ECOWAS Leadership Under Scrutiny

ECOWAS Leadership Under ScrutinyECOWAS Leadership Under Scrutiny

ECOWAS Leadership Under Scrutiny

Dr. Omar Alieu Touray assumed ECOWAS presidency in 2022, leading an entire 15-member West African coalition.  Under Dr. Touray, ECOWAS faces challenges. Membership has dwindled from 15 to 11 states since 2022.

Sahel Withdrawal Raises Questions.  The exit of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso in 2024, plus Guinea’s suspension, threatens ECOWAS’s unity and vision.  Dr. Touray’s handling of the Sahel coups and Guinea’s turmoil is critical.

Has his leadership exacerbated ECOWAS’s fragmentation?

Sierra Leone Coup: A Regional Test

The Sierra Leone coup, implicating ex-President Koroma, highlights ECOWAS’s struggle to uphold regional security.  Dr. Touray and ECOWAS must address their approach to regional coups. Their response could make or break the coalition’s future.

In 2018, Sierra Leone welcomed President Julius Maada Bio. Immediately, a disruptive campaign threatened the nation’s stability.  For five years, ECOWAS overlooked the rising political heat in Sierra Leone, missing critical chances to mediate.  Despite fatal clashes in 2022, ECOWAS didn’t persuade former President Koroma to seek exile, averting further unrest.  After the 2023 coup attempt, ECOWAS delayed action, sending a delegation only a month later for preliminary assessments.

Charges of Treason Ignite Action

Once Sierra Leone charged ex-President Koroma with treason, ECOWAS’s Dr. Touray visited, influencing Koroma’s temporary exit.  As Koroma’s court date looms, ECOWAS, under Dr. Touray, must face its part in this judicial cliffhanger.   If Sierra Leone’s government knew of plans to let ex-President Koroma evade justice, it and ECOWAS are complicit.   Such actions would suggest that ECOWAS and the government tolerate undemocratic power grabs.

As Koroma faces court, the integrity of ECOWAS, Sierra Leone’s judiciary, and its former leader hangs in the balance.