It feels at the moment like hardly a month can go by without there being a coup in West Africa. Hot on the heels of their counterparts in Mauritania the military in Guinea have immediately seized power following the death of the President, Lansana Conte, who recently died at the age of 74. According to the BBChe had ruled the country with an iron fist since 1984, when he took power after a bloodless coup and was only the country's second president. It is a terrible fact that the people of Guinea have had such little experience of true democracy since they gained independence from France in 1958. It is time that this changed.
Speculation in Guinea, reported by the BBC, states that the takeover by the military had long been on the cards as the ailing president had been using the army to enforce his authoritarian style of rule.
It is saddening to read the BBC report which states that following his coming to power by means of a coup, "He oversaw a return to civilian rule and was elected three times. He followed a political path familiar to some of the old school of African leaders when he dabbled with democracy but then appeared to change his mind. He let some political parties operate but intimidated or jailed other opposition leaders."
When will we in Africa be free from this tyranny? When will full and fair democracy take root allowing the people to elect who they wish in free and fair elections, free from intimidation?
We join with the European and African Unions in condemning this act and call on the government to do the same. We hope that this kind of thing will be a thing of the past in our sub region.
"An army, like a serpent, goes on its belly."
Frederick the Great