-Promises to Draw New Constitution.
Uneasiness has gripped many West African states as Guinea’s elite military forces overthrown their despotic President Alpha Conde (82) who subverted the country’s constitution to install himself in power for a third six-year term.
The leader of Guinea’s elite army unit, Mamady Doumbouya announced on Sunday, September 5, 2021, that the coup d’état was necessitated by Conde’s misrule that had thrown the West African country into a state of irreversible corruption and poverty.
“We have dissolved government and institutions,” Doumbouya said on state television, draped in Guinea’s national flag and surrounded by eight other armed soldiers. “We are going to rewrite a constitution together.”
The short-lived third-term of Conde had come after high expectations that Ghanaian President Nana Akufo Addo had had for him.
In late 2020, Akufo Addo sent a glowing congratulatory message to Conde who had been widely criticised for subverting Guinea’s constitution, corruption and rigging the elections that year to win the country’s presidency for the third time.
“I wish President Conde and the Guinean people the very best of luck in the years to come, as Guinea unleashes her tremendous potential to develop into a thriving, prosperous democratic state. It is my hope that the strong relations between Guinea and Ghana, which date from the earliest days of our independence, will grow from strength to strength during the presidency of Professor Alpha Conde,” President Akufo Addo had told Conde.
Before Akufo Addo sent this congratulatory message, he had received a letter from Guinea’s opposition warning that the country is headed for trouble due to Conde’s suppressive antics.
“Africans, across our continent, are waiting for ECOWAS to act. As the president of Liberal International, a world federation of 100 liberal and democratic political parties, I know how important the voice of ECOWAS can be when transgressions on this scale occur. And we should be clear, Mr. Chairman, transgressions in the form of electoral irregularities that have led to human rights violations are occurring now,” wrote Dr. Hakima El Haité, the President of Liberal International, a coalition of over 100 democratic and liberal parties within and outside Guinea.
The letter was dated October 25, 2020. It is unclear what the response of President Akufo Addo was.
“The election heist that is currently taking place in Guinea has now escalated to incorporate gross human rights violations, all transpiring at the hands of Alpha Condé,” Dr. El Haite wrote to President Akufo Addo of Ghana.
Alpha Conde’s main rival, Cellou Dalein Diallo and his followers have been widely reported to have been harassed and brutalised by forces loyal to Conde.
Conde’s notoriety was finally truncated after his ouster today, following a heavy gunfight between his military detachment and Guinea’s elite forces near the presidential palace in the capital, Conakry.
Hours later, videos were shared on social media, showing Conde in a room surrounded by army special forces in an apparent arrest.
The mutineers dissolved its government and constitution and closed its land and air borders, as the United Nations and Nigeria, the region’s dominant power, condemned any takeover by force. But Doumbouya had justified the takeover, saying “poverty and endemic corruption” had driven his forces to remove Conde from office.
Conde’s irksome third-term win had sparked violent protests from the opposition.
In recent weeks the government has sharply increased taxes to replenish state coffers and raised the price of fuel by 20%, causing widespread frustration. Conde had also increased his salary amidst heavy condemnation.
Both Conde and Ivory Coast’s leader have moved the legislative goalposts to extend the clock on their presidencies in the past year, while Mali has experienced two military coups and Chad one.
Despite its increasing exploitation of natural resources like bauxite, iron ore, gold and diamond wealth, only a few of Guinea’s citizens have seen the benefits, and critics say his government has used restrictive criminal laws to discourage dissent, while ethnic divisions and endemic graft have sharpened political rivalries.