African Betrayal: In Guinea President Conde Not the Military Was the Problem


Ousted Guinea president Conde. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

[Aluta Continua!]


Harold Acemah

Guinea has been in the news lately because of a military coup d’etat which took place there in broad daylight on September 5. When I saw “Breaking News” on Aljazeera TV about that daring event, I remembered a popular 1960s Ghanaian Highlife tune by E.T. Mensah whose lyrics extol Ghana, Guinea and Mali as “the nucleus of the great union” namely, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) founded in 1963 and the African Union founded in 1999.

The leaders of the three African countries, respectively, were Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure and Modibo Keita. When the OAU was established in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1963, the first Secretary General of the OAU was a distinguished son of Guinea, Diallo Telli. During the golden age of post-colonial Africa, the 1960s, many Ugandans named their sons Diallo after that great pan-Africanist.

I had the pleasure and privilege to meet and interact with Diallo Telli in 1971 and 1972 during my tour of duty as a diplomat at the Embassy of Uganda, Addis Ababa which is accredited to Ethiopia, OAU and UN Economic Commission for Africa. Telli was an elegant, eloquent, flamboyant and confident man who reminded me of Kwame Nkrumah, first Prime Minister and President of Ghana who played a leading role in the establishment of the OAU. Nkrumah’s book, “Africa Must Unite,” published in 1963 on the eve of the founding of OAU, is the blueprint of a continental “United States of Africa” which, I believe, will materialize one day.

Like Ghana in Anglophone Africa, Guinea is a pioneer, pacesetter and trailblazer in Francophone Africa. Nkrumah and Sekou Toure were comrades-in-arms in the heroic struggle of Africans for human dignity, self-determination and independence. When Black American political activist Stokely Carmichael decided to relocate and return to mother Africa from the USA, where his ancestors were forcibly taken—in his case to the Caribbean–as enslaved Africans, he dropped his mzungu name and adopted an African name, Kwame Toure. What a great name, Kwame Toure.

Guinea’s coup leader. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

In Eastern and Southern Africa, the equivalent of the three West African leaders was Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Apollo Milton Obote of Uganda and Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia. These three great African leaders, wise men and pan-Africanists formed a radical and revolutionary group called, “the Mulungushi Club” which spearheaded and waged a relentless struggle against colonialism, racism, racial discrimination and apartheid in the 1960s and 1970s which struggle yielded resounding success.

The above named giants of Africa have since 1970s and 1980s been replaced by a new breed comprising of intellectual dwarfs, conmen, fraudsters, opportunists and self-condemned men, like Teodoro Nguema Mbasogo, Yahya Jammeh and Omar Bashir, who masquerade as presidents in many African countries. Africa and Africans deserve a lot better than dubious, incompetent and self-centered leaders who are pathological liars.

On September 5, Col. Mamady Doumbouya, commander of Guinea’s Special Forces Group announced that the army had deposed the senile 83-year old President Alpha Conde who, like many African leaders, overstayed his welcome and was clinging tenaciously onto power by hook and crook against the expressed will of the overwhelming majority of the gallant people of Guinea.

Col. Doumbouya told Guineans and the world that soldiers had seized power because they wanted to end rampant corruption, violations of human rights, impunity and economic mismanagement.

Instead of blaming and condemning the gallant and patriotic soldiers of Guinea who got rid of a callous, arrogant and corrupt dictator, the powerful regional organization the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the AU should condemn and punish lawless, shameless and worthless African leaders, such as, former President Alpha Conde who have amended national constitutions to remove term limits to enable them cling onto power indefinitely against the will and wishes of the vast majority of fellow citizens.

ECOWAS and AU must not defend the indefensible and stop acting like a trade union for corrupt, decadent, mediocre and reactionary African leaders who have done enormous damage to the cause of the African revolution and the struggle for African unity. 

Aluta continua!

Arua, Uganda

September 14, 2021

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