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Monday, 10 January, 2000, 14:11 GMT
Ivory Coast Coup: Your advice for General Guei




General Robert Guei now appears to be firmly in control of the Ivory Coast after his coup, which toppled Henri Konan Bedie.

News and Information for Africa
Ivorians appear to support him and some political parties have agreed to participate in a government of national unity. The OAU and ECOWAS, however have condemned the military take-over.

How do you think the outside world should deal with the situation, and what is your advice to General Guei?

A selection of your emails will be broadcast on Focus on Africa during the 1705 edition on Saturday.


Your Reaction

This act seems to be the release for the Ivorians, however it is not the best sign for democratic and civilised society today! I hope this coup will be lesson for all dictators like MOS Ould Taya (Mauritania), Idriss Debi (Chad ), Paul Bya (Cameroon) and N. Eyadama (Togo). I hope the African Leaders finally comprehend the necessity of democratic, liberal and robust systems to allow the development of the continent.
Ben Amou, Austria

Congratulations, M. Guei, for disposing of that crude and idiotic dictator Bedie so cleanly. Remember this, though: No country in Africa (with the arguable exception of Ghana) has really recovered from a military coup. If the Cote d'Ivoire is to do so, I recommend that you hold elections soon. And if you must favour Alassane Ouattara, please be discreet about it.
Sarang Gopal, Tanzania

From all that I have gathered it appears General Guei came to the scene at the right time. He has gathered support from majority of Ivorians. However, every individual has his duty to perform in the society. Soldiers are to protect the frontiers of the nation. If he wants to be a long time ruler I suggest he resigns from the army and participate in the democratic process (fair and free elections). He can stay on for a short time and conduct elections. There after I think he should step down. I count on his promise.
J Appiah Mensah, Nepal but a Ghanian

Let's hope the General does not follow the foot steps of some greedy so called politicians our poor Africa has known so far. We should give him a chance and see if he's any different. All I can say, the man has guts.
Alain Ndayifukamiye, Canada

Mr. Guie, please have the interest and general well being and security of the people of your country Cote d'Ivoire and come out with a comprehensive plan to immediately return the country to a civilian and democratic rule. Do not follow the foot steps of those ego-centric, power hungry idiotic soldiers who stage coup d'etats in the whole of Africa by vouching to end rampant corruption, tribalism, nepotism, mismanagement etc. While ending up leading flamboyant and self-destructive life styles at the expense of the people they claim to salvage. There are enough lessons to be learnt in order to avoid making huge miscalculation.
Mustapha Jawara, USA

We are sick and tired of military leaders masquerading as the peoples' saviours. When are you going to learn that Africa cannot afford to resolve its problems through self-imposed leaders? Military leaders compound the problem rather than being the messiahs that they normally portray themselves to be. It will not take long before the democratic ideals are expressed through the real Peoples' voice. To you General you better restore a Democratic government pretty soon or else you are quickly drawing that country closer to a very sad demise; a real bloodshed!
William Molemogi, Botswana

It is good to have someone as politically decent as General Guei to step save the great Ivorian nation from exploding to tribal conflict. However, the General should not allow himself to be carried away by the trappings of the office and his thought every minute of the day should be centred around ameliorating the social and economic plight of inhabitants of the nation regardless of their geographical origin.
Alvin Coulson, Sierra Leone

My advice to General Guei is let him restore the atmosphere of peace back to the Ivorian people because without his intervention Ivory Coast would have been at a civil war. We as Africans will stand by your side any time anywhere. Advocate Peace, Justice and Democracy through your transition. Good luck may God help you and the Ivorian people.
Ballo L.K. Saidykhan, The Gambia

Congratulations to you Gen. Guei. Maybe we needed this coup in Cote d'Ivoire for a change. Bedie made a mistake calling an Africa a foreigner. We should look back at history before calling names. Gen. Guei my advice to you is hand over to a civilian regime as quickly as possible. Do not make the same mistakes Africa has witnessed in some of our neighbouring countries. Please do the right thing so as to preserve your dignity and good name.
Andre Kouame Young, Cote d'Ivoire (living in US).

