President Bio pallys with Guinean coup leaders in violation of the spirit of ECOWAS resolution

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 October 2021:

As President Bio of Sierra Leone who was democratically elected by the people of Sierra Leone in 2018 after he was branded “a brutal military junta leader” following the extra-judicial killing of dozens of people in 1992 in a coup d’état that brought down an elected government, visited Guinea Conakry on Monday 11th October 2021, he is today being accused of “displaying his military junta credentials” by fraternalizing with the military leaders in Guinea who themselves recently toppled an elected president.

“President Bio is like a leopard that cannot change its spots,” says one commentator. “He cannot be trusted.”

So, what is wrong with president Bio visiting the Guinean military coup leaders, and what are the ramifications for ECOWAS?

Critics of president Bio say that by visiting the Guinean coup leaders, president Bio is violating the spirit of sanctions and executive orders imposed by ECOWAS leaders against the Guinean coup leaders and their junta government.

But according to a Sierra Leone government spokesman, president Bio visited Guinea  “to follow-up on the ECOWAS protocol and formalities.”

But the ECOWAS leaders did not appoint president Bio to go on such follow-up mission. They have an appointed standing mission that is led by former president of Nigeria – Jonathan Goodluck.

So, is president Bio undermining the authority of his fellow ECOWAS leaders by visiting the Guinean coup leaders?

“The visit was also a way to show Guineans that Sierra Leone is a sister country that will always help when there is the need to do so,” says the Sierra Leone government official.

President Bio’s visit to Guinea comes as the international community are finding ways – including sanctions to pressure the Guinean coup leaders to respect human rights and democratic order. They are also calling for the coup leaders to hand-over power to a civilian administration to prepare for elections.

President Bio is reported to have been accompanied by the Sierra Leonean Speaker of the House of Parliament – Dr Abass Bundu, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation – Professor David John Francis, Deputy Minister of Defence – Colonel (Rtd) Muana Brima Massaquoi, Chief of Defence Staff – Lieutenant General Sullay I. Sesay.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with the Guinean coup leaders as a show of solidarity, president Bio “expressed the need to reciprocate the sacrifice Guinea made for Sierra Leone during its turmoil of 11 years civil war.”

He told the Guinean coup leaders: “I was a soldier when the war started in my country, and I saw first-hand what the Guinean people and army did for us. It is time to give back at this time which is the purpose of being here.”

But what can president Bio offer the Guinean coup leaders apart from moral support, military boots on the ground and logistic support?

Sierra Leone is one of the poorest nations in the region and its economy is in decline, with most people in the country struggling to make ends meet, as food prices continue to rise.

In response to president Bio’s promise of solidarity with the coup leaders, president Mamady Doumbouya of Guinea is reported to have expressed gratitude for Bio’s visit.

“Being the first President to make such visit since we took over governance, tells it all. We appreciate”, President Doumbouya told Bio.

According to government official report: “President Bio stole the show when he gave a fist bump to President Dounbouya. Journalists present were not able to resist their composure but applauded the gesture.”

Supporters of president Bio are defending his decison to visit the coup leaders in Guinea. They say that it shows president Bio is putting the interest of his country above regional cohesion and solidarity against militarty coup leaders.

But president Bio’s fraternal visit to the Guinean coup  leaders will not go down well with the international community, especially West African leaders who are hoping that by tightening the noose  around the coup leaders, they can convince the coup leaders to quickly return the country to democratic order.

13 Comments

  1. Mr Sahr Matturi, even though as you say you no longer refer to the Bio administration as a Kakistocracy, I still think it is a very useful term. What I find particularly attractive about the word is its appropriateness in designating the exercise of political power by security forces in a given modern, supposedly democratic, African state such as ours. Of course, as you rightly note, the word means basically governance of a state by the most unsuitable and the most incompetent of its citizens, civilians and security forces alike.

