West African Elders Forum (WAEF), an association of former presidents in the West African subregion, on Friday strongly condemned the Guinean coup and expressed concerns about instability in the country.
The group described as unfortunate the political development in Guinea where military officers arrested the country’s president, dissolved the government, and suspended the constitution.
The forum, an initiative of the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, made its position known in a statement issued in Yenagoa.
The statement was signed by Wealth Dickson, the foundation’s communications officer.
WAEF noted that the event in the West African nation was capable of retarding the democratic progress recorded in the region in the last two decades.
The statement quoted the convener of the forum, former President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, as describing the development as an unfortunate cog in the wheel of progress.
“At a time when the rest of the global community are consolidating the gains of sustained democratic rule, the sub-region cannot afford to return to the inglorious era of military dictatorship,” Jonathan said.
The forum condemned the military incursion into the civic space of Guinea and called on the actors to release all those arrested and respect the rights of all citizens.
WAEF urged the people of Guinea to commit themselves to nation-building and work towards the restoration of constitutional order in the country as democracy remains the best governance instrument for the promotion of citizens’ participation.
The group noted that keeping faith in democracy will ensure sustainable development and the realisation of other collective aspirations, peace, unity and justice.
Meanwhile, former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has also condemned the coup in Guinea and condemned the treatment of Conde after his arrest.
“He was not properly dressed and for somebody who has served his country for so many years, he was put in a very unsettling position,” Sirleaf said.
The coup trend in West Africa was troubling, she said and attributed it to “changing ways.” She urged governments to “ensure their institutions are aligned with the national agenda.”