General Guei is a great military leader; Ivory Coast needs a man like him. The General needs to put a military government in place and not an unbalanced mix of politicians that will give any one party an unfair advantage. Under the General, Ivory Coast could for the first time have a real opportunity towards democracy. This effort must be real and not one-sided. Why have a military civilian mix anyway? Level the playing field and let the people have their thing; only this time let the people truly decide.
Amanda Hill, USA/Liberia/Ivory Coast

I think that something needed to be done to stop the previous' government mismanaging both the economical and political issues. Now the real question is whether a military coup doesn't set a dangerous precedent not only for Cote d'Ivoire, but also for the neighbouring countries as evidenced by the recent events in Mali. What's even scarier is that it appears that the General may have some presidential aspirations. If the example of Nigeria is anything to go by the 21st century prospects for my country doesn't look that promising. My only wish is that I'm too pessimistic and that I'll be proven wrong.
Maximo Gomez, USA

I am glad that most Ivorians seem so pleased with the General take-over. But, as someone who lived for 5 years in Western Africa, I would remind him that any country ruled by the military is a country in constant danger. In addition to holding free and fair elections, the General should pioneer a new agenda for Ivory Coast's army, so that the executive office of Ivory Coast will not always be at risk of being overturned by soldiers who would like a higher pay check.
Rebecca H. Rhodes, USA

Please give back power to the elected government of Ivory Coast. Your place is in the military and not the government. Thanks
Julius Conteh, USA

I would encourage the General to allow a free and fair press. Any government with honourable intentions does not fear a responsible press corps. Allowing free fair reporting will give confidence to the rest of the world that you truly do want return the country to the people.
Steve Keen, USA

My advice for the new military leader is that he should set an example for his countrymen and women by returning the country to civilian rule as soon as possible. After all, Africans are fed up with military rule.
Charles L. Massaquoi, Sweden

Many thanks to General Guei for saving the Ivorian People. The former President and his government were creating a dangerous political unrest that would have led to a civil strife in the Ivory Coast. I was very much afraid for the Ivorian People. Mr Bedie was prepared to cultivate any possible means to make himself a lifetime president in the Ivory Coast. He refused to understand that the dark days are over and it is time for Africans to enjoy some forms of freedom and democracy. I hope General Guei will lead the Ivory Coast into a free and fair election. General Guei, please do not stay too long. May God bless you. Thank you for your bravery.
Alexander Kekula, Liberian (Living in the USA)

Congratulations General and the people of ivory coast. We need more smart men like you to get rid of all those corrupt regimes in our continent. This was the best Christmas gift the people of Ivory Coast can get. Now they can put things together by setting up an independent electoral commission, rewriting the constitution that fit the people of ivory coast not a photocopy of the French nonsense. When this is done the people of ivory coast can choose their leaders to rule them not French appointed governors.
Gasimu Umar, USA

As merely a two-time visitor to Côte d'Ivoire, I heard enough pain and frustration from Ivoirians in 1995 and 1999 to know that Bedie's incompetence was slowly destroying the country. I've never heard that much universal dislike of an African leader with the possible exception of Zimbabwe's Mugabe. True, the transition from military to civilian rule is often dysfunctional but, may God see the country well through this time of uncertainty.
Brian Burk, USA

Congratulations General - and when will you be in Cameroon with your rescue crew? We need you and now.
Bello N., USA

I am shocked to see so many people so elated over the coming to power of another military strongman in West Africa. I am even more shocked when the so-called democrat Mr. Allihasen Waterra speaks with such reverence about the coup. From a distance I predict that the people of the Ivory Coast will soon begin to realise that the current bunch that has taken power by force will be even more ruthless than their predecessor. I cannot for a moment believe that Mr. Waterra was not a party to the Treason in Ivory Coast and that General Guei is just not his puppet. As we move along, I would not be surprised if Guei and Wattera fall out. As Gen. Guei begin to enjoy the trappings of absolute power, we are going to start seeing the decrees that are typical of such illegal regime. It is so sad that in the very near future the Ivory Cost will be torn apart by ethnic and religious strife.
Olu Adamas, California, USA

General Robert Guei should follow in the footsteps of General Abdusalam Abubakar (retired) of Nigeria who in less than a year returned his country to a democratically elected government. General Gei set the election machinery rolling without further delay.
Lucas Jones (Pen Name), USA

The wind of change is still blowing through and its effectiveness in cleaning up our socio-economic, political and other woes will largely depend on our ability and willingness to pull together. As a first generation African residing abroad, I am looking forward to one day moving back home with my family and thus I think it's imperative that we all put more impetus and support all constructive, organised and peaceful clean-up campaigns in our beloved mother land.
Walter Akaya, Cameroon/U.S.A