    However, the word shares phonic properties with another word – ‘khaki’, that light-brown clothing reminiscent of our British colonial past and normally associated with, among other things, elements of our country’s security forces including the chiefdom police. ‘Khakistocracy’ could be construed then as governance by rogue elements of our security forces. These are forces that lack training and experience in matters of governance but have the temerity to impose themselves on the country as its political administrators. The leaderships of both the NPRC and the AFRC regimes are in this sense part and parcel of the history of k(h)akistocracy in our country.

  2. Thank you President Bio for your wonderful visit to the new leader of the Republic of Guinea, you have shown a great leadership to the entire world and, how a braved leader should act quickly without hesitation. Ladies and gentlemen, these two great leaders have common language to speak without involving an interpreter” a special military language” no French neither English. I personally congratulate the Lieutenant Colonel” H.E. Mamadi Doumbouya”, the current leader and president of the Republic of Guinea, may God guide and protects him. I wish he work with mandate, as he promised to hand over power to civilian rule after being liberated the country from dictatorship. Mr. Doumbouya, sacrificed and risks his own life and thousands lives to liberate the Guineans. The Guineans were suffering under President Conde, like if they are North Koreans.

    How dare you for a one man to have over 50 houses under Conde’s gov’t? 43 Villas, 57 Buildings, 7 Hotels, 18 Luxurious Cars – See The Tall List Of Properties Owned By Defense Minister Of Guinea Who Has Allegedly Stolen Over $1.3bn from the State. Among the many properties seized was US$60million in cash hidden in the lawmaker’s basement. A statement released by the junta announced that investigations are ongoing to apprehend anyone found guilty of stealing from the purse of Guinea. “We are delivering here the dossier that we have just completed on the case of the former Minister of Defense and in charge of presidential affairs, Doctor Mohamed Diané,” part of the statement read.

    READ ALSO: ‘Vawulence’ As Kwaku Manu Fights Nkonkonsa For Claiming He Cheated On His Wife – Rains Curses On Him. Below is the full list of properties seized by Mamady Doumbouya from Dr Mohamed Diané, the Defence Minister of Guinea.
    1. $60 million (600 billion Guinean francs) cash collected in the cellar of his home
    2. 75.8 kg of 22-karat gold worth nearly 40 billion Guinean francs
    3. 17 2-carat diamonds worth nearly 10 billion Guinean francs
    4. 47 villas between the Camayenne district and Kagbélén.
    5. 53 buildings: including 35 in Conakry, 4 in Kindia, 7 in Kankan, 3 in Labé, 4 in N’Zérékoré.
    6. 18 new luxury cars
    7. 75 bare plots in Conakry.
    8. 200 hectares in Dubréka
    9. 1500 hectares in Forécariah
    10. 2000 hectares in Kankan
    11. 7 hotels
    12. 25 bread ovens
    13. 7 bottled water production plants
    14. 16 poultry farms with more than 2 million chicks in total.

    The total of all these properties according to reports is over $1.2 billion, If anyone who is with his/her 5 senses completely ,would never gets mad or angry for the removal of “Alpha Conde” the deposed president of Guinea. I traveled to Guinea Conakry and and witnessed the remarkable how happy they are. The fullas, soso, mandingos from his own tribe and the others. Again, thank you president Bio for your quick action.

  3. Mr Yillah, I totally agree with you.Coups always produced counter coups. The military should never get involved in national politics. We all know how newly independent African states were plunged in to endless coups and counter coups. Exacerbated by the Cold war between East and West. With lot of blood letting , the effects of which are still with us today. The assassinations of Patrice Lumumba, in the DRC, by forces royal to Mubutu, in 1960s just after that country gained it independence from Belgium, laid the foundations stones of national calamity that still happer that country’s search for peace today. The assassinations of the first primer minister of Nigeria Abubakar Tafawa Belewa, and most of the Housa Fulani Northern Leadership, by General Irionsi in 1966 and the subsequent counter coup, led to the Biafra civil war in which over a million Nigerians lost their lives. The overthrow of Dr Kawmeh Nkrumah of Ghana in 1966,.

