Tuesday, October 3

Mballow’s Views on Military Intervention in Niger Mirrors State House’s Position-Madi –

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By: Nyima Sillah

The National Assembly Member(NAM) for Serrekunda West has said Saihou Mballow’s comment that The Gambia should send troops to Niger if sanctioned by ECOWAS re-echoed State House’s position on the matter.

Earlier last week, Presidential adviser Saihou Mballow said The Gambia should send troops to Niger if ECOWAS should follow through on its threat to forcefully remove the Nigerien junta if they refuse to hand back power to the country’s deposed leader.

To Serekunda West NAM Madi Ceesay, Saihou Mballow’sposition on the Niger political crisis may mean the President has already supported the idea of troops deployment to Niger. He added that the stance of the President and government on issues such as the Niger debacle are transmitted through the presidential advisers. 

“The government and GAF should give a second thought to that because what are they going to defend in Niger? That is what I don’t know. They cannot tell me that they are going to defend democracy since democracy has always been overthrown by themselves in their respective countries,” Ceesay argued in an interview with The Voice.

Ceesay said African leaders have disrupted democracy in their countries, hence the return of coups de tat in Africa.

“If we have term limits in our constitutions and they are respected, people will not think of coup d’état,” he stated.

The Niger issue, he said, is crucial and needs to be treated with a “high sense of responsibility”.

The SK West NAM said he was against any military intervention in Niger because the troops will be fighting for the right of an individual.

Despite expressing dismay over coups, Ceesay suggested that all countries must be treated equally as the Niger putsch was not the first of its kind in the sub-region.

He pointed out that when leaders in other countries were deposed, ECOWAS didn’t care to send troops to reinstate them.

“Why would ECOWAS want to go and fight in Niger to reinstate the President,” he asked.

Ceesay advised ECOWAS to explore diplomatic means to end the crisis in Niger.

He pointed out that if ECOWAS leaders such as Gambia’s Adama Barrow were desirous of consigning coups to history, they should embrace term limits.

“The current presidents are trying to only secure their own positions because they fear that if the trend continues, they will all be thrown out by the different militaries in their countries. As a result, they want to get up now and it is too late,” Ceesay stated.

“I think the best thing for ECOWAS now, including The Gambia is to push for a dialogue between the soldiers and ECOWAS leadership. And the issue should not be to reinstate the president but the issue on the table should be for how long they are going to do the transition,” he suggested.