The head of Guinea’s junta, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, defended the use of military intervention in politics during a UN address Thursday, following a recent series of coups on the African continent.
“Africa is suffering from a model of governance that has been imposed on us. A model that is certainly good and effective for the West, which designed it over the course of its history, but which is having trouble adapting to our reality,” he told the UN General Assembly, speaking in French.
“Alas, I would like to say that the graft has not been taken,” he added.
Doumbouya came to power in a coup in September 2021 after 11 years of civilian rule.
From his experience, he has “better appreciated the extent to which the model has above all contributed to maintaining a system of exploitation and pillaging of our resources by others and very active corruption of our elites,” Doumbouya said.
Guinea is among several countries to have seen coups since 2020, along with Mali, Burkina Faso and this year, Niger and Gabon.
Doumbouya is the only coup leader from the region to be speaking at the UN this year.
Abandoning his typical uniform and beret for more traditional African attire—a white boubou and hat—he defended himself, saying he wasn’t just another soldier “who wants to twist the neck of democracy” and “impose his dictatorship”.
“A putschist isn’t just someone who takes up arms and overthrows a regime,” he said.
“The real putschists, the most numerous, who are not the subject of any condemnation, are also those who scheme, who use deception, and who cheat in order to manipulate the texts of the Constitution in order to maintain themselves in power externally,” he said, referring to situations in various countries.
He said he had taken action in Guinea “to save our country from complete chaos.”
At the time of the coup, Guinea had experienced months of protests against then-president Alpha Conde’s changes to the constitution and re-election for a third term.
He called on Africa’s young and old to break with the old world order while defending non-alignment.
“Paternalised Africa, the old Africa, is over,” he said.
“It’s time to take our rights back and give us our place. But above all, its time to stop lecturing us, to stop looking down on us, and to stop treating us like children,” he said. – Agency report.