    The 1980 Master Sergeant Samuel K Doe’s overthrow of William Tolbert and the beach front executions of thirteenth of his ministers, including Tolbert’s brother, who was married to a relative of the then Ivorian leader,. And the 1985 coup led by Thomas Quiwonpa with the support of Momoh’s government, and was brutally suppressed by Doe’s Kran members of the Armed forces of Liberia in which General Quiwonpa was cannibalised, a friend of Charles Taylor, led to the 1989 NPLF incursion to Liberia. .And our own very first coup in Sierra Leone in 1967, after the APC led by Saika Stevens, and the then sitting SLPP government led by sir Albert Margai contested the disputed elections of that year. Brigedia David Lansana decided to take ove the reins of government, because he didn’t wanted Stevens to be sworn in as the new Prime minister,. After the elections resuts clearly showed Stevens of the APC party, won the election. And for us the seeds of division was sowed from that day onwards. Prime Minister Stevens in the seventies was very warily of an other attempt to remove him from power.

    Hence the executions of Brigadier John Amadu Bangura the man who performed a counter coup and handed over power to Stevens, because he wanted to right the wrong against Stevens. He was later executed by Stevens himself. The only executions that Stevens seemed to have registered a regret for, was that of fomer Vice President Minah. He warned President Momoh about ordering the execution. Others who were caught up in the wave of coups conspiracies in the 70s, were either excecuted or sent to long prison sentences. One such person is copral Foday Sankoh. Now we can debate about how effective are military intervention, on blance they are not good for democracy. With few exception. Thomas Sankara, and Flt. Jerry Rawlings. Although some Ghanaians that lost family members might disagree with me. One would also argued, when you have civilian dictatorship, that abused their country’s constitution, and make themselves President for life, how do you remove such individuals from power without mother nature taking it course, till death do us part or we go for the least possible available options the Military? For democracy to work, we have to follow the rules we as a nation agreed upon and is written in black and white, the constitution of our countries. A peaceful transfer of power is the pinnacle of a democracy at work for the people that wants to make it work.

  4. Mr Yillah the only way we can avoid miltray interventions that are presently actiing like wrecking balls on our young democracies, is for the elected civilian leaders to able to diliver on their manifesto promises they ran on. And most importantly, follow the constitutional order as written in our country’s constitution. In other words, the constitution of each and every country in the world is the main pillars that holds a country together. No president or political leaders should undermine their country’s constitution and expect anything different from what happened in Guinea. For example, in the United States, the right to owe a fire armed is embedded in the constitution by the founding fathers. When ever there is mass shootings,citizens from the rest of the world often wonder why can’t the US government ban the use of guns by crazed individuals. But the NRA and those same crazies are the first to point out, about their right to bare arms, because is written in the US constitution.

    The constitution of Sierra-leone is a good example. If Bio and everyone in the country follows it through the letter of the law, our country’s fortune will change overnight.The RUF wars, corruption, tribalism and regionalism will never have happened. There are provisions in the Sierra Leone constitution that protect every single person in the country. The executive, legislative and judiciary are all separate. Each branch of government acting independently of each other in other to protect the excess of the abuses of powers man is capable of rendering to each other. In the absence of every public officials failing to obey the constitution, by trying to undermined the other branches of government, the military though not written in the constitution, see themselves as the last best hope to restore some sanity, to prevent the country from falling apart. Until our elected civilians stop abusing the offices they are elected to, and knows power given to them, ultimately rest with the civilians population, that they are accountable to the ordinary citizens, we will always be faced military upheavals.

