In a bold address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78) on Friday, September 22nd, Guinea’s interim president, Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya, defended recent military coups in Africa, portraying them as desperate attempts to rescue nations from the failed promises of their leaders. The speech, delivered on Thursday, also carried a strong rebuff to Western nations for their attempts to pigeonhole the African continent, urging a deeper understanding of the root causes behind the military takeovers.
Colonel Doumbouya, who assumed power following a coup in 2021, emphasized the necessity to look beyond mere condemnation of coups, urging global leaders to address the underlying issues. He argued that the real culprits are those who manipulate constitutional texts to perpetuate their stay in power, often leading to a state of complete chaos.
The Guinean leader’s remarks come against a backdrop of a series of military coups that have rocked West and Central Africa since 2020, including recent ones in Niger and Gabon. These military interventions, sometimes celebrated by citizens yet condemned by international organizations and foreign countries, have stirred concerns about the continent’s stability, especially given its burgeoning young population projected to double by 2050.
Doumbouya accused some African leaders of clinging to power by any means, often amending the constitution to the detriment of their people. He cited his own intervention in Guinea to prevent the country from “slipping into complete chaos” as a result of such manipulations.
Furthermore, Doumbouya criticized the West and other developed nations for their attempts to intervene in Africa’s political challenges, expressing that Africans are “exhausted by the categorizations” imposed upon them. He lamented the influence of foreign nations, stating, “We Africans are insulted by the boxes, the categories which sometimes place us under the influence of the Americans, sometimes under that of the British, the French, the Chinese, and the Turks.”
His speech also touched on the adverse effects of military takeovers, referencing the situation in Mali and Burkina Faso, where, despite military rule, challenges such as terrorism and economic downturn persist.
The address by Colonel Doumbouya underscores a growing sentiment among some African leaders and populations for a more nuanced understanding of the continent’s political dynamics. It also invites a broader global discourse on the role of external influences in Africa’s political landscape and the need for a more collaborative approach to addressing the continent’s challenges.