The Chairman for Alliance for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (ASDA) has called on the international community to place sanction on the current government of Benin Republic to ensure the country return back to multiparty Democracy.
To him, sanctions from the international community have proved to be an effective way of persuading repressive regimes to conform to internationally acceptable standards of conduct, even though this is not universally recognized because there effects tend to be gradual, rather than dramatic, like with military options, hence the effect of sanctions correlates with the international dependency of the target country’s economy.
Benin has witnessed post-election violence in recent times with a group of armed soldiers in an uneasy standoff with unarmed civilians on the streets of the capital – Cotonou which have put security forces on high alert following days of post-election violence.
This was after the parliamentary election that took place in April this year but without any of the opposition parties contesting. Military men allegedly scattered demonstrations when the members of the opposition called for the annulment of the parliamentary election.
Dr. Ladisla Prosper Agbesi, a leading opposition political figure and the Presidential Candidate of the Alliance for New Congress (ANC) in the 2016 elections made this call at a press briefing in Accra over the weekend indicated that, “Here Benin makes for a workable target because its economy is indeed, highly dependent, especially on trade, investment and official economic assistance from the European Union and that, Benin has a small economy measured by international standards, which unfortunately is the primary reason why the ongoing blatant assault on its democracy has not attracted the intensity of international indignation and practical response that it deserves as a model for African countries to follow to achieve the continent’s renaissance for the benefit of the entire global village that the world has become.
However, that small economic size he noted is also what makes it possible for economic sanctions to have the desired effect.
“For instance Benin is heavily reliant on Ghana for its power supply as well as also heavily reliant on transit trade and re-exports to land-locked neighbours for its economic performance”, he acknowledged.
Therefore, sanctions targeting specific members of government, President Talon himself most particularly are the very bestoption, with the scope of the sanctions being expanded based on the practicalities of implementation and the need for them to have the desired effect as quickly as possible.
Believing that, a general economic sanctions would have a quicker effect on the country Benin though it will be a great cost to the Beninoise people who are victims, not culprits of the ongoing misbehaviour by internally acceptable standards of conduct.
Speaking with passion, ASDA chairman explained that, the only way to avert Talon’s bid for autocratic power and restore Benin to normalcy without sacrificing the precious lives of countless innocent Beninoise is to apply non-violent pressure such as sanctions.
“This means a combination of passive civil disobedience at home and international pressure in the form of sanctions from abroad”, he stressed.
Adding, “Already the Beninoise people are suffering the effects of Talon’s inordinate personal ambition and the selfish, single minded, immoral way in which he is striving to fulfill it.
These actions by President Talon he lamented is making Benin Republic, for nearly 30 years, a model of democracy, to be fulfilling the requirements to been classified as a failed state.
“Civil unrest has brought economic activity to nearly a standstill and is collapsing individual household economies as well as the nation’s macro-economy as a whole”, Dr. Ladisla Prosper Agbesi bemoaned.
Though they are coming against a ruthless emergent dictator who has blatantly shelved constitutional rule and respect for fundamental human freedom, the people of Benin Republic are determined to retrieve their country from emergent autocracy of President Talon.
“We the political; opposition in Benin, desire a change of government at the executive level, followed by new, inclusive legislative elections and accompanied by the restoration of the civil liberties that have gradually been eroded since Talon took office”.he emphasized.
The Doctor however accknowledged that the international community on whom they are now relying may not necessarily desire an immediate change of the executive arm of government but indicated that they are willing to accept this as long as their other objectives are pursued, with the confidence that existing governance structures and legislations, prior to Talon’s autocratic coup, set the grounds for a peaceful, fully constitutional change of government soonest; and that with the awareness that the Beninoise people now have, they will implement such change at the earliest opportunity.
Therefore concluded that, “The future of Benin and its people now lies largely in the hands of the international community which we trust will do the right thing in the best interests of the entire global village by showing clearly that it will not allow any groups of people to openly replace democracy with autocracy at the expense of the populace of any one country or group of countries”.
Adding, the political opposition in Benin, which he represent is hopefully looking forward to immediate discussions with bilateral development partners and the multilateral political and economic institutions to which Benin are signatories, particularly ECOWAS, the AU, the EU and the United Nations, in this regard.
Source: Ishmael Barfi