THE Trades Union Congress (TUC) has warned that deploying Ghanaian troops to fight in Niger “will be a disaster that will haunt Ghana for a very long time.”
In a statement issued on Saturday August 19, 2023 and signed by the Secretary General of the TUC, Dr Yaw Baah, the TUC pleaded with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo not to “even contemplate deploying Ghanaian troops to fight in Niger.”
While condemning the coup d’etat in Niger the TUC also condemned attempts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to use force to restore constitutional order in that country.
The statement said “we hold a strong view that any attempt to remove the Tchiani-led military junta in Niger by force will further escalate the tension and the insecurity in the region.”
The TUC noted that there was no reason for ECOWAS to wage a war in Niger, more so when there was no consensus among ECOWAS members.
According to Dr Baah, a war in Niger or anywhere in the region had a very great potential to create the environment for more insurgents and even more coup d’etats in the region which may lead to further instability and insecurity.
The statement pointed out that democracy remained one of the key values of the TUC and other labour movements across the globe and so “any act that disturbs the constitutional order in any country needs to be condemned because it takes that society back to the old order where a few people illegally take and usurp power that belongs to the people.”
“The TUC will always support democracy because that is the only way to ensure respect for constitutional order, respect for rule of law, respect for human rights including the rights of workers, separation of powers and respect for the rights of women and men as groups and as individuals,”
Ghana and many other countries in West Africa have experienced military rule. The military regimes, despite their claims and justifications for taking power, could not move the region forward in terms of social and economic development.
West Africa, the TUC noted remained the poorest region in the world.
He argued that over half of the population of the region was suffering severe poverty and destitution, in spite of the enormous natural resources in the region.
“We do not need the military in power anywhere in the region or in Africa. All efforts must, therefore, be made to deepen and sustain democracy on the continent by creating and strengthening democratic institutions,” Dr Baah stated.
The TUC contended that no one could impose democracy on any country until and unless the people themselves were ready for it.
“The lessons from Afghanistan are still very fresh in our minds and so we have no excuse to send our military men and women to die in Niger. We need them at home to protect us from the insurgents and external forces who are gradually but surely coming close to our borders with neighboring countries,” Dr Baah maintained.
The statement urged ECOWAS to focus on its original and core mandate of economic development, regional integration and poverty eradication in West Africa.
Dr Baah urged all Organised Labour groups in Ghana, Nigeria and other countries in the region to form alliances with progressive civil society organizations including religious and faith-based groups, students, youth groups, women’s groups and traditional leaders to stand up against any attempt to declare war on “our sisters and brothers in the Republic of Niger.”
“We believe that through diplomacy, constitutional order can be re-established in the Republic of Niger if ECOWAS leaders engage the military junta in good faith, with clean hearts and clear minds. We urge the military junta to return Niger to constitutional rule immediately to preempt any senseless war in our region.
“We do not need war in West Africa. We need peace, social and economic development and stability. That is what we want our leaders to focus on. “ the statement concluded.