CONTROVERSIAL GUINEAN PRESIDENT OUSTED BY MILITARY
On Sunday 5 September, Guinean special forces soldiers ousted and detained Guinean President Alpha Condé and several other politicians, taking control of the government in the country’s capital Conakry. Coup leader Mamady Doumbouya announced the dissolution of the current government, invalidation of the constitution, temporary closure of borders, and a nationwide curfew. After being summoned by Doumbouya, some members of the dissolved cabinet and top officials gathered in parliament on Monday [6 September], where the junta promised to set up a transitional government of national unity. The international community, including the West African regional bloc ECOWAS, condemned the developments and threatened sanctions if the president was not released and there was not a return to constitutional order. However, many Guineans have celebrated the removal of the controversial long-time leader. The West African nation has seen unrest since Mr Condé organised a referendum last year to modify the constitution, allowing him to win the disputed October election for a third consecutive term. Although revered for becoming Guinea’s first democratically elected leader in 2010, Mr Condé has been criticised for continuing Guinea’s legacy of corruption, violently suppressing opposition, and failing to improve the lives of Guineans, most of whom live in poverty despite the country’s vast resources, including bauxite. Doumbouya, the head of the security forces, maintains that he is acting in the interests of the people, but sceptics question his motives, whether they may have been influenced by a recent proposal to cut some military salaries. The former French colony has a long history of military takeovers, and Sunday’s putsch has raised concern about a return to military rule in a region that has made advances towards multi-party democracy since the 1990s. Guinea became the third West and Central African country to experience a violent transfer of power in the last five months.
FROM A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE
|POPULATION:||± 13.4 MILLION||CHRISTIAN:||4.19%|
|UNREACHED GROUPS:||30 (87% of pop.)|
While Guinea is not ranked in the top 50 countries on the World Watch List, it is one of Open Doors’ “persecution watch” countries, due to incidents of societal persecution of Christians. During the unrest and violent clashes that escalated since the recent controversial elections, Christians and churches were also targets of violence. It is uncertain about the root of the violence towards them, which included burning down some churches, but it points to the general volatile position of many Christians in this Muslim-majority country. Being in the minority, Christians can also feel isolated, especially in small villages, where Christians finding disfavour with the elders and community members can be barred from access to resources and trading opportunities. However, they are the privileged few who can testify of the hope not found in this world but in Christ, their Saviour. In a country disillusioned with the current leader, the coup d’etat has led to a popular hope that the new leadership will result in better governance and improved standards of living. Some interviewed Guineans shared how they felt “free”. While we know from Scripture that God can move leaders who do not profess to follow Him (e.g. Cyrus), to act righteously and we know He also hears the people’s cry for justice and an upright leader. However, we also know that it is futile to pour all one’s hope into worldly leaders, since all humans will fail at some point to live up to good intentions, even those enshrined in worldly constructs, such as constitutions and declarations of international standards. The Global Church can pray for Guinea to be blessed with good governance, but more importantly for “the sheep without a shepherd” to place their trust in the only truly trustworthy and righteous leader, Jesus Christ. Guinean believers have the opportunity to point the lost to the Good Shepherd, who truly has their best interests at heart and can set them eternally free.
Please pray with us for the following:
- For leaders with integrity and godly values to govern Guinea (and other volatile African states), helping their nations to reach their full potential in a way that benefits all citizens
- For the Lord’s will to be done in Guinea, and for Him to use these events to draw the lost to Himself
- For increased opportunities for Guinean Christians to share the reason for the hope they have in Christ (1 Peter 3:15-16)
Image: REUTERS/Souleymane Camara