    The right to free speech, the right to life, the right to family life, security, a free press, the right to assembly, the right to be treated fairly in respective of your tribal, regional status, and laws that protect the state against taking up arms against the state.And also laws against corruption.A two terms limits to the presidency.When this comes under threat from would be dictators, either the Civilian population will come out in the streets and demand a change of government. Failing which the men with guns will force you out. The Arab spring, Romania in 1989, even our own stop the war coalition, and Liberian women dressed in white turning up in the Streets demanding an end to the brutal civil wars that plagued our countrys in the 90s.

  5. The points you have made are, as always, beyond question, Mr Jalloh. They are entirely valid, cogently and concisely put. Like it or not, our country’s destiny, stability and progress are inseparable from Guinea’s, and a good rapport between the political leaderships of two countries whose histories and cultures are so intricately interwoven is of utmost importance. And as you rightly state, Lieutenant-Colonel Doumbouya seems to have extremely good intentions epitomised by his appointment of a relation of one of Guinea’s, indeed Africa’s most brilliant sons as prime minister. That appointment gestures explicitly towards national unity and cohesion that Alpha Condé while in office invariably sought to destroy by way of an aggressive, abhorrent, ethnicized political rhetoric. Things may indeed turn out well for Guinea through the Lieutenant-Colonel’s leadership.

    And yet you never know what is around the corner when coupists are in power. What if we wake up one morning and find to our dismay that just as he violently brushed aside Alpha Condé, the colonel has himself been relieved of his presidential duties? A new period of uncertainty and turbulence most certainly. It is the uncertainty and the turbulence inherent in coups and in the political dispensations they put in place that really worry me. Remember what befell Dadis Camara. Or what if a couple of years down the road the initial good intentions of the new Guinean strongman metamorphose into something else? Remember Lansana Conté, who ruled for well over two decades.

    So, for all the divisions and varying national self-interests that mar the operations of ECOWAS, it is perhaps our only hope of nipping future coups in the bud in the subregion, or if the coups do in fact occur, of then pressurizing their authors to return quickly to their barracks. If many Latin American countries today have somehow found a way out of military dictatorships, our subregion surely can too. It can do so through the concerted efforts of its member states in combination with those of like-minded international stake holders. If our countries learn to tailor their individual interests for the greater good of the wider subregional community, then coups – a wider, subregional concern – can indeed become a thing of the past.

  6. If I can use the Sierra Leone analogy of our neighbors and families. The Krio says – “GUD NEBA BETTEH PAS FARWAY FAMBUL”.

    • Maybe. Yet although much far away from us than Guinea, Nigeria played none the less an equally important role in our civil war. Anyway, to my mind, the countries that make up ECOWAS are not some strange, faraway places. Like Guinea and Liberia, the other countries are us. A coup in any one of them should concern all all of them. We are talking here of a contagion, capable of reaching beyond national boundaries and of thus disrupting the internal social and political structures and dynamics of every nation.

      Indeed these nations are all fragile democracies, almost always on the brink of falling apart. None has the inbuilt capacity to survive on its own nor can any two cut themselves off from the rest and believe they can resist the malady of military dictatorships. And if coups are a solution – and there have been coups without number in the subregion – can we honesty say that they have made a difference to our lives?

      One could cite Senegal as an exception. And yet without France’s uninterrupted military presence there from independence to date, the story or that West African haven of political stability might be entirely different. In any case, a haven It is, but one that is under French neo-colonial eyes.

  7. Upon thorough assessment and reasoning, the visitation of president Bio to the new Guinean military leader against the backdrop of ECOWAS resolution is nothing but a deceptive ploy born out of sheer jitteriness within the Bio’s regime. In cognizant of his untenable regime at home, when the Guinean coup takes place, Bio’s government were among the first in the subregion to denounce it.

    As a key player in the subregion and AU in general, never was it reported that Bio was advocating for the military coup or even rationalizing why the coup takes place. Among the west African leaders who attended Accra to deliberate the Guinean coup, George Weah of Liberia, was among those reported to have rationalize the coup, pointing out at ECOWAS failures to take actions that could have avoided such predicaments. Bio on the other hand was either silence or among the bunch of hypocrites.

    So it’s ironical for Bio to suddenly change course, after realizing the Guinean coup leader has solidify his take over, making him a force to reckon with in the subregion. By all indications, the move is an opportunistic one. Nonetheless, the new Guinean military leader is no fool. He pretty much understands politics in the subregion and knows the game Bio is trying to play. So let’s sit back and enjoy the movie.

  8. When it comes to ECOWAS, the community of west African states have never spoken with one voice. Each country in the regional block knows where their interest lies. And there are many hidden competing interests, that always seems to cancel out each other. And when we talk of common interest, there is no other country in the region that is so close to us both in terms of proximity, ethnicity, and economic interests like trade and the movement of people and goods. Looking at the Map, Sierra-leone is literally hugged by Guinea. Figuratively speaking like , how a mother Kangaroo carrys it young in its bosom . Yes it was this historical biblical cord that have served both our countries for generations so well, that Alpha Conde wanted to rupture and discard for political brinkmanship, by claiming part of Sierra-Leonean territory in Yenga and the most outlandish claim of all, elections interference by vice President Julldeh Jalloh, and training of Guinean nationals to destabilise his dictatorship.

    What Bio alluded to in discribing our shared common interests is the fact, Guinea, Conakry have always played host to our fallen leaders. Saika Stevens after the 1967 disputed elections. The 1970s and 1980s, when Sekue Turae dispatched Guinean troops to help quelled students riots and propped up the Stevens government. After their forceful removal from office, a well trodden route to Conakry has become and remains the first port of call for our fallen leaders. Momoh, Strasser and , Kabbah went through the same baptism of fire. Bio is following a long trail of political you scrub my back and I scrub your back and hedging his Betts that Col. Dumbounya might turn out to be less controversial than president Conde that was seeing conspirators against his regime both within and some made up ones outside the country. His regime adopted a self isolationist policy, which ultimately works towards his down fall.

    Since coming to power, and despite the controversy it has attracted, the Colonel have made few positive decisions, by releasing political prisoners, and appointing a relative of Daillo Taille the first Secretary General of the organisation of African unity, as the prime minister to head a transitional government of national unity, until elections are held. And most importantly of all, he has promised he and his fellow junta leadership will not be taking part in those elections. On this one we will give Bio a green pass.

  9. You are right Mr Matturi. ECOWAS so far cannot do much about the political situation in Guinea. It is a toothless bulldog; it barks but cannot bite. Does it then mean that might is right, and that the sweet taste of permanent democratic governance remains fatalistically beyond the reach of the peoples of our subregion? Until we work out a way to make military rule completely unviable, there is no guarantee that what has happened in Guinea and Mali will not be repeated elsewhere in the subregion including our own country.

    Ambitious men in uniform elsewhere in the subregion are watching closely, ready to pounce, believing that military rule is once again the norm. It is a case of taking one political step forward only to take two backwards. A stable Guinea, one of our closest neighbours, is of course very good for our country. Yet, are we sure Colonel Doumbouya’s rule is synonymous with stability for Guinea and for us? The problem with coups is that they may lead to other coups. They are indeed a recipe for political uncertainty and turbulence.

    As regards Guinea possessing militarily a ‘force de frappe extraordinaire’ and its being relatively strong economically given its vast mineral resources and its autonomous financial status within the subregion, it would still be one country against over a dozen other countries if ECOWAS, in concert with international stakeholders, were to put collective pressure on its leadership. Such collective pressure when brought to bear on the economic/financial and other interests of the new Kakistocracy (to borrow one of your wonderful lexical inventions, Mr Matturi), might help quicken the pace of a return to democratic rule. Indeed such pressure might galvanise democratic forces within the country itself, making prolonged military rule untenable. We all know that in our country, our own Kakistocracy – the NPRC – was forced to relinquish power in 1996 in the face of sustained pressure, generated both internally and externally. Our subregion cannot simply afford to look away when military coups rear their ugly heads. A way must be found to throw them into the dustbin of history.

