The Secretary General of the Mano River Union (MRU) Ambassador Mrs. Medina A. Wesseh, is urging to the authority of the regional body and other stakeholders to focus more on finding solution to the political quagmire in Guinea other than dwelling on the nature of the problem.
The MRU scribe made the call when she delivered her address at the just concluded MRU Diplomatic Peace, Security and Democracy Conference held at the Farmington Hotel, Margibi County, which besides discussing regional security, democracy and peace, specifically addressed the political situation in Guinea in the wake of the military takeover on September 5, 2021, where President Alpha Conde was overthrown and the democratic structure dissolved.
According to Ambassador Wesseh, “The question we wish to pose for the consideration of this honorable gathering is not whether to engage but more of how to engage all parties – national, regional and international. – to focus on the solution rather than dwell on the problem. This is where we believe the MRU is in a strategic and necessary position to initiate the mode of solution based approach”.
“We need for our member states to see the problem not only from an introspective perspective, when in fact today the world has truly evolved into a global village. But a collective regional will to deepen the democratic dividends. The question that begs for our attention is, what is the most constructive way for the sub region to ensure a smooth return to constitutional framework within the shortest possible time. One which will provide lasting peace and stability for economic development to take place for the people of Guinea to carry on with their lives in peace with the three other members of the MRU”, she said.
Ambassador Wesseh praised President George Manneh Wesseh through whose vision and passion for regional peace the conference was being held and acknowledged his various peace initiatives.
“It is a singular honor for us to be holding this meeting on Liberian soil, growing out of the vision and passion of the Liberian Leader and President, Dr. George Manneh Weah. Liberia, just barely 2 decades back was noted for anything and everything else but peace when it was the epicenter of war. President Weah served in many roles as a goodwill and peace ambassador then and today he is actualizing with passion an African parable of not leaving your neighbor’s house unattended when there is fire. Once again we thank you Mr. President for the courage of your conviction”
Ambassador Wesseh also thanked Minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Dee Maxwell Saah Kemeyah whom she said was most diligent in his duty to caucus and confer with his colleague ministers who he met on the side lines of many major international fora and convinced them on the need to see President Weah’s vision (for peace) and his appreciation of the invaluable place of peace for the people of the sub region.
She told the conference that the Political developments of September 5, 2021 in Guinea to date is a major jigsaw puzzle requiring close consultation amongst core Ministers, led by the distinguished excellencies who were present at the just ended MRU Summit, and added that like the proverbial elders under the sycamore or the Baobab tree is still in the initial process. “As you may recall, when the unnatural end to civilian rule was announced and the setting aside of the constitution was pronounced in Guinea, the MRU in its statement of September 6th was on point to join other members of the international community to call for an early return to constitutional democracy”, she said.
Ambassador Wesseh who has been at the helms of affairs of the MRU since 2017 said from being a two member institution when it was founded by Liberia and Sierra Leone in 1973 has now grown to 4 after Guinea joined in 1980 and Cote d’Ivoire in 2008 and has been working harmoniously at its level and that they were planning the next summit to have been held in July, 2021 for the transfer of authority from Guinea that held the Chairmanship at the time, but was postponed for November ,2021 due to the resurgence of the COVID 19 and then could not even hold after the military struck in Guinea and removed Alpha Conde who was the Chairman.
“We were on the verge of a summit first to be held in Liberia in July of this year, later postponed due to the resurgence of the Corona Virus. The meeting was postponed to November. The President then, Prof Alpha Conde as chair of the authority of heads of state of the MRU, had written to inform all members of the Union of the impending summit, where the transfer of leadership of the organization would take place. These were the activities going on with various levels of meetings taking place when the internal political dynamics in Guinea changed. Guinea is the chair of the authority of heads of state. It chairs the TCAF and the audit committee as well as the Union Ministerial Council and any other technical/sectoral committees”, Ambassador Wesseh said.
The top MRU Diplomat of Liberian origin noted that the crisis in Guinea is of concern to regional security given the fact that the country has six neighbors where the northern part borders the Sahel area which are Guinea Bissau, Senegal and Mali while the country covers the entire northern half of Sierra Leone from East to West or from Kambia to Kono. Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire split in almost equal half the coverage of north Western Liberia and Guinea covers half of the Ivorian western border. She added that they are focused on the borders as they at the MRU tend to appreciate how far removed they can be from the center of power and governments in the sub region.
“We have seen the most visible existential threats in the West Africa sub region such as deadly raids and attacks by known, visible and invincible terrorists’ gangs coming through the porous borders of various states. This is the back ground of the strategic. Peace and Security. Reason why Guinea cannot be left alone with uncertainties, or that it can attempt to solve its problem all by itself” She said.
Ambassador Wesseh went further in memory lane to give reasons what fired up the imagination of the founding fathers of the Mano River Union to conceive such an idea that has outlived them and continue to be a relevant regional institution.
“When our forefathers had the vision of first forming a custom union, it was obvious to them that between Sierra Leone and Liberia, the peoples were the same and the history of the Mende and via peoples could be traced to the kingdom of old Ghana Male and Songhai. The commonality of traditional animist or religious culture and beliefs system to modern day normative behaviors continue to amaze just how similar and closely knitted the families along these borders. When Guinea joined the Union in 1980 it was a natural entrance and a welcome to the neighborhood. Côte d’Ivoire in 2008, we are certain of a common market of nearly 51 million people”
She said that the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Mano River Union were meeting at the Conference to consider recent developments of the political situation in the Republic of Guinea and to engage the CNRD led by Col. Mamady DOUMBIA. She said it was the anticipation of the stakeholders that the Ministers would carefully consider the delicate and yet grave concerns surrounding the removal of a democratically elected government through extra-constitutional means for which the heads of state and the distinguished ministers at the meeting fully supported the decision of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS in the wake of the situation in Guinea.
“To date various levels of commendation continue for the relentless efforts of the Current ECOWAS Chairman and President of Ghana to bring about a peaceful and amicable resolution of the matter. We as the immediate neighbors of Guinea who bear witness and must welcome the pronouncements and commitment of the National Transitional Council of Guinea to restore constitutional order and return power to the people in the shortest possible time.
“During these two days of deliberations and consultations we urge you distinguished excellencies and Ministers to take keen interest in the various pronouncements and dare we say some bold measures in the interim which has calibrated the attention of the National Transitional Council to fight corruption, initiate reforms and strengthen institutions to sustain irreversible transition to democracy and an inclusive society. We may want to consider fielding a mission to ascertain and verify so as to further advice those in charge of the transitional government as well as the broader international and regional bodies who make up the comity of nations, she said.
“We expect that the Ministers here will during these days of deliberation, direct the attention on the mode of engagement and determine ways and means to ensure that the National Transitional Council lay clear a path to the process of transition and set a timetable for the holding of free, fair and transparent elections to give the majority of the people of guinea the social contract between the governed and the governors”, Ambassador Wesseh noted.
Among other issues, Secretary General Wesseh said that it was her hope that the august gathering of Ministers, high level regional and international stakeholders from the United Nations and the African Union will make use of the two days to have a proper regional Kaleidoscope which will focus on the core principles of upholding the fundamental tenets and values enshrined in their charters to promote good governance, rule of law, respect for human rights and to fight corruption in all its forms.