A delegation of Ecowas officials had visited post-coup Guinea to hold talks with the military junta to mediate a smooth transition but what has the regional grouping extracted from the new strongmen in Conakry?The first thing to emerge from the Ecowas delegation was that they had been allowed to meet deposed president Alpha Conde who is still being detained at a military barracks in Conakry.
ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, who was included in the delegation said they had seen 83-year old Conde, and he is in good health.
He said they will include this in their report to regional heads of state who had mandated them to visit post-coup Guinea and hold talks with the new strongman in charge, Lt-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya.
Alpha Barry, the Foreign Minister of Burkina Faso who was one of the Ecowas delegates said Conde’s health condition was okay despite the curtailment of his freedom which the junta claimed was for his own safety and security given the hostility of some sections of the Guinean population towards him.
Like all military regimes in their first days in power, the junta in Conakry under former French legionnaire Lt-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya has been keen to impress the world and show that they mean business.
Historians will quickly tell the uninitiated about Africa that there have been nastier coups in the continent where deposed leaders and their officials and proteges had been given a raw deal by those who removed them.
While this might amount to something of a propaganda coup for Guinea’s new strongman, Ecowas and the wider region represented by the African Union want more from him.
They would want to see Guinea quickly returned to democratic civilian constitutional rule where the culture of human rights, free speech and the rule of law reigns supreme.
The regional grouping does not look like mincing its words as it ratchet up the diplomatic pressure.
So far the farthest the 15-member bloc has gone apart from condemning the coup is to suspend Guinea’s membership with a threat to introduce sanctions if the junta falls short or behind in its commitment towards a transition to civilian rule.
The Ecowas mediators have not secured Conde’s release, one of their key demands after condemning the overthrow, but analysts say this could happen at any time depending on how quickly the junta restore normalcy to the country.
There are reports that their demand for a civilian prime minister to be appointed by the junta may soon happen after Lt-Colonel Doumbouya made a commitment to that effect while meeting the Ecowas delegation at a hotel in Conakry last Friday.
The Ecowas delegation left without knowing when Doumbouya intends to name a new government and what form this will take.
His new National Rally and Development Committee (CNRD) is meanwhile exercising full authority after dissolving the government and parliament and suspending the constitution.
Military officers have been appointed heads of regional administrations.
The CNRD said in its bid to protect state assets, all government accounts have been frozen as Doumbouya accused the erstwhile government of endemic corruption and reckless spending.