Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa
Conseil pour le développement de la recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique
Conselho para o Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa em Ciências Sociais em África
مجلس تنمية البحوث الإجتماعية في أفريقيا


Message of solidarity with the people of Guinea

May 2007

Number of visits: 832

Call for Solidarity with the People of Guinea

Since 10 January 2007, the workers of Guinea have been on strike to demand
better living conditions, respect for public morality, and the enthronement of
democracy. In the face of the demands presented to the Government by the
workers’ union, CNTG-USTG, supported by the majority of the peoples of
Guinea, the government of President Lansana Conté has adopted an approach
laden with contempt for the citizenry and the use of naked force against the
populace. Dozens of protesters in Conakry, Simbaya, Lambanyi, Matoto,
Télémelé, Mamou, Kankan, and Labé have been murdered in cold blood or
maimed for life by the security services. And yet, in spite of the ferocious
repression unleashed by the government, the Guinean people have, at great
personal and collective peril, intensified their self-mobilisation on a scale not seen
since the historic defeat of colonialism. Invariably, the response of the regime has
been to do even more of what it has always done best: Arrest and torture union
leaders and ordinary citizens, impose a state of emergence/state of siege
presided over by the military high command, and threaten even more mayhem
against the populace.

CODESRIA, as an organisation of African intellectuals who are fully conscious of
their social responsibilities cannot remain indifferent in the face of the latest act
of naked repression that the Conté regime has deployed against Guineans,
repression that has crippled the country, impoverished its peoples and brought
the state to the brink. The Council observes that academics in Guinean universities who have been part of the popular movement for change have not been spared the repressiveness of the regime and the principle of academic freedom that is a foundational pillar of CODESRIA has been put at bay in Guinea. The Council
would, therefore, like to add its voice to the voices of democrats all over the
world who have expressed their solidarity with the people of Guinea and
denounced all forms of dictatorship. The Council also joins the Guinean trade
union movement and other social movements in the vanguard of the struggle for change in their demand for a democratic and equitable management of the
Guinean commonwealth.

The struggles of the people of Guinea remind us that freedom is not given but
won – often at a high cost. This we know very well as members of an institution
which produced the Kampala Declaration on Academic Freedom and the Social
Responsibility of Scholars (see the CODESRIA Website) to
prevent the wanton abuse of freedoms in the African higher education system. I
would, therefore, like to invite all members of the Council to take a moment to
remember the people of Guinea and to solidarise with them, doing so in the
settled knowledge that their victory will be another important step towards
democracy and development in Africa - just as it was when Guinea’s historic ‘No’ against Charles De Gaulle’s project of a French federation to perpetuate colonial rule emboldened and accelerated the African independence project.

Members of CODESRIA wishing to express their solidarity with the people of
Guinea and their struggles are invited to send their messages to :
Executive.Secretary_@_codesria.sn and they can rest assured that the messages
will be forwarded to the trade union and academic staff leaderships in Conakry.
We have a duty at this time to let the people of Guinea know that they are not
alone!

Adebayo Olukoshi

Executive Secretary




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