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DEMOCRATIZATION AND MILITARIZATION IN WEST AFRICAN SUB-REGION

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ABSTRACT

The study is basically a qualitative research method relying mainly on secondary sources of data from internet sources, official documents and country websites as the method of data collection. We made use of qualitative-descriptive analysis as our method of data analysis, that is, documentary studies of official document and other materials in analyzing the secondary data. The major purpose of embarking on this research is to assess the democratization and militarization in the West African sub-region as a result of ECOWAS intervention in Mali and Guinea Bissau. Thus, we were able to make the following principal findings that, one, the legitimacy crisis suffered by the ousted democratic regimes hinders ECOWAS intervention for democratization in Mali and Guinea Bissau. Two, that the militarization resulting from poor governance of ousted democratic governments impedes ECOWAS intervention for demilitarization of Mali and Guinea Bissau. On the basis of this, we recommend, one, that there is need for confidence building measures to enhance ECOWAS intervention for democratization in Mali and Guinea Bissau. Two, that there is need for public enlightenment to achieve successful demilitarization of Mali and Guinea Bissau by ECOWAS.

 CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1.      Background of the Study

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was established in 1975 primarily to facilitate economic integration and development in West African sub-region. But over the years, the regional economic organization evolved into regional security organization through its military intervention in the conflict situations in the member states and as well created a new organ, ECOWAS Ceasefire Monitoring Group (ECOMOG). The peacekeeping intervention began with Liberian civil in 1989 to Sierra Leone in 1997, Guinea Bissau in 1998, Liberian Second Civil War in 1999, Cote d’Ivoire in 2002, Second Cote d’Ivoire Civil War in 2011, and Mali in 2012 and  Second  Guinea Bissau crisis in 2012 (Agyapong, 2005; Belmakki, 2005; Levitt, 2008; Francis, 2009; Olonisakin, 2010; Yabi, 2010; Kabia, 2011).

The ECOWAS recognizes the fact that no meaningful economic integration and development will be possible under conditions of conflicts as the sub-region was fast assuming the status of conflict region. Prior to the military intervention, ECOWAS had always relied on traditional method of conflict resolution as a result of widespread  conflict and instability in the sub-region in the 1990s and early 2000s, the  leaders came to the realization  that economic prosperity  cannot be achieved  in the absence  of peace and security. For example before the Liberian conflict in 1989, the ECOWAS relied on traditional conflict resolution mechanisms like mediation in Niger and other cases in the sub-region (Agyapong, 2005; Francis, 2009). ECOWAS is becoming more a regional security organization. But that does not mean total jettisoning of traditional conflict resolution mechanisms as the cases in Togo in 2005 where democracy was restored after military coups, demonstrated. Even in the cases of military intervention, traditional methods of imposing sanctions and encouraging dialogue with the regimes were exhausted (Suifon, 2005; Levitt, 2008).

However, the military intervention by ECOWAS has not been totally successful in quelling conflicts, crisis of regime change and political succession and military intervention into politics in the West African sub-region and the Africa generally. The latest of these conflicts in the sub-region which ECOWAS has intervened are Mali and Guinea Bissau in 2012. The objective has been to restore democracy by forcing the military back to the barracks or restricting it to the constitutional role of protecting the territorial integrity from internal insurrection and external aggression.

But the  root causes  of military intervention into politics and  crisis of regime change or political succession are yet to be adequately addressed by the ECOWAS, for example, issues of legitimacy crisis, poor governance, bad leadership, political leadership failure, political corruption, electoral crisis and political violence have been largely left unattended or ignored. The political conditions in most of the countries in the sub-region and indeed Africa as a whole are not democracy friendly or unsuitable for democratization and flourishing of democracy or demilitarization (Aning and Bah, 2010; Sperling, 2011).

Most scholars like Nowrot and Schabacker (1998) focus on the legality of ECOWAS intervention while the likes of Olonisakan (2010) concentrates on the effectiveness of the military intervention in quelling  conflicts in the West African sub-region.        

1.2.      Statement of the Problem

The military intervention by ECOWAS has not been totally successful in quelling conflicts, crisis of regime change and political succession and military intervention into politics in the West African sub-region and the Africa generally. The latest of these conflicts in the sub-region which ECOWAS has intervened are Mali and Guinea Bissau in 2012. The objective has been to restore democracy by forcing the military back to the barracks or restricting it to the constitutional role of protecting the territorial integrity from internal insurrection and external aggression.

But the  root causes  of military intervention into politics and  crisis of regime change or political succession are yet to be adequately addressed by the ECOWAS, for example, issues of legitimacy crisis, poor governance, bad leadership, political leadership failure, political corruption, electoral crisis and political violence have been largely left unattended or ignored. The political conditions in most of the countries in the sub-region and indeed Africa as a whole are not democracy friendly or unsuitable for democratization and flourishing of democracy or demilitarization (Aning and Bah, 2010; Sperling, 2011).

Most scholars like Nowrot and Schabacker (1998) focus on the legality of ECOWAS intervention while the likes of Olonisakan (2010) concentrates on the effectiveness of the military intervention in quelling  conflicts in the West African sub-region.      

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