Dadis Camara, bloody trajectory of a small captain who became president

Moussa Dadis Camara lost his splendor in front of his judges. This magistrate who cut him off, he would no doubt have humiliated and dismissed him in the eyes of the whole of Guinea when he abruptly ruled the country.

There, he merges in obsequiousness towards “Mr. President” to request the adjournment of this historic trial: because, “for a very long time, I have been suffering”, he says.

The reversal of roles is striking for the one whose ephemeral passage to power, without the events of September 28, 2009, would perhaps have remained in the memories especially for the absurd television performances where he put down stooges .

Captain Camara, 57, has been responding since September 28, 2022 with a dozen former officials of the massacre perpetrated 13 years earlier. A return of that destiny he constantly invokes; it has made an obscure officer an incongruous head of state, and a head of state a presumed criminal.

Captain Camara was president that day and the following days when the red berets of his guard, soldiers, police and militiamen assassinated in a stadium in Conakry and around dozens of people gathered to dissuade him from running for the planned presidential election. in January 2010. Dozens of women were raped.

Captain Camara and a group of officers seized power on December 23, 2008 after the death of President Lansana ContĂ© was announced. “Without bloodshed,” he insists.

The next day, he proclaimed himself president. No civilian could manage this country plagued by corruption and ruled since independence by autocrats, he will then justify.

– The “Dadis Show” –

Captain Camara was then a stranger, a GuerzĂ©, an ethnic group from Forest Guinea, very far from Conakry. His father, illiterate according to him, was a peasant. “Me, I am a man of the people (…) I was born in a hut”, he insists once at the top.

After insignificant university studies, he entered in 1990 in this primordial institution which is the army. He made a career there as a steward. It is his commitment in 2007 and 2008 in mutinies for questions of balances and bonuses which earned him the rallying of a certain number of comrades, say the latter.

“I am the father of the Nation, that’s what fate also wanted,” he said in 2009.

At the beginning of his presidency, his speech for the people won him the support of many Guineans. He gives Senegalese president and neighbor Abdoulaye Wade the impression of a “pure young man who wants to do well”.

Invariably wearing his camouflage uniform, red beret on his head, he displays his authority in front of the crowds and the cameras. Vociferating or joking, with an intense gaze, he calls a Russian businessman a thief in front of everyone, lectures foreign diplomats, suspends the Director General of Customs directly. It is the “Dadis Show”, exalted and confused.

Quickly the multiplication of arrests and the vagueness maintained by Captain Camara on his intentions for the presidential election sow division. His sanity is in doubt.

With the massacre of September 28, his name is associated with possible crimes against humanity, one of the darkest pages in the contemporary history of Guinea, which is not lacking.

– Outmoded –

Tells him to have been “overwhelmed” by men out of control. He continues to speak in the third person and assures that “President Dadis was in his office”, the one where he works in the middle of portraits of himself in the military camp Alpha Yaya Diallo.

On December 3, his aide-de-camp shot him in the head because he allegedly tried to bring all the charges against him. He was evacuated to Morocco and then Burkina Faso where, in January 2010, on West African mediation, he gave up governing.

In exile, forced into political abstinence, he converted to Christianity. He announced his presidential candidacy in 2015 but was caught the same year by September 28, charged and prevented from running.

He returns in September 2022 for the trial. He intends to “tell (his) part of the truth”. He knows the shame of being incarcerated.

On December 5, ten weeks after the opening of the trial, the “little captain who became president through fate” according to his past words is called to testify for the first time, he joins the bar with an uncertain gait, in gloomy boubou, his eternal bracelet on his wrist, and asks for a postponement of the debates.

If the court refuses, he will testify. “I’m not above the law,” he admits. He humbly thanks when the court grants him a week’s respite. “Can I put the microphone down, Mr. President?”