guinea’s bed-ridden leader resists change


Going by his actions, it is apparently clear that Guinea’s bed-ridden president Lansana Conté is still making use of his absolute power to resist change in the country.

é, who ascended to power through the barrel of the gun in a 1984 coup, has over the years maximised efforts to remain in power until he dies, despite meeting stiff resistance from Guineans majority of who continue to be bitten by abject poverty. And in the process, soldiers who were licensed to kill, shot dead more than 200 protesters last year.

Having lost support from the civilian population, Conte’s final hope hinges on the trigger-happy and remote-controlled security forces bent on killing, maiming and torturing innocent and armless civilians for exercising their constitutional rights. Their actions led to the appointment of a consensus prime minister in the person of Lansana Kouyaté, a seasoned and charismatic diplomat.

Kouyate soon busied himself with normalising the affairs of the natural resources-opulent West African country with clean heart. A lot has been expected from the man who wields powerful popular support. Guess what happens? He has not been given the atmosphere and space to turn his lofty ideals and programmes into reality, as his master and the evil forces who feared his rising fame undermined him, creating man-made faults for his administration.

Conté’s game becomes mature when Guineans start scolding Kouyaté for his administration’s failure to better the lives of people, arrest unprecedented price hikes as well as create more job opportunities. Guinean president used this as enough excuse to elbow out the prime minister, accusing him of “failed delivery.”

But deep down his heart, Conté knows the problem has more to do with Kouyaté’s unstoppable fame. He was replaced by the president’s long-time political ally, Dr Tidiane Souaré. With time, it will be proven whether the new premier, who has been slapped with mutinous soldiers’ demands for unpaid salary arrears, will have the audacity to grease the economy of the crisis-ridden country.

“But paralysed by the continual obstruction of Conté and his allies and cut off from Conakry’s political and intellectual elite, he was progressively neutralised and finally sufficiently weakened for the president to be able to dismiss him without fear of new demonstrations,” concurred the deputy director of the Brussels-based think tank, International Crisis Group’s Africa Program, Daniela Kroslak.

The group said Mr Souaré’s appointment has put Guinea’s democratic reform process at risk because it will give the government every change to “break its promise of credible legislative elections in December 2008, compromise economic revival and bury the independent commission of inquiry tasked with identifying and prosecuting authors of the bloody 2007 crackdown.”

Like most African leaders, Conté too is applying every dirty measure to wield power. His fear centers around the consequences of relinquishing power. Either by hook or crook, he must one day leave power, no matter whose ox is gored.

By Musa Saidykhan


About musa

I am a Gambian journalist whose mission to use his pen to correct injustice and to tell truth to power was left to bite dust. My newspaper's contents and editorials became "too itchy" that I ended up in Banjul's mosquito-infested cells where I had to cope with three nights of horrendous tortures that left scars all over my body. I was forced to flee into exile with my family, leaving behind my beloved country and editorial desk in the hands of perpetrators. However, unlike most refugees, my two and half years in Senegal was well spent.

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