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Guinea tests Western influence in Africa

January 15, 2010

camaraWhether Guinea’s absent junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara makes it back to his home country or not will be the latest test of Western powers’ dwindling influence in Africa.

Ex-colonial power France and the United States — desperate to avoid a failed state in a region which is already attracting the interest of narco-traffickers and other criminals — have both made it clear Camara should be kept well away.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner warned Camara’s homecoming after treatment in Morocco following an assassination bid could spark an all-out civil war.

After talks with French and U.S. diplomats, caretaker junta leader Sekouba Konate announced last week that he would work with a prime minister from the opposition in a transition government that would hold democratic elections.

It all seemed to be going according to the script until Camara flew into Burkina Faso on Tuesday night, walking (with some help) and talking.

It seems Camara thought he was heading back to Conakry and was livid when he was told the Moroccan airplane had pitched up in the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou.

A delegation of Camara allies immediately flew out to fetch him, but headed into a row with Konate. Guinea-watchers have been told to look out for some kind of statement from Burkina’s President Blaise Compaore on what happens next.

At the very least, any return by Camara would deal a blow to the Franco-US strategy of hyping Konate and hoping that Guinea’s opposition could come up with a consensus prime minister.

But more broadly, it would be just the latest defiance of Western wishes on a continent where the economic clout of China seems to be having more and more weight.

U.S. and European sanctions on Niger’s President Mamadou Tandja have so far clearly failed to persuade the former colonel to step down from power as he was due to on Dec. 22.

Tandja continues to rule the desert state — illegally, according to the opposition — safe in the knowledge that France relies on Niger’s uranium for its nuclear power stations.

In retrospect, perhaps it wasn’t a good idea of the West to give such a quick clean bill of health to Mauritania’ General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who won back IMF aid and NATO military support just over a year after deposing the incumbent in an August 2008 coup.

Camara has been heard citing Aziz’s case as a reason why he too can expect one day to shed his pariah image — although that is less likely after a U.N. report held him to blame for the Sept. 28 massacre of over 150 street protesters.

Is the West running out of strategies to deal with Africa?


For openers, how about the “west” straightening out their own domestic nonsense first – by following the constitutions and rule of law, adding two and two and getting four instead of six or seven budgetarily, and so on ? Do creeps exist in the world ? sure. But there are creeps right at home that to be “ministered” to. It’s time to clean up our own acts.

Posted by gramps | Report as abusive

Is the West running out of strategies to deal with Africa?

Lets see,
If the west is willing lavishly fund to the tune of tens of billions to the likes of worst tyrant Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, after he stole election, shot 200 protesters, ethnically cleansed 80,000 Ethiopians of Eritrean heritage, not to mention invading next door countries, why are we surprised there is no credibility left ?

Posted by Say_what | Report as abusive

The west has ran out of strategy a long time ago. When they decided to protect their farmers and ask us to deregulates how lives. Hello China, where next are you investing?

Posted by Abiodun2011 | Report as abusive is looking for columnists to write on issues relating to Africa or other topic’s, You don’t need to be a journalist, anyone is welcome, register at

Posted by asksimba | Report as abusive

For more in-depth news about Africa, you may want to visit Newstime Africa – We cover the whole of Africa. You will get our views on this topic and much more.

Posted by Newstime | Report as abusive

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