Apr 17, 2008, 6:13 AM
The people of Guinea Bissau Sunday morning woke up to reports of a coup attempt by some group of gunmen.
Reports were rife in Bissau, and on the continent, about an attempt, though a failed one as at now, on the civilian interim government already charged with setting up elections.
This news is, indeed, disturbing not only to Guineans, but the sub-region and the continent in particular.
Guinea Bissau is no stranger to political violence. Its political history has been mired in intrigue, cold calculation and outright violence since its political independence from Portugal.
Analysts have blamed the country’s army for the perennial instability that has left the mineral-rich nation weak, poor and vulnerable to economic predators of questionable stuff and means.
As we have consistently indicated in this column, coup d’etat is a treasonable offence and an unacceptable means of changing a government.
No matter how unpopular, despotic, inept, corrupt, wanting in vision a government or a leader may be, resorting to the barrel of a gun to overturn that system is undemocratic and unacceptable.
We needn’t be reminded that undemocratic means of changing governments could have comprehensive and far-reaching consequences for a country.
These may take the form of sanctions, shying away of investors, setback in the democratic process, instability, among other consequences.
For this reason, all coup plotters, successful or otherwise, should be made to pay for their crimes against their people.
We are of the firm conviction that those who have staged a coup or planning to stage one must be made to understand that the wish of the people is supreme, and should always be allowed to assert itself.
The regional body ECOWAS and the African Union should be especially alert to the happenings in Guinea Bissau, and nip any threat to national security and peace in the bud.
If Guinea Bissau is allowed to be a failed state, the consequences for the sub region would be incalculable.
We should all be concerned about the instability, and the state of democracy and human rights in Guinea Bissau.
If we believe that we are a global family, one global world, instability in any part of the world should be a concern for all.
“Power to the people, down with coups!”