Alpha Conde and the Coup in Guinea - OpEd by Dr. Reuben Abati


Tuesday, September 07, 2021 / 08:59 AM / OpEd by Dr. Reuben Abati / Header Image Credit: The Africa Report


On Sunday, September 5, 2021, President Alpha Conde, 83, of Guinea Conakry, was deposed by a team of former elite military forces led by Lt. Col. Mamady Doumbouya. Conde does not deserve anyone's sympathy and that does not necessarily amount to an endorsement of the military coup in that unfortunate country. Indeed, Conde is the architect of his own misfortune, a greedy African leader who thought he was invincible, untouchable and supreme. The photos that were released on Sunday showing him in a humiliating position, surrounded by the same soldiers who used to protect him was a loud reminder of the ephemerality of power and the unpredictability of human circumstances. The once great Alpha Conde looked very sober. The leader of the coup used to be his bodyguard.  He used to hold an umbrella over his head. Today, Conde is at the mercy of Lt. Col. Dambouya. One wrong move, he, Conde could lose his life. He wanted to remain in office for life. He denied the people of Guinea Conakry the opportunity to make their own choice. What the people of Guinea could not do, the military have done it for them. Except that the unconstitutional take-over of power in Guinea is completely unjustifiable. The people of Guinea may have trooped out unto the streets of Conakry and other parts of the country to celebrate the downfall of a man who held them down, but that is no justification for a return to military rule. Many of them removed their shirts and screamed: "Doumbouya! Freedom". But what next for Guinea?


In the 70s, African political scientists pushed the idea of the strong man as leader and messiah, and hence accommodated militarism as a vehicle of development. But by the 80s, the wave of democratisation led by the ideological politics of the United States created a new momentum. By the 90s, democracy was the new sing-song in most African states. The challenge however has been how to consolidate the gains of democracy and its value chain. It is most unfortunate that in recent times, rather than have a consolidation, Africa is beginning to experience a backward trajectory. The coup in Guinea fits into this pattern.

Proshare Nigeria Pvt. Ltd.

Before now, since 2010, there have been coup attempts in Niger (2010, 2011), Guinea Bissau (2010, 2011) Madagascar (2010), DR Congo (2011, 2013), Sudan (2012, 2019), Benin (2013), Libya (2013), Egypt (2013), Gambia (2014), Gabon (2019), Ethiopia (2019) Central African Republic (2021) and successful coup attempts in Niger (2010), Mali (2012, 2020, 2021), Sudan (2019), Burkina Faso (2015), Egypt (2013) and now Guinea-Conakry (2021). Military interventions in African politics constitute a major setback for democracy. The coup in Guinea Conakry can only add to the instability in the Sahel region of West Africa and provide further stimulus for the agents of destabilization – the Jihadists and the terrorists operating in the Sahel. ECOWAS Presidents Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana and Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, and the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Gueterres have condemned the coup but the international community must go a step further and ask Doumbouya and his gangsters to hand over power immediately to civilian authorities. They have suspended the Constitution and all institutions as part of an attempt to launch a transitional government. 


It should be made clear to them that their rebellion violates the ECOWAS protocols on Democracy and Good Governance and the Constitutive Acts of the African Union. ECOWAS and AU need not worry too much about what France thinks. The relationship between France and its former colonies in Africa is at best opportunistic. The direct victims are the long-suffering people of Guinea.


Guinea is one of the most blessed countries in the world in terms of natural resources: the biggest iron ore deposit in the world, gold, diamond, bauxite but in typical African fashion, this has not translated into prosperity for the people. Guinea is effectively one of the poorest countries in the world.  And the problems are not far to seek: corruption, nepotism and bad leadership.  Alpha Conde spent his early career as a radical, progressive, opposition politician. He challenged the government of Lansana Conte in 1993 and again in 1998. In 2010, Conde led the RPG to victory and was thus elected President of Guinea for a first term of five years. He was re-elected for a second, final term of another 5 years in 2015. In 2020, when he was supposed to step down from office, Conde chose to amend the Constitution to enable him extend his stay in office.


Despite spirited opposition to this gamble, Conde imposed himself on the people. He was 82 at the time. He even increased the Presidential term from five years to six. In October and November 2020, there were protests on the streets of Conakry. Still, he held the election, which he won of course, and began a six-year term in office, illegally and unconstitutionally. That gamble came to an end on Sunday with the coup in Guinea-Conakry. It would have been better if he was removed by the people themselves in a democratic process. He promised to be Guinea's Mandela. He was Guinea's Caligula. Nonetheless, the cowboys looking like they don't know their left from their right must not be encouraged to remain in power and office. The creeping collapse of the democratic ethos as seen in Chad, Mali and Guinea-Conakry is an ugly burden for the whole of Africa. Other African leaders who are tempted to sit-tight in office should learn from the disgrace of Alpha Conde.     

Proshare Nigeria Pvt. Ltd. 

