Sunday, October 19, 2008

Guinea's 50 years of Independance

I had to laugh when I saw via the press the message sent from North Korea's Kim to Guinea's President Lansana Conte ...

Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly, Monday sent a message of greetings to Lansana Conte, President of Guinea, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its independence.

Kim in the message noted that over the past five decades since the independence of the country the Guinean people have achieved great successes in the struggle for the national unity and the building of a new society, and the friendly and cooperative relations between the DPRK and Guinea have steadily grown stronger in the interests of the peoples of the two countries.

Kim expressed belief that the good relations between the two countries would further expand and develop in various fields in the future, too, and sincerely wished the president good health and happiness and the Guinean people greater progress and prosperity.

And what 'great successes' have the Guineans had from their two presidents in the last 50years???

Not much, very little in fact ...

Toure ruled with an iron fist & let what was left of the French legacy go to rack & ruin. Conte, the current ailing President is doing a good job of finishing the country off ... The people are being squeezed from every angle, small bribes at every military checkpoint, lack of food, massive inflation, no real utilities; even in the capital, Conakry.

A country filled with natural resources which at this stage are being plundered by the Chinese. A population, full of hope for the future who lost over 100 people on 23rd January 2007 in killings by the army ordered by the President.

When I crossed the border in December 2006, I came from Guinea Bissau. . The few kilometres between the two countries gave a stark contrast in the character of the people I got to know whilst on a truck for two days carrying me & 45 Guineans. The Guineans of Guinee Conakry were so friendly & hospitable; they have very little, far poorer than some of their neighbours such as Senegal but so much more open & welcoming.

Leaving the country was hard for me, mentally & physically - the petrol strike had already taken grip. What was even harder was hearing the news of the strikes & killings that went on just after I'd left; knowing that those that were on the truck with me would be somewhere in Guinea, most of them were heading for Conakry after Boke.

I hope that Guinea's next 50years will be easier after the last 50. Conte won't be around forever & if the corruption can be capped; maybe they'll have it a bit easier .....

... but this is Africa where corruption is widespread ...

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