The Guinea Massacre: A lesson for African leaders

20 October 2009 at 05:48 | 739 views

By Ibrahim Mansaray, Stocton, USA.

An old friend of mine at Njala University College, Alphan Tajawie, once told me that there is a thin line separating military regimes and brutality.

Well, recent events spiraling out of Guinea are a clear manifestation of the junta’s barbarity against civilians and a testimony to my friend’s assertion. As a student of history, I am not flabbergasted by the butchery of civilians by idiotic and incompetent soldiers in Guinea.

In the blody past, the former military leader of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings, executed scores of top military brass when he staged his coup; Blaise Campaore of Burkina Faso slaughtered his best friend, Thomas Sankara, and close colleagues; Master Sergeant Samuel Doe of Liberia massacred his opponents while General Sani Abacha assassinated top officers of the military class and writer Ken Saro Wiwa. All these killings were geared towards consolidation of power. I firmly believe those days of killing are gone and now they are inexcusable.

The photos of civilians killed and defenseless women raped on the internet, are shocking and disgraceful. It is beyond doubt that the top military brass are guilty of committing crimes against humanity.

In the first place, it shows that the lesson President Obama delivered in Ghana about tolerance and democracy has not sunk into the minds and brains of some of our African leaders. Do some of our African leaders think the world will just sit and allow them to rule at their own will? Do these leaders think everybody should support all their policies even when they are at the detriment of the populace?

The decision of the International Criminal Court to investigate the incident is overwhelmingly welcome news. The trial of the perpetrators should be a lesson to all African leaders as views of the opposition should not be treated and met with excessive force. The junta in Guinea must be taught a lesson. The excruciating deaths experienced by Guineans should be the focal point on which all crimes committed against humanity should be built on.

The behavior of Dadis Kamara should be a warning to my country, Sierra Leone and the president in particular. In my last article about Yenga, I personally advised the president to take the Yenga issue to the international court. If Dadis Kamara can wreak havoc and calamity on his own citizens in Guinea, what else can he not do on the people of Yenga? If the crocrodile can eat his own eggs, what will he not do to the flesh of the lizard?

From the looks of Dadis Kamara, he aappears to be naïve, incompetent and primitive. Initially, he promised conducting free and fair elections with no military ministers vying, then, in less than four months he started changing the language of his intentions, a typical characteristic of military dictators.

The resignation of some civilian ministers a few days ago is an excellent move. Firstly, it shows that there are some politicians with principles in Africa who can still stand for their values. The civilian ministers should resign enmasse.

The European Union has played a ‘big brother’ role in the affair. The idea of investigating those found wanting will surely bring Dadis to book.

Shamefully, the African Union or Economic Community Of West African States(ECOWAS) should have taken the leading role in attacking Dadis Kamara but did not. The gesture of ECOWAS in appointing Blaise Campaore of Burkina Fasso to mediate between the junta and political parties is a complete mockery of common sense.

Did ECOWAS think twice before appointing Blaise Campaore to mediate in the fracas? Is Blaise Campaore a model of democracy? Didn’t Blaise Campaore kill his own best friend ,Thomas Sankara, before ascending the throne in Burkina Faso? Is democracy flourishing in Burkina Faso? Was Blaise Campaore not mentioned in all the rebel atrocities in Sierra Leone and Liberia respectively? What an irony.

Thankfully, the western powers are once more digging deeply into this massacre. Had it not been for the West, the whole issue would have been a matter for talking shops and talking heads in Abuja and Addis Ababa.

Some of our African leaders are yet to learn from the mistakes of Charles Taylor, Bashir of Sudan, and some still continue to commit the same mistakes. Are these not bitter lessons to be learnt?

Well, I now totally agree with my old friend’s view that the line between barbarity and military juntas is really thin.