The new president of ECOWAS, Bola Tinubu, once again castigated the military coups, without condemning the violations of Constitutions carried out by certain West African presidents.
2014 in Burkina Faso. While article 37 of the country's constitution indicates that the president of Burkina Faso "is re-eligible once", Compaoré is trying to run again, even if it means questioning the constitutional provision relating to the presidential term. While Lieutenant-Colonel Zida took power, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) recalls that "elections were planned" in 2015 and proposes to stick to the schedule. A way to support Compaoré and castigate the military.
For ECOWAS, there is no question of supporting the military regimes in power. Since 2021, Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea have been excluded from the regional organization, which blames them for military coups and threatens not to reintegrate its countries if the transitions last too long. ECOWAS is thus modeled on the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance which, in its article 23, condemns "any putsch or coup d'etat against a democratically elected government".
Having just been appointed President of ECOWAS, the President of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu, reiterated that democracy was, for West African countries, "the best form of government" and affirmed: "We will not allow there to be coup after coup in West Africa”. A barely masked reference to the three members of ECOWAS who have suffered five coups over the past three years.
But then, what about the member countries whose incumbent presidents have violated their Constitution to get re-elected? Among the member countries of ECOWAS, there are notably Côte d'Ivoire and Togo. However, the body did not sanction Alassane Ouattara when he began his third term, yet unconstitutional. No more than Eyadéma Gnassingbé who, in 2002, modified the Togolese Constitution of 1992 which limited the presidential mandates to two. Patrice Talon, he had promised not to represent himself and broke his word.
Admittedly, Umaro Sissoco Embaló, president of ECOWAS until last month, could have profoundly changed the DNA of the body. Opposed to third terms and in favor of limiting the age of presidential candidates to 80, the Bissau-Guinean president, when he was at the head of ECOWAS, watered down his wine.
Consequence: ECOWAS still protects “presidents for life” and has become, over the years, a "syndicate of heads of state". If, two years ago, she had promised to "strengthen democracy and good governance in the region" and said she was "concerned at the cases of violation of the constitutional order in the region, in particular through the 'military state', ECOWAS seems only concerned with putsches, preferring to let West African presidents settle as they wish with their respective constitutions.