Previous Posts by Author - Dr. Reuben Abati

  1. 2023: Tinubu vs Bello and Others - OpEd by Dr. Reuben Abati
  2. Obi Cubana and the Oba Burial
  3. INEC Polling Units and the Future of Elections - OpEd by Dr. Reuben Abati
  4. Interviewing President Buhari - OpEd by Dr. Reuben Abati
  5. Dapo Abiodun and Honour for Olusegun Osoba - OpEd by Dr. Reuben Abati
  6. The Death of Ahmed Gulak - OpEd by Dr. Reuben Abati
  7. Nigerian Air Force and Its Crashing Planes - OpEd by Dr. Reuben Abati
  8. Fr. Mbaka's Sin - OpEd by Dr. Reuben Abati
  9. The South West Presidential Hopefuls - OpEd by Dr. Reuben Abati
  10. New IGP, Ebube Agu and Other Stories - OpEd by Dr. Reuben Abati
  11. Ishola, Adesina and Djebah: Their Excellencies, Ambassadors of Nigeria - OpEd by Dr Reuben Abati
  12. The Nigerian Diaspora Vs. Deputy Speaker Idris Wase - OpEd by Dr Reuben Abati
  13. Much Ado About Ogun Cargo Airport
  14. OPL 245: The Milan Prosecution and Lessons for Nigeria
  15. The Nigerian Diaspora Vs. Deputy Speaker Idris Wase - OpEd by Dr Reuben Abati
  16. Getting a VC for Ibadan Varsity: The Ugly Politics - OpEd by Dr Reuben Abati
  17. Keeping Schools Safe in the North - OpEd by Dr Reuben Abati
  18. Okowa and Idumuje-Ugboko Crisis - OpEd by Dr Reuben Abati
  19. Politics and the Court of Appeal - OpEd by Dr Reuben Abati
  20. Ngozi Goes to WTO - OpEd by Dr Reuben Abati
  21. Ahead of Fresh Trouble at the Lekki Toll Gate
  22. Buhari and The New Service Chiefs - Beyond the Handover of Flags
  23. President Muhammadu Buhari Appoints New Military Service Chiefs
  24. Sunday Igboho and the Yoruba Nation - People, Politics and Policy
  25. Playing with COVID-19 in Nigeria - OpEd by Reuben Abati
  26. Eight Lessons from 2020: The Year That Was
  27. Book Review - An Open Letter to Goodluck Jonathan
  28. Inside Nigeria's Killing Fields
  29. Recession Blues - He Who Feels It       
  30. #EndSARS: The Aftermath - Nov 03, 2020
  31. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Best Woman for the WTO Job - Nov 03, 2020
  32. #EndSARS: The State of the "Revolution" - Oct 27, 2020
  33. #EndSARS: The Generation that said "Enough is Enough"- Oct 20, 2020
  34. #EndSARS: Almost a Nigerian Revolution - Oct 13, 2020
  35. How Organized Labour Deceived Nigerians, Again! - Abati
  36. God-wins, Edo and Lessons Learnt
  37. Nigeria and the Southern Kaduna Question
  38. NBA vs. Nasir El-Rufai
  39. Thoughts on Nigeria and Chinese Loans - Reuben Abati
  40. NDDC and Other Stories of Dysfunction and Impunity
  41. Governance Beyond COVID-19: Back to Kwara
  42. Coping with Coronanomics - Abati
  43. Corona Blues - Abati - Apr 07, 2020
  44. The Psychology of COVID-19 - Abati
  45. Amotekun: The Politics of Protection - Abati
  46. New Electricity Tariffs: Questions by Reuben Abati - Jan 07, 2020
  47. Omoyele Sowore: Portrait of A Life in Protest - Abati - Dec 10, 2019
  48. Of Constituency Offices and Projects - Abati - Dec 03, 2019 
  49. The Supreme Court and the Atiku Election Petition - Abati - Nov 05, 2019
  50. The Constitutional Crisis in Kogi - Abati - Oct 30, 2019
  51. The Spiritual Solution to Boko Haram - Abati - Oct 08, 2019
  52. Oct 1: The Journey So Far - Oct 01, 2019
  53. Presidential Powers and The Vice President - Sept 24, 2019
  54. Nigeria, Xenophobia and Ramaphosa's Apology - Sept 18, 2019
  55. Mohammed Adoke Writes Back - Sept 18, 2019
  56. P and ID vs. Nigeria: A Review by Reuben Abati - Sept 10, 2019
  57. When Soldiers Do Police Work: Disaster - Aug 14, 2019
  58. Peter Drucker and The Things That Changed
  59. FBI, Nigerian Fraudsters and Other Stories
  60. P and ID vs. Nigeria: A Review by Reuben Abati
  61. When Soldiers Do Police Work: Disaster
  62. On June 12 We Stand 
  63. The Speech Buhari Didn't Make
  64. The People's Revolt in Algeria and Sudan
  65. The Obasanjo Bombshell - Abati
  66. Ogun 2019 Politics and Deployment of Violence - My Encounter
  67. Chief Anthony Anenih: A Personal and Political Portrait
  68. The "Oshiomhole Must Go" Coalition
  69. Beyond Fayose: The Future of Ekiti State
  70. The "Spirit of Error" in Nigerian Politics 

Proshare Nigeria Pvt. Ltd.

Related News

1.       President Buhari Approves Cabinet Reshuffle as Sabo Nanono, Mamman Sale Exit

2.      Press and Politics in Nigeria: On Whose Side?

3.      In Defense of Press Freedom; Resisting the Noose of Autocracy

4.      A Woman's Right Is Also Human Rights

5.      Constitutional Review: Nigeria Needs Electoral Reforms, New Fiscal System - Pat Utomi

6.      Six-Year Assessment Outlines President Buhari's Anti-Corruption Record

7.      FHC Exempts Payment of Default Fees for Filing of Processes for the Period of JUSUN Strike

8.     Africa: The Untold Stories of Women in Politics

9.      Selling an Entrepreneurial View of Nigeria

10.  SERAP Takes Buhari Govt to ECOWAS Court Over Unlawful Suspension of Twitter


Related News