From my experience living in the Ivory Coast a coup was inevitable. The political situation ticked like a countdown to a bomb detonation. General Guei is indeed a saviour to most Ivorians. My only advice to him is to, "remember the Doe example". Do not suppress the people like Doe did. Do not remain stagnant in power till someone comes and cuts off your ears. Take over, give the people what you promised them, step down, and hand them back their country in a better shape. Your good name, riches and the blessing of your people will be countless after that.
Sam McIntosh, Jr., African in the USA

The West - especially France - would not like to hear this but the last country to come out of colonialism in Africa is Ivory Coast. All the rubbish about Ivory Coast being stable and rich are ploys to keep this country in servitude to the west. How could anybody say this was an independent state with one president and one party since 1960. With multinational companies using the country as a staging ground for their exploits in Africa. Thank you Robert Guei. You have just won independence for your country for the first time! If you swallow their call for democracy hook and sink then your country is toasted for ever... You would keep begging, borrowing, IMFing and World banking.
Alan IK, Canada

The outside world should listen to the sentiments of the Ivoirian people. If the majority of the people approve of the action by their own free will, the outside world should respect AND support the corrective measures. An advice to General Guei is to firmly stand in the process of delivering power to a democratically elected party. Parallel to what the earlier General of Nigeria did.
Hery Tesh, Ethiopia

The coup was the only way to get Bedie off the scene and bring true democracy to this country 40 years after independence. The transition period should be short-lived if the military is remain popular in this country.
Adjoa Niava, Cote d'Ivoire

The new general in The Ivory Coast is a pathetic example of retrogression in African politics. Military intervention has never been a solution to our socio-economic and political problems on the continent. What military rulers have done is aggravate the already bad situation. What Ivoirians should do is demand restoration of democratic governance. Whatever the likes of Guei promise are just a lies, They will more corrupt than the civilian government. To make matters worse, they further oppress the general public.
Emmanuel Dube, Zimbabwe

Bedie was dragging the country towards civil unrest, if not civil war, by inciting Ivoirians against the so-called foreigners. The economic powers should not direct Africans like animals. They should think of sending back monies looted from the coffers of our beloved countries instead of the loans that have crippled our economies. Gen. Guei more grease to your elbows. Truly, we are ready to eat cassava leaves if the need arises.
Ahmad Addo, Japan

It is a tragedy that at the dawn of a new millennium soldiers are still overthrowing elected governments, especially in Africa. My humble advice to the General is that he should hand over power to an elected civilian government by March 2000. Africa does not need soldiers in the new millennium. We need civilised people; we need food and medicine. Africa is already wading in the pig sty of shame and disaster, spare us any further trouble.
Ngong David, Cameroon

General Guei, I applaud your quick intervention into Cote d'Ivoire and commend you for not making it bloody. There was no doubt in my mind the ousted President Bedie was on his way to creating another brutal dictator dynasty such as Mobutu and Houphouet-Boigny. His jailing of his political opponents, driving many into exile such as his political opponent Alassane Ouattara shows how power can corrupt absolutely. I will also like to caution you to call for a constitutional conference with the participation of all Cote d'Ivoire's ethnic nationalities. You have a golden opportunity to help save Africa. Cote d'Ivoire has been a rising hope to many of us who will like to hear something good from Africa. I still believe you are a man of high calibre, principled and would honor democracy and not degenerate to the level of people such as Babangida and Abacha of Nigeria who manipulated democracy and were grossly unpatroitic to mother Africa, or Mobutu Sese-Seko and Kabila of Zaire, Mengistu of Ethiopia who ruined both of our other rising hopes of Africa.
Kienuwa Obaseki, Nigeria

The likes of the General are responsible for the predicament of the African race, you have no business in running a government, Africa does not need the likes of him, the sooner democracy is reinstalled in the Ivory Coast, the better for the suffering African people.
Mike Fregene, Nigeria

I can understand what the Ivorians feel right now, but they soon know the real meaning of military government Maybe you can then ask them again their opinion about this coup, or ask them to compare the two kinds of government after a year. Two wrongs can never make a right
Waheed Alabede, Nigerian in New York

As a Nigerian I truly believe that the military cannot solve the problem of any country, I'm therefore calling on the Ivorians to oppose any military dictatorship in their country. And I call on general Guei to hand over power to the people's choice.
Anaege Kingsley, Nigeria

