President Alpha Conde´ of Guinea has put words into action when he extended presidential amnesty to 171 convicts. Among the pardoned was a leading opposition figure, Mamadou Oury Bah, who was accused of plotting to assassinate the newly elected leader. The magnanimity comes barely a week after Conde´ took oath of office for the second term.
We laud the Guinean leader’s decision to turn over a new page and reconcile with his opponents. We expect President Yahya Jammeh to do exactly the same and release all those in detention, especially his government’s opponents. These include Amadou Sanneh, the convicted Treasurer of the United Democratic Party and the three Imams who continued to be illegally detained.
If President Conde´ can have the heart to forgive Mamadou Oury Bah, founder and the number two in the opposition UFDG party of Cellou Dalein Diallo, we see no reason why Yahya Jammeh cannot do the same if he truly believes in fostering the spirit of unity in a country deeply divided along political lines. Did he forget about what he said in Guinea that “Africans need to unite.” Since charity begins at home, Jammeh must put his words into reality before he preaches unity abroad. Any decisive or tactical act by a leader has the potential to ease or spark tension. Conde’s decision to put politics aside and unite the country to revive the economy of Africa’s biggest beauxite producer is what every smart and forward-thinking leader does. Both countries need unity and focus on resuscitating their weaked economies.
Mr. President, remember the Nigerian proverb that “a child that does not listen to elders’ advice shall follow lizards to the grave.” So you cannot say you have not been warned. We rest our case until you act like a true leader who believes in doing the right thing instead of venting anger on anybody or anything that you find threatening. Such a leader hardly sleeps, let alone have peace of mind.