldiers calling itself the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration, led by Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba on Monday declared that they were in control of the country.
Speaking on the country’s state television, it said the government and national assembly had been dissolved and the constitution suspended and also announced an overnight curfew.
The whereabouts of President Roch Kaboré, who won a second term in 2020 elections, remain unknown, but a military spokesman is reported to have said those arrested during the takeover had been held in a safe place, with respect for their dignity.
The overthrow, which comes at the back of recent armed conflicts in the Sahel region which has led to the loss of many lives, marks the fourth military coup in the past year in West and Central Africa in Mali, Chad and Guinea.
According to Dr Bonaa, factors of the coups in the sub-region had existed for some time, but had been compounded by activities of Jihadist groups and the inability of the ECOWAS to help get rid of them.
In all the recent coups, he said, the military had partly attributed their agitation to the inability of their democratically elected leaders to fight insurgencies like the way it should be fought.
Citing Ghana’s unemployment rate pegged at about 14 per cent, he said, unemployment amongst the youth in West Africa was in itself a trigger for political disturbances if not properly checked.
For Dr Bonaa, foreign influence should be checked while political leaders should ensure that the needs of their people were addressed to prevent agitation and military taking advantage of the discontent of the people.
“We would have to be careful, other countries in the sub-region need to be careful and most importantly, ECOWAS would have to be a bit more meticulous in dealing with this cancer of coups and ensure the people are brought round the table,” he said.
For his part, Mr Kumadoe said strategic security management, effective governance and national leadership was crucial to curb further escalation of the disturbances and the insecurity issues surrounding member countries.
“Border control management, surveillance and creative thinking in the area of security intelligence, dialogue and communication among member countries, at the highest levels of leadership and governance should be embraced and effectively managed,” he said.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR