Niger had its fifth instance of a coup d’état on July 26, 2023, marking a recurring pattern of political instability since attaining independence in 1960. This is the fifth coup in Niger since the country gained independence. In 2021, there were reports of an attempted coup in Niger. The military has overthrown the democratically elected administration on the grounds of corruption, mismanagement, and worries regarding insecurity. The coup was promptly denounced by many international entities, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU), and the United Nations (UN), who called for the quick reinstatement of constitutional governance.
Despite its preference for dialogue, the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) has warned of a possible armed intervention against the soldiers who seized power in Niger on July 26 by activating its ” standby force.” The “standby force” is mandated by ECOWAS for peacekeeping missions. Previous deployments of the “standby force” have occurred to ECOWAS member states, including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, and Gambia. Ghana, a prominent regional actor recognised for its steadfast dedication to democratic principles and peacekeeping endeavours, currently stands at a critical juncture, contemplating deploying military forces to support this ECOWAS intervention in Niger to bolster ongoing stability initiatives. This article explores the rationales supporting and opposing Ghana’s engagement in the situation while also analysing the possible consequences that may arise from this course of action.
Ghana has exhibited a strong dedication to regional stability by actively engaging in peacekeeping operations throughout Africa. The deployment of military personnel to Niger can contribute to stabilising the region and mitigate the risk of instability spreading to neighbouring nations. Ghana possesses a robust democratic heritage, serving as a noteworthy exemplar for other African countries in upholding democratic principles. Should Ghana support this intervention in Niger, the country has the opportunity to convey a strong message that the occurrence of unlawful government changes is deemed unacceptable, thereby fostering the promotion of democratic ideals within the region. As a member of ECOWAS, Ghana is mandated to actively contribute to implementing collective measures to preserve peace and stability in the area.
ECOWAS has historically employed military interventions to reinstate equilibrium, as evidenced by its involvement in the situations of Liberia and Sierra Leone. The potential exacerbation of pre-existing humanitarian difficulties in Niger is a significant concern arising from the political turmoil triggered by the coup. The participation of Ghana has the potential to make a substantial contribution towards resolving these urgent matters, but should it be in the form of deploying troops? Firstly, national sovereignty posits that every nation possesses the inherent right to exercise governance over its internal affairs without external intervention. The deployment of military forces to Niger has the potential to encroach upon this ideal, even in cases where the motivations are altruistic.
Secondly, critics have argued that Ghana’s participation in resolving the conflict in Niger may provide only a little effect. The coup’s fundamental difficulties are profoundly entrenched and intricate and need a comprehensive and enduring strategy. Thirdly, the decision to deploy military forces to Niger has the potential to establish a precedent that may influence future interventions. The Republic of Ghana should thoroughly analyse the potential long-term implications of this decision on its foreign policy.
Determining Ghana’s potential deployment of troops to Niger in response to the coup entails a multifaceted and intricate deliberation. The historical dedication of Ghana to democratic principles, regional stability, and peacekeeping highlights the significance of its possible contribution to addressing the ongoing issue. In making a decision, it is imperative to comprehensively evaluate the prospective advantages and drawbacks, considering Ghana’s core principles, regional obligations, and the enduring consequences for the Region if Russia decides to support Niger in the event of an invasion by the ECOWAS forces. Irrespective of the chosen course of action, the international community must focus on achieving a peaceful resolution that reinstates democratic governance and fosters stability in Niger.