    • You are perfectly right, Mr Dauda Yillah. The allied forces defeated Hitler. So, Guinea is no match if the international community decides to join forces to pressure the Guinean regime to return the country to civilian rule. Guinea is no match for the international community and must return to a civilian government as soon as possible. I stopped calling President Bio’s regime kakistocracy because he publicy told us that he is not bothered about appointing the right people in the right place. Kakistrocay are people who don’t have a clue on what they are doing or simply novice). He can appoint anyone he feels he can co-operate with. If I continue, then I will become a nuisance.

      By the way, your comment made me laugh because it took me completely off guard. I have to comment to make things clear. As I always say, this platform is full of special agents. A few weeks back. Young4Na break into my firewall by asking if I’m on the campaign trail for chief Sam Sumana. I tried to do so under the radar, but Young4Na noticed my strategy and interrogated my intentions. So, be careful, ladies and gentlemen, on what you write on this glorious platform. You can’t hide without being noticed. God bless Mr Dauda, young4Na and the Republic of Guinea.

  10. Attention mesdames et messieurs. La Guinee a en vrai force de frappe militaire extraordinaire. ECOWAS and President Bio understands that. Le CEDEAO pauve rien. President Bio did the right thing, and I don’t believe he would like to see Guinea plunge into chaos due to any sanctions that will spill over to Sierra Leone. Personally, I don’t see any sanctions that ECOWAS could put against Guinea that could work. None of the players in the bauxite mining sector will encourage any sanctions against Guinea. Also, Guinea is not a member of the ECOWAS currency zone and is not dependent on the ECOWAS regional trade. Unlike Mali, it is not a closed country. The decision to meet with the Guinean leader is one of President Bio’s best decisions since he came to power. ECOWAS has their interest, but President Bio has his country’s interest too.

    I’m delighted that President Bio has left the ECOWAS barking spree and try to put his country’s interest first. Also, the Guineans are our brothers and sisters. They helped us during our long brutal civil war. So we should do everything to help them. Even if we defy, ECOWAS, as President Bio has done, does not matter. Again, President Bio has done the right thing, and he deserves praise. However, I don’t want President to win in 2023 because of the missed opportunity to unite the country when he took office.

    He started very well in trying to unite the country but moved away from that noble path. Anyway, he deserves praise and respect when he does the right thing, especially in meeting with the Guinean President. PERIOD! God bless the co-operation between Sierra Leone and Guinea. God bless President Bio and President Mammady Dounbouya. Solidarite ce la vie.

  11. Birds of a feather as the proverb goes, flock together. Indeed, once a coupist – a two-time coupist at that – always a coupist, a two-time coupist for that matter. It is wishful thinking to entertain the idea that President Bio with his NPRC credentials will resist the urge of being true to his nature and refrain as a result from embracing a fellow comrade in arms, who like he himself once did, has chosen to transgress his station in life as an army officer bound by his calling to defend his nation, opting as a matter of fact to take the reins of political power undemocratically.

    Remember just a couple of months ago President Bio was pontificating about the return of democracy and rule of law in neighbouring Mali, in full consonance at the time with the position of fellow ECOWAS leaders. What makes the situation in Guinea different then? It is simply that chameleon-like, President Bio changes his political convictions and the actions that flow from them in accordance with what serves him best at a given point in time. In other words, he believes in nothing, certainly not in the principle and practice of democracy. The only thing that counts is raw power – acquired democratically if that is what it takes, or by brute force if need be. Some call this tergiversation of his as a mark of his political astuteness – his grasp of realpolitik. I call it an instance of his abject political immoralism, not to say cynicism.

Tell us about your views

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.