A few days ago I found out about the twist in events in Guinea in the last two months or so.
Guinea is the west African country which I only heard about when living in Liberia, but it stood in contrast to Liberia in that it was relatively stable, during the latter part of the 20th century. Liberia had years of war, while Guinea was dominated by Lansana Conte. Oddly enough, however, even though Guinea had been stable compared to Liberia, there were still serious problems with power shortages and other basic necessities, meaning it was not that much ahead of Liberia developmentally. This apparently was due to the corruption or mismanagement of the Lansana Conte regime.
Then in 2008, Conte, died, and a military regime took over power. They seemed promising at first, pledging to hold civilian elections, but as time wore on, the military group under Captain Moussa Camara grew more and more restrictive and controlling. Human rights abuses became more widespread. Then in late September there was an incident in which the military killed a large number of civilians in what some have called a massacre- an armed attack on a peaceful pro-democracy rally. Women were maliciously violated and raped in the aftermath.
Now a man who media has described as “a top aide” shot Camara in an attempted assassination. This may have changed the picture considerably, as Camara has basically been incapacitated- he seems to no longer be fit to govern. In this news article, from Burkina Faso, Camara now says he supports a transition to democracy and that he will not run in future elections.
According to this news article, a member of the opposition has become the Prime Minister, and elections are to be held within six months.
The question now is whether the deputy of Camara, General Konate, will do what he says and let go of power to allow elections to take place.
In any event, the events of the last month have potentially opened the door for change in Guinea’s story, as Camara has been sidelined, and the pro- democracy movement appears to have gained more power. Or is that an illusion? Let’s hope that it works out for the best- I’m sure the Guineans could use a service oriented civilian government to improve livelihoods and conditions in the country.