By Shola Omoregie
On 18 May 2012, the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 2048 (2012), by which, it inter alia, imposed a travel ban on four senior military officers in what the Council called the “Military Command”. These officers are accused of leading the 12 April 2012 coup d’état and now behind the transitional Government in Bissau. The attempt by the Council to discourage unconstitutional change of government and also to bloc the utilization of resources from the trafficking in drugs fell short of what is required to restore constitutional rule and combat drug trafficking.
First of all, the politicians and civilians who back or profit from unconstitutional change of governments in Guinea-Bissau were not affected by the resolution. Secondly, the countries of origin and destination of drugs transiting through Guinea-Bissau were not affected. Instead, Guinea-Bissau, which does not produce drugs, was targeted. Unless the countries of origin and destination of drugs transiting Guinea-Bissau are targeted, the resolution will have no impact at all. It will be a victory for drug traffickers.
By merely reiterating its call “for the full restoration of constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau” as it did in a statement on July 30, 2012 is not enough. The Council also called for a timetable for the organization of free, fair and transparent presidential and legislative elections. Holding elections in Guinea-Bissau is not the problem. To solve the cycle of violence in the country, it is very important to tackle the root causes of the problem, without which, it becomes a question of running around in circles, as has been the case since the civil war in 1998/99. The ECOWAS mission will become another mission impossible and all the Road Maps will become maps to nowhere unless it addresses the real issues..
The Security Council urgently needs to address the nexus between drug trafficking and unconstitutional change of governments in Guinea-Bissau if peace and stability are to be restored to the country. The Council should request the United Nations Secretary-General to establish a panel of experts to investigate those and their collaborators involved in drug trafficking in Guinea-Bissau.