Still On the Coup in Guinea and Democratic Rule
By Khadijat Abdulmalik
I read with interest the editorial of Daily Trust of September 14, 2021 on the recent coup in Guinea.
The ouster of President Alpha Conde 83 years old was greeted by celebration on the streets after he was overthrown in a coup d’etat by officers of the elite Army Special Forces unit led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya.
Surprisingly, the coup was quickly endorsed by the opposition leader, Cellou Dalein Diallo. The citizens too were seen jubilating and chanting ‘freedom’ as the Guinea junta drove Conde round the Guinean Conakry, demonstrating his rejection by Guineans.
As observed by Daily Trust, Colonel Doumbouya made series of pronouncements, invoking the failure of the ousted elite to promote the welfare of the people and promising redemption. He pledged a “national union” government soon. He also dissolved the county’s elected government and suspended the nation’s constitution. He also gave an assurance of calm to the vital mining sector.
I quite agree with the editorial the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), ECOWAS and their member nations should be more forceful in condemning anti-democratic tendencies of leaders and not hide under the cover of non-interference in countries’ internal affairs.
We have come to realise that those regional and international bodies only came out to condemn such unconstitutional overthrows of government but would not condem the same governments for unethical practices and the breaches of the Constitution.
We are aware that democracy is ruled by the constitution and reign of civil laws which are reasonably justifiable in a democratic society with civilian exercising all legislative, executive and judicial powers. Military rule on the other hands means the suspension of the constitution and imposition of martial law with the military exercising all legislative, executive and sometimes judicial powers as the case may be.
Just as Daily Trust noted, in the run-up to the third term election in Guinea, their condemnation was at best feeble. I strongly agree that governments and other regional bodies should withdraw support for any leader working to subvert democracy.
As we all know that democracy is a system of government in which power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or through freely elected representatives. Such representatives should ensure check and balance and oversight functions.
Meanwhile, while I agree that democratic government is better than military rule, the elected representatives should strive at protecting the interest of citizens through popular participation and constructive engagements.
My question is: What could be the alternative in a state where the elected representatives and other figures in a democratic government failed their statutory responsibilities in addressing the yearning of their people?
Should they wait endless for the end of a long tenures for another election that could be rigged or changed the constitution for perpetuity in office?
Wuse Zone 5 Abuja