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The International Journal of Multidisciplinary Educational Research Vol. 1(1), pp. 7-12, October 2020
Available online http://
ISSN 2431-7132 © 2020 Scholarly-Journals

Regional Diplomacy and Pro-Democratic Intervention: The Case of ECOWAS in The Gambia Crisis

Frank O. Amugo
*1 and Kia Bariledum2

1Department of Foundation Studies, School of Foundation Studies and General Studies, Captain Elechi Amadi Polytechnic, Rumuola Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
2Department of History and International Diplomacy, Faculty of Humanities. Rivers State University, Nkpolu-Oroworukwo, Port Harcourt

Received: 9 September, 2020, Accepted: 29 September, 2020, Published: 8 October, 2020


African Regional bodies are increasingly taking a larger role in promoting peace and security in their respective sub-region. This is in contrast to previous years when the main concern of these bodies was economic. In 2016, Gambia held a presidential election in which the opposition leader Adama Borrow defeated the incumbent Yahya Jamueh. Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to respect the election result generated constitutional crisis, leading to pro-democratic intervention. ECOWAS through ECOMIG, as part of international response to ensure respect for the election result intervened and succeeded. However, ECOWAS intervention generated heated debate on the legality of such intervention. Drawing from this controversial standpoint, the study carefully examines the legal basis for ECOWAS intervention with focus on two questions. (1) Does ECOWAS have clear and realistic legal mandate to intervene in the Gambia constitutional crisis?, (2) why was it possible for ECOWAS to restore democracy in Gambia?. The study employed Historical Descriptive research approach. Data for the study was obtained from the secondary sources particularly textbooks, journals, newspapers, magazines and the internet. Data obtained were analyzed using descriptive and quantitative analytical techniques. From the analysis, the study revealed among others that the adoption of R2P, AU Principle on unconstitutional Change of Government and UN Security Council Resolution 2337 provided the legal basis for ECOWAS intervention in the Gambia crisis. In addition, the study also discovered that domestic protest, small size of Gambia military and the country’s unique geography for easier external attack, Jammeh’s poor international reputation, high level of support for Borrow’s victory by the international community, Jammeh’s ECOWAS isolation, increased democratization in the region, Gambia’s effective mediation mechanism and Senegal critical disposition on Jammeh’s support for rebel in the region contributed to ECOWAS success in Gambia. Based on the study findings, it was recommended that African political leaders should be guided by democratic principles in their democratic governance and sub –regional solidarity in the event of abuse of democracy as to maintain and promote democratic development in the region.


Key words: Democracy, ECOWAS, Intervention and Regional Organizations.

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