After an unverified video showed Guinean President Alpha Condé surrounded by soldiers, it remains unclear whether the coup attempt has successfully dissolved the government. On Sunday morning, an elite army appeared on national TV, claiming that it deposed the Guinean President. This event follows hours of gun fights near the presidential palace in Conakry, the capital city. According to BBC News, United Nations secretary-general António Guterres and the African Union have condemned the coup attempt and demanded an immediate release of the president.
Meanwhile, Mamadi Doumbouya, the head of the unit and leader of the coup attempt, announced that the country’s parliament and constitution had been suspended and the borders are closed. The soldiers had acted in response to years of corruption and mismanagement caused by the president. Guinea is one of the most resource-rich countries in Africa. However, political unrest and failure of leadership have caused the country’s economy to decline, and it is ranked as one of the world’s poorest nations. This coup attempt marks one of many political upheavals in the unstable nation.
The soldiers clearly expressed their dissatisfaction with the rulership of Guinea. “[W]e are taking our destiny in our own hands…We will no longer entrust politics to one man, we will entrust it to the people,” Doumbouya said, further criticizing the state of the country under the 83-year-old president. At the same time, the defense ministry stated the attack at the presidential palace has been put down, causing more confusion among the general public. United Nations secretary-general António Guterres stated, “[I] strongly condemn any takeover of the government by force of the gun and call for the immediate release of President Alpha Condé.” Although the event is in its early stages, with many unknowns obscuring a clear picture, one certainty is that the fate of Guinea’s government will be in jeopardy if no clear resolution achieved.
It is unfortunate to see how military coup has become so normal in all parts of the world, in order to claim power. In many countries where lesser people aren’t having their voices heard, violence often erupts for changes to happen. In Guinea, the soldiers claim that they intend to gain justice for the people. However, in many third-world countries, there have been many successful coup leaders who promised to give justice to the people but failed to do so once they seize power. There are many reasons for this, but the illegitimate rise (usually involving violence) to leadership often means they are incapable of ruling. Although the soldiers are understandably upset about the current Guinean government, their violent method of seizing the power is not justifiable.
The unrest in Guinea started just less than a year after President Alpha Condé was elected for his third term. Last March, Guinea voted on a controversial referendum approving changes to the constitution, allowing the president to serve two additional terms. The opposition boycotted the referendum, which resulted in more than 40 people killed in violent protests before the vote. The unrest in Guinea is happening amid political upheaval in the outer West African region, with fears of democratic gains declining and more people living in poverty. In May, there was a successful military coup (for the second time) in Mali, which brought a young colonel beset with Jihadist violence to power. Last year, Ivory’s Coast President Alassane Ouattara won a controversial third election run after pledging to step down from office.
This event speaks to the regional instability of West Africa as a whole, where military coups and damaging the current structures of government have become frequent. The immediate implication for this coup attempt in Guinea is that people are left insecure about their government and safety; if the president is susceptible to outside attacks, who is truly safe in the country? It also leads to destabilizing the whole government structure in Guinea, which has already been deeply flawed. One must not forget that Guinea, along with many Western African countries, was colonized by France and did not acquire its independence until 1958. Thus, it is wrong to blame the Guinean people for what the country has become. Years of resource extraction and manipulation from foreign countries could also be the factors of what is happening currently in Guinea.
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