Guinea at 50
The year 2008 marks the 50th anniversary of Guinea’s independence from France. In honor of the occasion, our colleague, Eugene, wrote the following that I wish to share:
“We prefer liberty in poverty to slavery in riches.” On these words the Republic of Guinea fought for and gained independence from colonial rule. During the next five decades true liberty has proven elusive as political, socioeconomic, and religious (spiritual) poverty gnawed at the very fabric of individual and national life.
Sekou Toure from the time of independence unleashed a murderous communist dictatorship for 26 years that left the population timid and docile. By the time he died in 1984, he had used a combination of superstition, preventive detention, and murder of political rivals to quench the drive of the people and make them dependent on handouts for subsistence.
When Lansana Conte took over from Toure, he opened up the country to liberal capitalism but that only allowed an elite few to plunder the wealth of the nation to the detriment of the larger population. . . . His frail and deteriorating health has worsened an already terrible situation as his entourage fight each other in a bid to pole position themselves for his eventual demise. It is so bad he could not be present at the golden jubilee celebrations, his only participation being a radio broadcast on the eve of the anniversary in a faltering voice.
The nation is in a difficult economic position. Many families can barely afford a meal a day. In the last three years, trade union leaders have organized more than 5 successful nationwide labor strikes, the last of which turned violent and bloody, ending in a state of emergency for several weeks. There have been several other strike actions by particular groups including teachers, students, doctors, police, and even the armed forces!
Security is virtually absent. Bandits and security personnel alike openly rob the innocent of their labor’s reward. Most nights are dark in most places; power supply is at a mere 30% capacity at the peak for the past six years. The economic situation has made many of the young people to dabble in nefarious activities. Many young girls practice one form of prostitution or another more out of necessity than anything else. Families have broken up over a plate of rice or a loaf of bread.
Education and health are no go areas. Many children of school going age roam the streets because their parents can hardly feed them much more pay their paltry school fess; admission to tertiary schools is based 80% on bribes and 20% on qualification. Universities are overpopulated while students sleep in semi completed shacks and study under street lights. The most effective section of the hospital is the mortuary. Doctors’ strikes have been mostly because of the lack of facilities and medication.
After all this earthly poverty, barely 1% of the people have any hope of making heaven. Statistics show that while some 90% claim to be Muslims, barely 1% write evangelical Christian next to their names, including nominal church goers.
Over the last 50 years the country has lived out the foundational statement of her struggle for self-rule; the preference for liberty even at the cost of their survival and dignity. Yet the real need of this massively endowed nation – boasting 25% of the earth’s bauxite deposit among others – is true, unconditional liberty.
On her fiftieth anniversary, October 2, 2008, the Republic of Guinea stood at the cross roads of clear and present poverty. When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? Christians here declared breakthrough prayers on the eve of Sunday, September 28. The Christian leadership is seeking an encounter with political and social leaders. A new declaration to nullify the poverty infested [declaration] has been proclaimed: “The evangelical churches of Guinea totally reject poverty and declare prosperity on the nation in the freedom that only God can give.” Christian leaders are unanimous on the need to break the cobweb of poverty that has engulfed political leadership and social and spiritual lives over the last 50 years.
As Guinea turns the corner on 50, her only hope remains the Prince of Peace, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World, the Lord Jesus Christ. He only can bring true liberty without any strings attached. Yet Romans 10:14 – 15 is emphatic; “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.”
So at this point please spare a thought for the nation and people of Guinea. Pioneers Guinea is on the quest to bring Christ to folks here. You are also invited to join the train in praying, in giving to the cause, in taking a giant step for Him.
PRAISE GOD FOR
- 50 years of nationhood
- The dawn of a new era
- The lives of the 1% evangelical Christians
- An effective national leadership will take charge
- The resolve of Christian leaders will hold sway
- The light of Christ will shine on Guinea
- The faith of the 1% Christians will hold