Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Communique on Niger crisis


We, representatives of civil society organisations in West Africa, after learning of the military coup d’Etat carried-out on the 18th of February, 2010 in Niger;
Already Preoccupied by the autocratic drift initiated and sustained by President Tandja Mamadou through the unconstitutional referendum of August 4, 2009 and the ultimate dissolution of some of the most democratic institution in Africa as was observed in the Abuja Declaration, during the symposium organised by WACSOF with the support of OSIWA on Democratic Transitions from July 31-August 1, 2009;
Concerned that coups d’Etat of any kind whatsoever, constitute a flagrant violation of democracy and human rights;
Further concerned that such an undertaking is a serious breach of the Additional Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance of ECOWAS, signed and ratified by Niger;
Determined to oppose any resort to force to accede to and remain in power;
Convinced that only democracy and popular consultations are the paths for saving our states;
Further convinced of the interdependence of member states, an interdependence which is reposed in ECOWAS for the realisation of our aspirations as contained in its Vision 2020;
• Denounce the military coup that was orchestrated in Niger as a means of resolving the political crisis;
• Holds Mr. Tandja Mamadou solely responsible for the impasse that created an opportunity for the use of arms as the only way to resolve the ongoing political crisis until February 18, 2010;
• Deplore the casualties that occurred during these events;
• Reaffirm our commitment to democracy and the republic and to the respect of the provisions of the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, 2001;
• Take note of the speech by the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy (CSRD) in its Communiqué No. 001, of February 18, 2010, concerning the restoration of democracy, while at the same time maintaining our view that the role of the junta is to create the conditions for the return to democratic processes and not to address issues of poverty and corruption;
• Launch a vibrant appeal to the democratic forces of Niger and to ECOWAS Member States for a transitional process within the shortest time possible, with the sole agenda of organising free and transparent elections to ensure the stability of the institutions of the Republic of Niger, self-reconciliation and its reinstatement within ECOWAS; and
• Welcome the positions taken in this regard by ECOWAS, the AU and the international community.

WACSOF recommends as Follows:

To Civil Society and Media of West Africa
Continue to support and work towards the achievement of genuine democracy in Niger, while maintaining their role as watchdogs in the ECOWAS region, especially in an era where the stakes of power are major obstacles to normal democratic processes.

Take all the necessary steps and measures to get the CSRD to withdraw from politics in Niger through general consultations as well as free and transparent elections within the shortest time frame;
Maintain an uncompromising attitude and vigilance for the respect of the founding texts of the Community, and
Encourage a spirit of unity and solidarity of member states wherever the signs of authoritarian excesses are detected;

To the African Union
In line with the Constitutive Acts that recommend the suspension of any power that is not achieved through democratic and constitutional means, ensure rapid return to normal constitutional order in Niger;

Implement and enforce the provisions of the last Summit held in Addis Ababa on unconstitutional changes.

To the International Community, Technical and Financial Partners
Encourage and accelerate the restoration of democracy that has been confiscated since August 4, 2009, in Niger.

Done in Abuja, this 19th Day of February, 2010


Prof Oumar Ndongo,
General Secretary,

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