The Socialist Movement of Ghana has called on ECOWAS Heads of State to withdraw their threat of military action for the reinstatement of deposed President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger. According to a statement released by the movement the agenda by the ECOWAS Heads of State is as a result of pressure mounted by colonial masters France and Great Britain, under the hegemony of US imperialism. Per the geographical structure of the Africa map the Economic Community of West African countries(ECOWAS) is sitting on a time bomb should the threat by Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea to help defend the territorial integrity of Niger spiral into force.
According to the SMG the ECOWAS threat is a strategic mistake since ECOWAS’ adventurism has already split the sub-Region and could overnight escalate the political crisis in Niger to an existential crisis for the entire sub-Region – destroying millions of lives and hamper production of goods and services with severe ramifications for the entire continent. Despite its rich uranium and other hydrocarbons reserves making it the seventh highest producer of nuclear fuel in the world Niger has been tamed into becoming one of the poorest countries in the world.
While Niger itself remains one of the lowest consumers of electricity — with an electrification rate of only about 17.5% — its uranium has been powering a third of the light bulbs in France. This per the stand point of the Socialist Movement of Ghana amounts to gross injustice against Niger. Bazoum’s overthrow is only one minor expression of Niger’s crisis. The real crisis is underdevelopment. This is because France has plundered the country ruthlessly for over a century using bankrupt local elites to repress dissent and to play ethnic and religious communities off against each other and frustrate popular organisation.
Niger’s neocolonial crisis deepened when NATO destroyed Libya in 2011, encouraging hardened Islamist fighters from Central Asia to infiltrate and destabilise the Sahel-Sahara region and militarizing and “Islamizing”existing communal problems. This created a pretext for renewed Western intervention in the subRegion – as saviours. Nigeriens have responded magnificently to the long-term crisis with popular struggles for social justice, development, and dignity.
Organised Labour, the Gender movement, Youth organizations, intellectuals, and the religious establishment have challenged the status quo for many years and been ruthlessly repressed by the Nigerien State led, most recently, by Bazoum and backed by France. For the above mentioned reasons the SMG echoes that a military intervention will not wash away this history or the complex web of social conflict it has created. ECOWAS guns will not assist Nigeriens to clarify and determine how they will organise and pursue national development. Guns will only deepen the underlying crisis of foreign exploitation and underdevelopment that Niger suffers.
The SMG further adds that an ECOWAS military action will deepen Nigeriens’ suffering and set their economic and social development back even further.
An ECOWAS military intervention will also not advance the long-term well-being of other West Africans. Niger’s story differs only by degree from that of the rest of the subregion. The statement further adds that West Africa remains one of the poorest and most troubled regions in the world. Every suffering war will bring to Niger will be replicated and amplified throughout the sub-region with unforetold consequences. Already signals from neighbours Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea are disturbing.
These three countries together make up 60% of the total land mass of ECOWAS with the remaining 11 countries contributing 40%. A military outpour from these three countries definitely would destabilise the sub-region.
The situation looks very volatile with up to 1,500 French troops already deployed in Niger, in addition to about 1,100 US troops in two bases, about 300 Italian soldiers, and a smaller contingent.