After a misunderstanding arising from the closure of Senegalese borders after the Ebola crisis in Guinea a few years ago, followed by a similar decision in the run-up to the Guinean presidential election, the two neighbouring countries seemed to be smoothing things over at a meeting last January in Ghana, on the occasion of the inauguration of Nana Akufo-Addo. But Guinean President Alpha Condé has just cooled down hopes of thawing relations between his country and Senegal by adding a layer to his repeated accusations against his Senegalese counterpart, Macky Sall.
Closed for 6 months, the borders between Senegal and Guinea will not reopen soon if we are to believe the position of Professor Alpha Condé on the issue. For the Guinean President, Senegal was used as a rear base for the destabilisation of Guinea. « Those who wanted Guinea to burn, we all see what is happening in their country. This means that God does not sleep. I don’t quarrel with anyone, not one day since I was elected President, no opponent has come to Conakry to defame the government. I don’t accept that. But everyone knows, all those who insult us, all these cries of Guinea will burn, everything is done in Dakar. Everyone knows, but God is there, » accused Alpha Conde.
The Guinean President also referred to the worrying situation of the global health crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resurgence of the Ebola virus in his country. « I am sure that Guinea will start to move forward, I said …. within a few years, only Nigeria will be ahead of us in West Africa. This does not please many of our neighbours, because they want Guinea to always stay behind, but we will move forward, » said Alpha Conde, referring to Macky Sall, who had rejected his proposal for joint patrols on the Guinean-Senegalese border, on the eve of the presidential election last October, which saw him win a third term at the head of Guinea.
Since then, there has been a « blockade » on Guinea’s borders with Senegal and Guinea-Bissau. Of the three countries concerned by this « blockade », only the borders with Sierra Leone were reopened last February after 4 months of closure thanks to conciliatory diplomacy by the Sierra Leonean authorities whose Vice President had been accused by Alpha Condé of « recruiting mercenaries » to participate in a plot to destabilise Guinea for the benefit of Cellou Dalein Diallo, his rival and main opponent.
The issue of border closure, which opposes Alpha Condé and Macky Sall, is actually a pretext that poorly hides their political, ideological and operational antagonism between two heads of state… The same tension of suspicion reigns between Alpha Condé and Umaru Emballo, the President of Guinea Bissau, whose borders are also closed with Guinea-Conakry by decision of the Guinean President.
It should be recalled that the historical opposition between Guinean and Senegalese « politicians » dates back to the tumultuous pre- and post-independence rivalry between Ahmed Sékou Touré and Léopold Sédar Senghor, then deputies in the National Assembly of the French colonial empire. However, Senegal has always been a hospitable land for thousands of Guineans, the majority of whom are ethnic Fulani, fleeing persecution or dictatorship in Guinea, even at the height of the crisis between Guinean and Senegalese politicians.