Sekou Touré haunting Guinea
When a society has sustained an economic surplus or excess of resources, people are theorised to have a predisposition to create an uneven distribution, manifesting social hierarchies…’ creating more divisive… more aggressive groups… plagued with jingoism and bigotry…
Peter Joseph (2017, 41)
Sekou Touré is still alive in Guinea and the jinx must be broken to save Guinea from Malinké/Mandingo – Soussou inferno. From SekouTouré to Lansana Conté, through Dadis Camara, Sekouba Konaté to Alpha Condé to current Mamady Doumbouya the whole Guinea seems to be in captivity, in the hands of the same people – Mandigo/Soussou. The bigotry of this group is what needed to be checked to establish a true nation or republic in Guinea. Since March 1984 when Sekou Touré transited at the age of 62, Guinea had rarely seen progress.
The paradox, here, that could baffle Nigerians is that out of about 13 million people in Guinea, the Fulanis/PeulhFula are in majority, over 40% of the population, the most educated and the most oppressed as well as the most civilised in seeking a peaceful way to take over power, symbolised by Celloun Diallo. In Nigeria it is Jalo. Somehow you wonder if they are the same people you see in Nigeria.
Sekou Touré like some Northern elite in Nigeria had thought that modern development is not necessary unless you empower or train your own group – nepotistic and jingoistic group – to be in charge of the process as other groups could be seen as “barawo” or “unpersons” – George Orwell referred. Indeed to Sekou Touré, it is better to be poor and remain free than to be rich and be controlled by the imperialists – the West.
Quite a paradox as Guinea sits on a great reserve of Iron-ore, bauxite, and diamond exploited by the same group officially and unofficially as different heads of state come; and, so, from the same group distributing unevenly the Guinean ‘fools paradise excess resources’ as they like. General Sekouba who handed over power to Alpha Condé is reported to be enjoying his loots in Senegal and remains a good ally of one of the foreign exploiters of the Guinean resources and, unfortunately, the suspended sentenced former president of France – Nicolas Sarkozy – the man who also swindled and led the extermination of Khadaffi, has also led the deposition of Alpha Condé, claiming he was in Guinea (August 8) to settle a disagreement between the deposed president and one of the foreign exploiters of Guinea’s resources, financier of mining sites employing Mandigos.
Sekou Touré and General Lansana Conté were very friendly with the Russians and they so much so believed them than other exploiters and had remained in touch with them since 1958 when Guinea conducted a referendum to bluntly tell General Charles de Gaulle of France that they did not want France in Guinea any more. Alpha Condé as the second civilian to rule Guinea (forget General Lausana Conté civil rule) reversed the situation and recalled France back to Guinea for a partial capitalist “renouveau” and the Guineans seem to resent it with another paradox of allowing a “rejected” Guinean – French soldiers to overthrow his own protector.
Guineans trooped to the street to welcome Alpha Condé’s enabled rejected soldier turned Lt. Colonel in Guinea to take over realms of Guinean resource distribution because it is the same Mandigo-Soussou connection. From the west of Guinea, Senegal, and Guinea Bissau, with their Fula/Peulh/Fulani population intersecting those in Guinea find relief in the new person expecting, indeed, a friendly collaboration with the man towards mainstreaming or including them in the Guinean politics. From the east and north of Guinea the hegemonic group flowing into Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Mali, the Mandigo – Soussou group, ever stable in their mining business remain vigilant. The surprise is that you also see them in Nigerian mining sites as if they align better with the Nigerian Fulanis than other Nigerians.
The Mandigo/Mandika/Soussou were factors in the destabilisation, once noticed, in Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and Liberia – all, borders with Guinea. Informal mining sites are their preferred ground for preying on others. And one could not also lose sight of what they could do in Nigeria with vast mining sites and, surprisingly the deposed Alpha Condé was, not too far distant, with the Governor of Kano as an august visitor, for days, either to fraternise with them or to rekindle the marabout connection they share.
Nigeria must wake up to the challenge of the ravaging inferno of this group so as to avoid another ECOMOG or ECOMIL because, in the mining fields, the exploiters know how to ward off prying eyes of constituted governments by instigating constant banditry acts around the sites as mere diversionary tactics. A corporal Sankoh did it in Sierra Leone; the combined groups of Yakouba, Mandigo, Krus did it in Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire. Let them not spill it to Burkina Faso and other countries of West Africa. Even Côte d’Ivoire is still afraid of such invasion as attempts by Alasane Ouattara to pacify them is not yielding results.
Time for ECOWAS to act is now to stop further any military usurpation of power otherwise West Africa could be a bigger Congo Democratic to subject to ruin than the world had known Congo DR, still a wealthy geologic site on continuous preying and ravaging mission of the exploiters.
Just like the great grandfather of Sekou Touré, remained a figure, the Mandigosrever, known as Almamy Samory Touré who led his people to war either as a Jihadist or in defiance of the West, they still see his ghost as their ultimate messiah. It is high time such a thinking pattern was banished for Africa to progress. Mamady Doumbouya is not welcome.
Ariole is a Professor of French and Francophone Studies at, University of Lagos.