We all woke up on September 5, 2021 only to be greeted by the eerie news that President Alpha Condé of Guinea had been overthrown by an elite group in the Guinean Army. He was captured after a series of gunfire in the capital, Conakry. A video of the captured and obviously shocked and disheveled deposed president soon appeared online. It was indeed a sad end or the beginning of the end for a man who could have left a great legacy for himself and his compatriots by leaving the stage when the applause was loudest.
Some have expressed sadness and anger at the action of the coup makers, but many others are not too bothered because they had seen it coming. Indeed, all the signs of an impending coup d’état were clear for all to see. Unfortunately, Alpha Condé was so blinded by power that he could not see the bold inscription.
When President Condé changed the Constitution in 2020 by referendum to allow him secure a third term, it sparked off a series of protests in Guinea. But he suppressed the dissenting voices with an iron fist, using the army. I vividly remember telling an International Relations lecturer friend that President Condé was flirting with trouble. And have I not been proven right?
What are we seeing now? The leadership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is making frantic efforts to make the coup makers see reason and quickly handover to a democratic leadership of some sort. I’m of the view that it is a fruitless effort considering the fact that same ECOWAS saw, heard and spoke no evil when President Condé was scheming to tighten his grip on power. It is a perfect example of one closing the door long after the horse had left the stable.
The excuse that ECOWAS was powerless and couldn’t do anything when the issue was at an embryonic stage – when President Condé tried manipulating the Constitution – is as infantile as it is funny. Yes, ECOWAS had no protocol to mandate the leadership of the sub-regional body to censor or even sanction him. But publicly drawing his attention to the dangers ahead and cautioning him of the consequences of his action could have averted the pitiable situation the sub-regional body now finds itself in.
The actions of the leadership of ECOWAS make them look like a bunch of jokers. It beats my imagination that President Alassane Ouattara would be made a member of the ECOWAS delegation to meet the military junta in Guinea. With the history of making constitutional changes to the Ivorian Constitution for his parochial benefit, I’m sure the leadership of the military junta would laugh outwardly but express disdain inwardly. Indeed, what advice would he give to Mamady Doumbouya and his ilk?
Some suggest that ECOWAS must wake up from its slumber and smell the coffee. I do share that sentiment. I support the call that it must Institute more biting laws to prevent gluttonous leaders from manipulating constitutions of member states. ECOWAS should also amend its protocols to accommodate situations that mandate the group to call-out and sanction errant leaders.
For sure, power drunk leaders must not be allowed to plunge their countries into conflicts and bloodshed. Bodies such as ECOWAS and the African Union (AU) have to be proactive and not wait to act after the harm had already been caused. I would leave the discussion on the lethargic AU for another day.
As for the poor masses who are hailing the military junta in Guinea, I feel nothing but pity for them. Sooner than later, those shouting hallelujah would begin to cry for international solidarity for the violations of their human and political rights. What a great cry that would be!
See you next week for another interesting konkonsa, Deo volente!