Mar 17, 2009, 6:27 AM
The build-up to the forthcoming second round presidential run-off election in Guinea Conakry has been wobbled by anxiety, fear and a spate of violence.
Since late last year, many Guineans have been losing their lives and property in violence that could be averted.
Guinea Conakry is no stranger to political violence now. Its political history has been mired in intrigue, cold calculation and outright violence since the death of President Lansana Conte.
With the presidential election barely three days away (Sunday,7 November), it is crucial for all stakeholders to be on the alert to prevent the country from sliding into anarchy.
The regional body, ECOWAS, should be especially alive to the happenings in Guinea Conakry, and to nip any threat to national security and peace in the bud.
If Guinea Conakry is allowed to be a failed state, the consequences for the sub-region would be incalculable.
The crux of the matter is that Guinea Conakry is at the moment at a crossroads. If its neighbours abandon it, at this moment of its greatest need, it will veer onto the path of death, destruction and doom, which would have a spillover effects on its neighbours, whether or not they like it.
Meanwhile, both the winner and loser in the election should have the presence of mind to accept with grace the outcome of the election.
For the loser, he has to realise that there will be another chance. And for the eventual winner, he should reach out to the loser in the spirit of reconciliation and goodwill, and then move the country ahead.
It is up to the people of Guinea Conakry not to turn their country into a political pariah. They have a choice to make. If they choose the path of reason and wisdom, then they will reap the economic, social and political dividends of stability and a functioning democracy.
However, if they choose acrimony and violence, it will be too bad for them and the rest of us. It is our wish that, this time around, the people of Guinea Conakry get it right, once and for all.
"Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.