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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: L’invité de la semaine, Lancinet Sangare

by Guest contributor: Lancinet Sangare, journalist with Patriot Radio

Guinea – A Victim of its Past, its Present… its Future?

Translated Monday 19 March 2007, by Doug

Guinea is a small country of 240,000 square kilometres in West Africa, which sits on the world’s largest reserve of bauxite. Gold, diamonds, and much other subterranean wealth constitute an embarrassment of geological riches.

Since independence by way of a referendum on 28 September 1958, this country has been pillaged by its coloniser, who was, in any case, in agreement with the goals of its liberation. Since that time, misfortune has beaten down the country.

The first president, the late Ahmed Seko Toure (AST) whom some consider to be a hero and others a tyrant, decided to pull his country up out of the abyss. Despite much criticism, Sekou Toure moved Guinea forward by meeting the challenge of self-sufficiency in - amongst other things - food and education.

His successor, a soldier farmer, siezed power in turn and brought famine upon the country. From his arrival in power in 1984 and just months after his investiture, he wronged one ethnic group when he proclaimed “Wofatara” (you have done well), referring to the Soussous’ pillage of the goods of the Malinkes. The good soldier and terrible ruler created all the worst conditions which prevent Guinea from being like its neighbours in the sub-region.

Since 1991, the most well-written texts, and well-crafted speeches have been read out by the Guinean authorities, to make the world believe that it is a great country to live in. Unemployment, insecurity, famine, illiteracy, the problem of access to health care, corruption, ethnic divisions are in reality the strong points of the Conte regime. Changing Conte for another leader is not the real problem of Guinea; there simply is no opposition in the country.

It is not only the supporters of Lansana Conte who play the ethnic card by dividing the people. The proof is that each political leader draws their support from within their own ethnic group. Not one of them has a real development programme for the country and they denounce the practices that they themselves are fully capable of repeating once they are sitting on the throne. The Guinean people are equally guilty for what is happening in the country. The people have been sucked into playing the game in the absence of a real political option. One is left wondering whether to choose between the absence of civil society or its incompetence. There can be no liberation of the people without the contribution of the people. The people of Guinea have been far too forgiving towards the people who have pillaged the country and its future.

Who is really to blame for the situation that exists in Guinea? Is it Charles De Gaulle and his 1958 government? Is it Ahmed Sekou Toure and his entourage? Or even Lansana Conte and his twenty-three years. What will be Guinea’s future? Guinea can and must revisit the first question which disappears each time one tries to bring it up.

The future will remember us better as a consequence.

Guest of the week
Lancinet Sangare, journalist with Patriot Radio

Article published in the 19 February 2007 edition.

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