Please tell that man what Africa does not need is another coup. This is the 2000. What we need is stability, so that ideas can be planted, nurtured and then harvested IN THE NAME OF GOD. PLEASE ask Mr Guei how many other countries in the developing world has he heard of that has coups. Protests yes but COUPS.
Chuka Chidi, USA



General Guei has to make his regime a very short one while the ovations from the Ivorians are loudest.
Samuel O.Toogun, USA
General Guei has to make his regime a very short one while the ovations from the Ivorians are loudest. He must realise that military regimes anywhere in the world are no longer popular. The people of Ivory Coast should have been allowed to remove the President through the ballot and not the military because the worst civilian government is much better than the best military government. If Ivorianes are in doubt let them ask Nigerians
Samuel O.Toogun, USA

First I will say Bravo to General Guei! Then I will ask the International community to help the good GUYS do good things and stop the bad guys doing bad things. Also, I can advise General Guei to be as DEMOCRATIC as Amadou Toumani Toure of Mali, and as Wise as Nelson Mandela. I wish good luck to you and all the people of Ivory Coast.
Fode Sory Camara, USA

Congratulations to Gen. Robert Guei and the rest of his team. I wish him good luck. I want the international community to support his transitional government. We need people like him to organise fair and free election in Guinea. Alpha Conde still in jail in Conakry without a trial. What the OAU or the ECOWAS has done besides asking the dictator Conte to free him. I was so glad to hear that will have fair and election soon. Dictatorship is old fashioned and we don't need it in Africa.
Oury Diallo, USA

The military should do everything to give the people of the Ivory Coast peace. Giving the people a timetable of handing over could only do this. The silence about the date is suspicious. The people should not allow this stop-gap government to overstay else they will yearn for Konan Bedie.
Vincent Kosi, USA

Africa leaders such as the one overthrown in Ivory Cost need to know that whatever goes round, comes around. What this statement means is that depriving some of his citizenship in a country such as Africa, especially when that person is an African by birth, is gross injustice that needs to be dealt with. The former Bedie of Ivory Coast should have known better to deprive his opponent of the right to run for the presidency of Ivory Coast.
Joseph B.Weanquoi, U.S/ Liberia

I strongly support this coup. For the first time Ivory Coast is facing the prospect of a real democracy. Guei should call a national conference in which the people decide how the country will be governed. I will advise that the military to step aside after elections but be the custodians of the new constitution - making sure that everyone stays on the right side.
Ben Bezejouh, Cameroon

Encourage a vibrant and vocal opposition, especially those who oppose you. The more practice people have in voicing their opinions, the stronger democracy gets.
Govind Acharya, USA

It is better when you get a military leader who is following the democratic rule than civilian leader who is a killer. I really appreciate Ivorians for supporting Guei for his honesty to support election.
Tang Both, USA

Stick to your word, it will make you a trustworthy person.
Pierre Kab, Ivory Coast

Military coups should be frowned at as they are not welcome. But what should a nation do when faced with a leader like Konan Bedie who was leading them to civil war? The International Community knew what was going on in the Ivory Coast and appeared to be helpless. So if the Ivorian people through their military can get rid of such a leader, I think the rest of the world should welcome it. General Guei should now concentrate on putting things right while making arrangements for free and fair democratic elections in the shortest possible time. I say Bravo to him and the people of the Ivory Coast
Sorie Kamara, Sierra Leone



Be wary of a disease that afflicts men that occupy your office, "presidency without end amen".
Beatus, Nigeria
General sir, considering you come from the most chivalrous of occupations, I would refrain from second guessing your intentions. However, be wary of a disease that afflicts men that occupy your office, "presidency without end amen".
Beatus, Nigeria

I haven't seen a good coup yet. The fact that the general had been accused of a coup plot earlier by the deposed government makes me think that he is no better than his precedessor. Ivory Coast beware! See what happened to Liberia and Sierra Leone. By the way, how can the ECOWAS group justify their actions in Sierra Leone when they restored the deposed gov of Kaba and then stand down on Ivory Coast?
Sieth Johnson, Liberia

Whereever property rights are not respected, the ultimate result is a revolution. What happened in Ivory Coast should have been foreseen. Bedie was what I call a modern dictator (the same goes for Abdou Diouf of Senegal) and the African continent has seen enough of his kind. What Guei should focus on now is to establish a system of checks and balances to make sure that public officials are held accountable for their actions before holding any elections.
Lucien Ntab, Senegal

