7 Lessons Learned from the Coup in Guinea

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Guinea is no stranger to coup d’etats. There have been three successful coups in the Republic of Guinea and few others attempted coups. On Sunday, September 5th, 2021, Col Mamady Doubouya carried out another successful coup against the government of President Alpha Conde.  After an hour or so of gunfight at the president’s residence, the officers of the National Rally and Development Committee (CNRD) captured the president and took over the state’s power. 

Lessons learned: 

  1. Don’t be a Divisive Leader 
    1. President is considered to be one of the most divisive leaders in Guinea’s history. He used the divide and conquer strategy to turn neighbors against each other. For instance, the tribal conflict and tension or some call it racism was amplified under his rule in Guinea. However, this was done to benefit his quest for power. 
    2. Know when to leave power and don’t outsmart everyone for personal gain or force yourself on the people. 
      1. It can turn ugly. President Conde was three steps ahead of all oppositions until Sunday, September 5th, 2021. He out maneuvered the public and political parties to change the constitution to remain in power. He also outsmarted himself by bringing a man to power who took him out. 
  2. Don’t betray the trust of the people.
    1. The people trusted the president to be a statement like Nelson Mandela but he turned into an ugly dictator who did not entertain much criticism from the opposition. As a former professor of human rights and political prisoner, people expected him to lead with dignity and respect for the rule of law. But, that did not happen. Instead, he manipulated the public opinion and option to change the constitution to allow him to stay in power for the third term. 
  3. Don’t cut the pay of the masses and military officers while increasing your pay. 
    1. People are looking for empathy and leadership, not a greedy boss. In this case, many did not have empathy for president Conde and his regime as they were viewed as greedy politicians who were squandering the state’s resources while the ordinary suffered. 
  4. Don’t increase taxes without proper explanation. 
    1. According to reports, in recent weeks the government has sharply increased taxes to replenish state coffers and raised the price of fuel by 20%, causing widespread frustration.
  5. Don’t trust anybody. 
    1. The president trusted Col Mamady Doubouya  like a son but he took him down. As a leader, you must learn to trust your instinct or intuition.  
  6. Don’t be power drunk. 
    1. Listen to people around you and make good decisions. You should use your power responsibly. Be a leader who brings people together instead of using your power to separate people. 

 

What is the objective of the coup?

To change the system of corruption, mismanagement, economic stagnation, poor leadership and lack of rule of law or to get a few military elites rich while they appease the former colonial power and powerful business interests in Guinea?  

The military will tell you that they will unify the country, stop corruption and promote good leadership and governance. However, the history of coups in Guinea suggest the contrary. Lasagna Conte, Dadis and his team. 

But the coup leader said that they have learned from the past so we are waiting to see what lessons they have learned and how that would benefit the youth of Guinea. 

Check out the video on youtube. CLICK HERE

 

Africa and the Corporate Media. Africans must take lead in presenting their Own Narrative!

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African cannot continue to rely on the western and foreign corporate media to do in-depth unbiased coverage of the continent. At best many of these media institutions do sensational reporting and superficial analysis of events on the continent. They are notorious for doing selective coverages. For instance, they will not provide the same coverage on the conflict in the Congo as they will in other African countries. In short, the conflict in the Congo preserves their interest despite it been one of the deadliest in the world since WWII.

Scholars, students and ordinary people have pointed out the obvious that the corporate and foreign controlled media operating in Africa have continually misrepresented the continent with sensationalized stories on corruption, tribal conflicts, war, hunger, diseases etc. As a result of these negative coverages, it is hard for many to hear about Africa without thinking about one of the stereotypes consciously or unconsciously.

What can Africans do to get fair and balanced representation in the media? A typical pan-African answer would be focused on African promoting their own media outlets and getting their news and entertainment

Sekou Kesselly and team in Grand Kru county, Liberia.

and other contents from their own. This is wonderful but how realistic is it? It is realistic if African are focused on finding their own solutions. No one can better sell Africa to the world than African themselves. Hence, it is unrealistic for African to expect the corporate and foreign media institutions to make honest and in-depth coverage on the continent.

In other words, Africans must make deliberate efforts, such as building a powerful media institution like CNN, BBC or Al Jazeera to change the narrative and set the agenda for news coming out of Africa. If a small country like Qatar can be home to Al-Jazeera, which is widely watched across Africa, Africa can be home to a powerful media institution too. It is not like Africa does not have brilliant and courageous journalists. Neither is the fact that Africans are not consuming media content, quite the contrary. Hence, investing in the media sector that will bring good representation to Africa and African in this Public Relations (PR) driven world would be beneficial to young Africans. Investors will want to come to do business in Africa bringing with them money and employment. So, what is stopping African from investing in the media sector or creating the likes of CNN in Africa by Africans? Building a strong and vibrant African own media brand is just one part of the strategy to fairly represent Africa in the media.

As it is good to own a powerful media brand, it is equally powerful and strategic to educate the masses about the importance of consuming the right information and news on Africa. African leaders, influencers, celebrities, diasporas, students must embark on a tireless journey of educating people about the real Africa not the superficial Africa that has been presented to them in their media. This journey of educating people about the real Africa is part of the process of re-writing the narrative of Africa to reflect its complexities in all dimensions.

Luckily, this can be cheap as there are many social media outlets, such as youtube, facebook etc that give ordinary people the ability to reach a wider audience with original materials. Not surprisingly, some young Africans are taking the liberty to create positive stories about their countries and Africa as a whole. Wode Maya is a youtuber who strives to shed light on developments going on across the continent one country at a time. Although some may view his action as a one-sided narrative or a mere feel-good story about Africa, we should encourage him and others as this is one of the ways to counter centuries of negative reporting on Africa.