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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 8. The Conté Regime: Military Rule and Transformation of the State


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Chapter 8

The Conté Regime: Military Rule and Transformation of the State

The relative ease with which Conté’s junta took over on April 3, 1984, puzzled many an observer, mainly because the PDG regime had long projected an image of internal stability, strength and unconditional mass adhesion.1 Former PDG official and ideologue Louis Sénaïnon Béhanzin offered a surprising dispel of the assumption behind that puzzlement when he admitted in our 2005 interview, “In retrospect, I must say that we overestimated the Guinean people’s patience and willingness to make the kind of sacrifice that the PDG vision of revolutionary African socialism required while their neighbors in Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Liberia enjoyed much better economic conditions.”2 In one of our personal communications André Lewin argued that even though President Sékou Touré may have been secretly aware of the precariousness of his health due to his heavy smoking, he deprived his party and the regime of the continuity which he would have liked to see happen by failing to groom a successor. Lewin cited the case of President Léopold Sédar Senghor’s show of foresight through the preparation of Prime Minister Abdou Diouf for the presidency before voluntarily resigning in 1981 and deplored Touré’s “stubborn lack of belief in preparing one’s successor.”

In the opinion of retired army Major Amadou Diouldé Diallo,3 also shared by former journalist and former Ministry of...

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