Congratulations General, we need more brave men like you to get rid of all those corrupt regimes in our continent. I hope you will stick to your words and return your country to real democracy as soon as possible.
Deric Menga, Cameroon

I don't think the situation in the Ivory Coast will get better under the military. The siuation in the Ivory coast, if not taken seriously by the world and Africa, Ivorians in particular, will turn out like Liberia. I think the military regime should be forced to hand over power as soon as possible.
Winston Tidoe, Liberia

Military takeovers in any shape or form are not welcome. But wait a minute. What should be done to prevent them? The whole world knew that Konan Bedie was conducting policies that would have led to civil strife as in Liberia and Sierra Leone. What could the Ivorians have done to stop him? He would have rigged any democratic elections anyway thereby cheating the people. ECOWAS leaders did nothing, OAU did nothing as well and the only OAU leader to say something was Omar Bongo.What should african nations do with such leaders? I therefore support this particular military takeover and also to state that the whole notion of non-interferance in sovereign states should start to be looked into if democracy should mean anything to africans.
S I Kamara, Sierra Leone

I am generally against coups, coupists and military adventurers in Africa. I however support the overthrow of the pompous Dictator Konan Bedie. He is the Godfather of most rebel movements in West Africa. My dear General, my advice to you is hold free and fair elections within the next six months and PLEASE don´t run for president.
Alfred Kanu (Sierra Leonean), Gottingen, Germany.

I met General Guei several years ago at his home while he was under house arrest. I found him to be a tolerant man of honour. He is not a politician but a soldier and this is evident in his every gesture. Although wise, he is activeley pragmatic. As a non-citizen of the Ivory Coast, but one who has lived there for most of his life, I must say that I feel comfortable knowing that La Cote d'Ivoire is FINALLY in good hands.
David Kiros, U.S.A./Cote d'Ivoire



I advise Gen. Guei to have precise objectives and a timetable for future elections.
Dr. Ahile Koudou, USA
Bravo to General Guei! His coup was the best Christmas gift that we ever had in Cote d'Ivoire. I strongly believe without this coup, Cote d'Ivoire was going to be in war because of the arrogance and the misbehavior of Bedie's government. We were so tired to see the same families after independence run the country like their private farms.

I advise Gen. Guei to have precise objectives and a timetable for future elections. That way the government that will be in place tomorrow will have an agenda to deal with and there will not be a "laissez aller" when everybody will be in place to help him reach his goals. General Guei must be able to understand that proactive and reactive political strategies will lead to a successful leadership and not by trial and error.

General be very careful when dealing with the former leaders of PDCI. Do not underestimate them and think that all are with you. All the leaders who made the economic and political crimes should be detained and tried. I do not think that they are sincere while making some statements in BBC, RFI and national TV. If all the criminals are fairly punished for their crimes, you will be always remembered. Before an election is held, a very sound constitution must be in place discussing issues such as the ownership and sale of land.
Dr. Ahile Koudou, USA

It appears that Ivorians welcomed this change of government by Gen. Guei, however, I do not think that military coup will solve any problem Ivory Coast may have. If military coup do solve problems, Nigeria should have been prospering. It did not work in Nigeria, instead it created more problems. Therefore I am suggesting to Gen. Guei to call for election as soon as possible so that the country can return to civilian rule. Please, please do not let the rest of the world to isolate your country because of this coup. God bless you.
Ezekiel Nwakwue, Nigeria

Congratulation General Guei for what you have done. Corrupt regimes like Bedie's and Eyadema's have no place on our Continent. As for the outside world I think you gave them the right answer: If they cut the aid, we will eat casava leaves but will have our dignity. Chirac and his France should know that their stupidity in Africa is over and should deal with reality from now.
Guy Bouaka, Togo

Ghanaians have a saying that "when you see your neighbour's beard on fire, you bring water near yours". What I am saying is that Guei should be careful not to be corrupted by power, for power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. He should not hang on to power for too long, 6 months at most when the praises are high. Konan Bedie's praise singers are at the corner ready to scramble for power and the spoils of government. He should be wary of them.
James Nketia, Ghana

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See also:
25 Dec 99 |  Africa
Ivory Coast's new 'Le Boss'
25 Dec 99 |  Africa
Ivory coast president facing exile
28 Dec 99 |  Africa
Analysis: The economics of the Ivory Coast coup

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