Report of a military coup in neighboring Guinea that shows its President Alpha Conde sitting on a sofa barefooted and surrounded by armed troops is very troubling. Guinea is a very close neighbor of Liberia and both countries share cultural, ethnic, and economic ties.
Any disturbance in that country has always had serious adverse repercussions on Liberia, whether it is Ebola, politics, or business. Both countries are so intertwined that what affects one, impacts the other.
Therefore, when reports coming out of Guinea on international wires show armed soldiers discharging live bullets, placing the elected President under apparent arrest, parading the streets, ordering residents to stay indoors, and closing borders, there is a reason for concern.
The Guinean Ministry of defense is quoted as dispelling news of a coup, maintaining that presidential guards have quelled the revolt and it is in control of the situation.
But a group of soldiers under the banner, National Committee for Reconciliation and Development (NCRD) are reportedly claiming that they ousted President Alpha Conde because of rampant corruption, mismanagement, and poverty. It has also announced the suspension of the constitution.
If the so-called coup in Guinea were to succeed, Liberia could feel burnt in several ways: Firstly, both countries are members of the Mano River Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). We in Liberia depend on the neighboring country for basic commodities such as pepper, onions, clothes, and utensils, among others. Besides, the Port of Conakry serves as a major conduit for most used cars coming into Liberia due to the huge tariffs at the Freeport of Monrovia.
Then there is the issue of intermarriages and tribal relations. There are Mandingoes in Guinea and Mandingoes in Liberia, similarly, members of the Mano, Gio, Kpelle tribes are on both sides.
Earlier this year, the Government of Guinea and the Government of Liberia signed a major concession that would allow Guinean ores to be transported thru Liberia for shipment abroad. The investment will cost millions of dollars and benefit peoples of both countries.
Besides, Guinean troops fought and died in Liberia to restore the peace that Liberians enjoy today, so we cannot sit and watch that country degenerate in flames.
We call for quick intervention to restore calm to the neighboring country, for this is important for regional security, peace, and economic cooperation. Guinea is a key partner of both the Mano River Union and ECOWAS.