The CIA’s “Softer” Sidekick Hosts Guinea’s Alpha Conde for Democracy Discussion – It Was Anything But
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a “democracy” promotion organization. In 1991, Allen Weinstein who helped draft the legislation to establish NED, in an incredible moment of candor said: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” Both theNED and the CIA maintain that their work supports democracy. Yet, the governments and movements whom the NED targets call it “destabilization.” – NED of USA
The NED was established in 1983 by Ronald Reagan, not for democracy promotion, but to fill a void created by a 1975 Executive Order signed by Gerald Ford which banned US-sanctioned assassinations against foreign leaders The work of NED can be boiled down to two themes: achieving regime change without assassinating leaders and keeping other leaders in place well beyond term limits and the toleration of its people. The latter theme appears to be the reason Alpha Conde appeared at NED’s National Democratic Institute this past Monday. In addition to hosting Alpha Conde, NDI president, Ken Wollack, stated that his organization will be helping out with the upcoming legislative elections and the NDI office in Guinea is already making preparations. It’s tempting to give kudos to those trying to get Guinea’s legislative elections on track, but given that NDI is involved, it would be wise to hold your applause.
What a show Alpha Conde put on at NDI. Much to everyone’s shock, Conde began with a ten minute lecture defending his win in the November 2010 election! Given ample evidence that he did not win the election and, in fact, stole it, you would think this would be the last topic he would bring up. Amazingly, he talked about things he did to steal the election andthen pinned them on rival candidates.
When Ben Sekou Sylla, president of Guinea’s electoral commission, the CENI, died, Conde and then interim president, Sekouba Konate placed a party operative by the name of Louceny Camara at the helm of the organization for the express purpose of stealing the election for Conde from the inside.
Camara committed several acts of voter fraud on behalf of Conde, but when charges were brought against him, they were ignored by authorities, causing great discord throughout the country and a several month delay in getting to the second round.
When Conde proceeded to blame his political rivals for fraudulent activity, the audience gasped. Conde explained that fellow presidential candidate, Sidya Toure, controlled the CENI! Further, Conde claimed that his primary rival, Cellou Dalein Diallo, was in charge of the election computers which he maintains were rigged against him. These were truly preposterous claims given that the Camara-controlled CENI fudged the numbers in order to knock Toure out of the second round replacing him with Conde and it was Camara’s manipulation and control of election computers that allowed this and Conde’s theft of the second round of the election as well.
As Conde provided this detailed, but fictional account of the election, members of his entourage and his US-based backers in the audience began squirming in their seats, exchanging hand signals, trying to figure a way to stop his bizarre exposition. Lying throughout, Conde waded into dangerous territory solely so he could blame his rivals for things for which he is culpable and that can be fact-checked easily.
Later, Conde received various questions regarding human rights, including his use of anti-Peul rhetoric, following up on human rights abuses associated with September 28, 2009, and keeping Claude Pivi and Tiegboro Camara, both implicated in the September 28 atrocities, in his cabinet.
He said people accuse him of being anti-Peul, but he wants everyone to know he is president of all the people of Guinea. He followed up quickly by saying that he intends to focus on issues of corruption and monopolies. “Monopolies” is code for Peul business people and given Conde’s numerous public statements that Peul business people destroyed the country’s economy, he is providing yet more evidence that he is, indeed, anti-Peul.
Regarding September 28, 2009, massacre against opposition members, Conde was downright flippant. He said that a lot of people were killed at Camp Boiro under Sekou Toure, too. He said he was not responsible for human rights and that he cannot stabilize the army to please human rights organizations.
Conde claimed that Pivi and Camara, well-known participants in the September 28 massacre, were no longer, in his cabinet. Regardless of their title, these two henchman remain at the service of Alpha Conde – something that is of concern to the people of Guinea as well as the international human rights community. He excused his hiring of Pivi and Camara by saying that it was done at the behest of Sekouba Konate, former interim president. Conde said he isn’t crazy (this is debatable) and as Guinea’s first civilian president he wasn’t about to go up against General Konate. He closed the topic by saying as long as people are not “condemned,” why shouldn’t he work with them??
Then, in response to a question about why he did not have people from “across the spectrum” in his government, Conde explained over the course of several minutes, that his cabinet was more multi-ethnic than it appeared. He gave examples of ministers in his cabinet with the same last name, but who are of different ethnic groups – Malinke, Soussou and Forest. Many in the audience seemed dumbfounded with the the excruciating detail he offered to support his claim while his entourage stared nervously at the clock and probably prayed for the fire alarm to go off.
Conde discussed his plans for reform of the justice sector including plans for training judges. Every time Conde spoke of reform of the justice sector, he said the same thing: In order to attract investors to Guinea two things are necessary — security and justice. Never once did he mention the importance of security and justice for the people.
At the end of the program, the audience heard from other members of the panel: Ken Wollack, Director of NDI, Dave Peterson, Director of the Africa Program at the National Endowment for Democracy, and Jennifer Cooke, director of Africa Programs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Wollack reiterated NDI’s interest in helping out with Guinea’s upcoming legislative elections.
Peterson said emphasis should be placed on the fact that Guinea is an independent and sovereign country that “has democracy now.” Sure, it does.
It was Ms. Cooke who drew thunderous applause with her comment to Conde that human rights should be the ultimate concern of the Guinean government.
Thankfully, the meeting adjourned on this upbeat note and Conde headed back to Guinea.
Mr. Conde’s performance was as egotistical as it was ridiculous. Guinea Oye! lost count of the half-truths, innuendo, and outright lies and is more convinced than ever that the good, brave people of Guinea are saddled, once again, with a leader who is not worthy of them.