AFRICA/GUINEA - Authentic democracy implies a change in the prevailing mentality, affirms Archbishop of Conakry

Monday, 18 October 2010

Conakry (Agenzia Fides) – "On the eve of the second round of presidential elections, we must frankly ask ourselves: What do we want? Where are we headed, proclaiming slogans in the name of democracy? Are we sincerely willing to break with the old man who lives in us, with the 'mafia' practices of the past? Are we ready to be reborn again, to submit to the demands of transparency, the constraints of the law?" These are the words of Archbishop Vincent Coulibaly, Archbishop of Conakry, the capital of the Republic of Guinea, in a message published on the eve of the October 24 presidential elections.
In the message sent to Fides, the Archbishop of Conakry calls the country's political leaders (President, organs of transition, candidates) to put aside personal ambitions and work for the good of the people of Guinea. Archbishop Coulibaly calls on people to see “the diversity of ethnicities, languages, regions and religions, as an essential building block in the harmonious construction of Guinea.”
The Archbishop of Conakry compares the path toward democracy taken by Guinea, "to the exodus of God's people on the path of liberation from the shackles of slavery,” a fact that "should make us more united, on the eve of the final stage." Once the electoral process concludes, it does not mean that the journey has ended because, as Archbishop Coulibaly warns, "it is not enought to enter the promised land. We must firmly establish ourselves, cultivating the land conquered with great sacrifice."
This is not an easy task because, as mentioned by the Archbishop of Conakry, the Guinean people is plagued by divisions in need of healing. "We are no longer - we must admit in all honesty - a nation proud and rich in the diversity of its peoples and its regions. We have become a conglomerate of ethnic groups each claiming its legitimacy to rule the others by appropriation, using all means of political and economic power. In Africa, political power has become a springboard for the promotion of economic and financial of an individual and/or an exclusive group, rather than becoming a means for assuming responsibility for the people."
Archbishop Coulibaly concludes by expressing his hope that "we can understand that the democratic system cannot be achieved simply by creating new structures, but through the recreation of the structure of our mentality, of our whole being." (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 18/10/2010)