The Guinea Coup D'etat - F4ck Alpha Conde
By Abdul Suhood Komeh,
Democracy is not, and never just a theory but the practice of a set of (ideally, written) principles that cannot be changed to suit one person’s or a group’s caprcices and needs.
Democracy is certainly not the symbolism of a sunny day, every four or five years, with throngs of people heading to polling stations.
Those in leadership positions, in fact, have a fundamental responsibility to uphold the rule of law, stick to agreed-on tenets of fairness, for a society to earn the right to describe itself a democracy.
If driven by craven lust for power not given them, a leader(s) choses to run roughshod over the rules, then apologies for the kitchen language, fuck them. Any means that remove them is game.
Politicians cannot rule by ’a la carte democracy’, where they adopt aspects that are advantageous to them and do away with those that restrained their powers. If they are not prepared to govern by democratic consent, they cannot cry when anti-democratic tricks are adopted against them. No.
The principle of saying ’I hate Alpha Condè but against coups is, in my opinion, outdated as far as Africa is concerned - a childish fantasy, even. If he failed to put the systems in place for fair democracy, erodded those that existed, it is because he does not believe in democracy. Which only means he canot deserve our solidarity when treated as he ruled.
Not given a platform in the conversation is that he was the first, outright elected leader of post-indeindependent Guinea. Yet he may as well called himself Sekou Toure of 40 odd years ago - No difference.
Fact: African people have little or no benefit from politics and leadership in the continent. The idea that they should make themselves bulwarks for democracy, provide legitimacy for their starvers and killers, is awfully ridiculous. That (il)logic is reason African leaders see themselves as Gods, as brainless and mindless as they so clearly are.
The army does not exist in a vacuum, or emerged out of thin air. It is made up and shaped by the culture of its place. Matter of fact, in every society, the behaviour of its security forces is a primary indicator of the standard of leadership.
The very army that kicked Alpha Condè out was the same forces he commanded to beat and kill poor Guineans - people he was meant to serve, protect and lead. To seek sympathy from survivors of his cruelty, or insist they come out to defend a mythical democracy is foolishness. So they get killed more, and for nothing?
The reality is, what happened in Guinea this week was not an aberration or the unusual. It is not even iterative but the norm, the predictable child of the continent-wide leadership void - presidents without courage and imagination. And yes, including Sierra Leone too. Unfortunate for those who think otherwise. The blindness cannot be medically diagnosed. Theirs is a social condition, symptomatic of incurable political biases, rather than reasoned patriotism.
Ordinary people get killed by abject political failure across Africa everyday. Just for demanding a say on how they are governed, or policed. The African Union (AU), the body that was created 57 years ago, to advance Human Rights and living standards say or do nothing.
The silence is not a mystery but instructive even without statements: members of the African Union are doing the killing, and not the eternal bogeymen, former colonial powers.
An unspoken pact for shielding each other from accountability is fully established, understood and suitably effected. Meaning not a single leader in the continent - east, west, north and south - can claim a pinch of moral authority to demand better. The least ordinary Africans can do is refuse to play a part in a democratic charade that does not serve them. Or echo hypocritical cries of foul play by the the AU and Ecowas when they are the underwriters of tyranny.
Recently, an African-American man, George Floyd was murdered by police in America. Rightly, there were protests even in Africa. Ghana’s Oxford-educated president, Nana Akufo-Addo got in on what he thought politically-trendy. He released a powerful statement, decrying police brutality on black bodies. Yet continuously, worst crimes are committed by his African colleagues. In those, the articulate brother is steadfast in eloquent silence. Proving that regardless of how educated an African leader, self-interestedness is always the guiding principle.
Alpha Condé himself, was a law professor who grew up in France. His intellect was of no benefit to Guinean progress. Let alone informative of his behaviour in office. So the army kicked him out. Just brilliant. Fuck him.
Until African leaders learn to make citizens central to their governance, there should be no idealistic intervention on their behalf, by the same publics they humiliate with violence and degradation. Democracy is a contract between the electorate and the elected. You cannot privilege one over the other and expect to be considered a democracy.