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Political History of Guinea since World War Two


Mohamed Saliou Camara

Political History of Guinea since World War Two provides an in-depth study of the political evolution of Guinea from World War Two to the present. Based on primary-source information, it examines with rare depth and breadth the eventful history of this nation-state, whose trajectory has impacted in no small ways Francophone Africa and the rest of the continent. Interviews with some of the most knowledgeable and most credible actors and/or witnesses of Guinea’s political history and archival research, including the papers of key individuals never opened to the public before, constitute the foundation of this work. The author’s personal and professional experience further strengthens the work. As a native Guinean, a historian, and a journalist imbued with the political ideology of the PDG regime, the author was also a close and alert witness of the political transformation of this country. Hence, the book offers an incisive analysis of domestic politics and policy making under the five successive regimes that have governed Guinea since independence in 1958. It also offers an equally incisive analysis of the country’s foreign relations within international frameworks such as the Organization of African Unity, the United Nations, the Nonalignment Movement, the Economic Community of West African States, the Mano River Union, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and so on. This ground-breaking work is perfectly suited for courses in areas such as history, political science, African studies, decolonization studies, Third World studies, and nationalism studies.
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Chapter 4. National Sovereignty, Statecraft and the Making of Single-Party Rule


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Chapter 4

National Sovereignty, Statecraft and the Making of Single-Party Rule

Statecraft as an effort at instituting modern sovereignty in the Republic of Guinea can be better understood when examined with several factors in mind. For one thing, the effort falls in the realm that specialists have described as an amalgam of traditional African values and Western institutions inherited from the defunct colonial system. For the new political elite, in this and most other cases in postcolonial Africa, that implied using the instruments of direct rule, as European colonialism had imposed them, to create a new state in order to achieve legitimacy, economic independence and political sovereignty within a global system of states.1 Also, unlike African states in which traditional chieftaincy was maintained or revived (e.g., Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon), in Guinea the amalgam mainly involved what Onésimo Silveira characterizes as postcolonial national integration. The acute need for the integration stemmed from the great ethno-linguistic diversity of the new nation-state and the political manipulation to which that diversity was subjected throughout the colonial decades. This goes to the core of the dual process of statecraft and nation-building that preoccupied all political elites in postcolonial Africa. Silveira explains that the final purpose of national integration in postcolonial Africa consists in linking the new citizen to the state by providing him or her with the means of effective participation in the new political system.2

This latter notion was absolutely central to the building...

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