US Embassy Official Meets with UFDG Officials to Find Out More About What’s Happening in Guinea
US Embassy Meets with UFDG Officials
This is a rough translation of an article which appeared a few days ago on the UFDG website concerning a visit made by a US embassy official to talk with the leadership of the UFDG to gain a better understanding of what is happening in Guinea.
Dr. Fode Oussou, UFDG VP, warmly welcomed the Charge d’Affaire for Politics and Economics of the US embassy in Conakry, Jason Wemhoener-Cuite and expressed appreciation for the US’ interest in democracy in Guinea and in meeting with the UFDG to discuss the topic.
Mr. Wemhoener-Cuite said he wanted to ask questions about a few specific issues and get UFDG’s input on each. The topics he raised are as follows:
-Current situation of Bah Oury
-The election of the current CENI president
-The return of Cellou Dalein Diallo to Guinea
-Current situation of the UFDG
In addition, Wemhoener-Cuite asked for clarification on progress made in having constructive dialogue with MATAD regarding legislative elections.
Dr. Fode Oussou asked UFDG official, El Hadj Aliou Conde, to respond to these inquiries.
El Hadj Aliou Conde described the various attempts made to dialogue with the MATD. He stated that the Ministry is trying to make decisions unilaterally and the UFDG believes that there should be dialogue, but certain pre-conditions should be met before dialogue can start. Without pre-conditions, the dialogue will be unmanageable and the RTG is likely to paint an untrue picture of the state of affairs in Guinea.
In terms of the CENI, the UFDG and the other opposition parties consider the appointment of Lounceny Camara a “non-event” because the issues go beyond him and the CENI. The entire election-related apparatus no longer has any legitimacy in the management of future legislative elections.
Several legal issues remain and must be resolved first. Those issues include: summary removal of elected officials, detention of political prisoners, the presence of public media, issue of prefects and sub-prefects and governors delivering instructions to the population directly from the central government. These facts present an obstacle to the free exercise of political activities, especially within the country, and must be dealt with before meaningful dialogue can take place.
In response, Wemhoener said that one of his projects in the coming days is to visit a colleague in Kankan and, if possible, to consider a joint delegation to go to the field and see “what’s actually happening.” Wemhoener highlighted the fact that political parties should be able to continue their activities in the capital as well as the countryside. Aliou Condé emphasized that the all-encompassing government restrictions include a ban on public gatherings in the streets for sporting events, marriages, not to mention political parties. Conde asked how members of a political party can hold a meeting in someone’s home.
Dr. Fode Oussou provided information about Cellou Dalein Diallo’s return to Guinea and his security. He said the July 19 inicident followed by the ransacking of Bah Oury’s home and caused a re-thinking of Diallo’s safety upon his return. For now, he remains outside the country.
Further, he said, that through the RFI interview, everyone learned of Bah Oury’s situation. For security reasons, the UFDG-VP had to take steps for his own safety after the military searched his home in the wake of July 19th. The UFDG does not understand to this day, why the military was sent to raid his home.
Dr. Fode Oussou explained for Mr. Wemhoener-Cuite that violations of the law and the constitution are legion in Guinea. Because of this, it is nearly impossible to speak of dialogue with the government if those at the helm don’t respect the basic principles of law in general and that of the opposition in particular. Regarding the proposed dialogue between the government and the Social Movement scheduled for the next day, Dr. Oussou said he would hold a press conference later in the afternoon
to say why they will not go to this mockery of dialogue at the Palais de Peuple.
General Aliou Condé added the fact that Alpha Conde said that the sponsors of the “attempt” on his life are of a certain community and there are political leaders who are abroad organizing things in Guinea.
Mr. Wemhoener-Cuite thanked the UFDG leadership for the in-depth summary of their issues of concern and wondered if there were questions for him. Dr. Fode Oussou asked if the international community, through the U.S. Embassy, keeps a watchful eye on violations of the law and constitution in Guinea. Further exacerbating these violations is the rhetoric of the President of the Republic which is far from reassuring and consistently singles out a particular community. He stated that, over time, these acts could have uncontrollable consequences. He ended by saying that UFDG is a party that is fighting for values and their most ardent wish is to go to the legislative elections in a quiet manner, and finish the transition.
Speaking of the Ministry of Administration and the Government, the Vice President said that they have had the code of the electoral roll for some time and we have the right to ask questions about any possibile tampering of the document. He continued by saying that the attention of the international
community must be drawn to this issue so as not to lose the opportunity to weigh in on this important aspect of the management review process. Aliou Conde raised the issue of the dissolution of the International Contact Group (ICG) to M. Wemhoener-Cuite and its replacement by the club of Friends of Guinea. He highlighted the need of Guinea to have this group in place to manage the end of this transition, as well as work with the Collective of opposition parties.
In turn, the diplomat said that the US embassy is watching certain issues closely such as the pressure placed on the National Communication Council (CNC) to cancel the decision not to comment on the “attempt” to assassinate the President of the Republic in the private media. He will discuss with other embassy officials about organizing visits to prisoners to ensure that their treatment respects their human rights in all its rigor. In general, the diplomat said that they also have contacts with the MATD and that a dialogue with the opposition is needed if they want to move forward to the end of this transition. He
said he will be prepared to continue to press for the organization of the legislative elections as soon as possible, and in a transparent manner.
Before closing, he summarized the purpose of President Obama’s meeting with the four presidents on July 29.
Offer congratulations on the electoral process that led to the democratic election of a president in these countries;
2. The need to organize as soon as possible legislative elections in order to finish the transition process.
Wemhoener-Cuite, in essence, said he will pass the message along to the Ambassador as requested, for the United States to do everything it can through the Club of Friends of Guinea to keep a careful eye on what’s going on in Guinea regarding relations between the government and the opposition.
Finally, Dr. Fode Oussou, UFDG thanked Mr. Wemhoener-Cuite and affirmed that UFDG remains available for any meeting to discuss issues along the lines of respect for law in the management of the of end of the transition.
Thus, a beautiful photo was taken to seal the friendship between the American Embassy and UFDG and is as an example of the cooperation and trust in the management of Guinean political problems.
Clearly, through this meeting, the UFDG remains, in the eyes of Americans, the key opposition party on the Guinean political landscape. Further, with the visit of Koro Alpha to Washington, Obama has given strong signals to the President and his Guinean Embassy there that Guinea will not return to the old ways and that dialogue between stakeholders is an essential element to ensure credible elections.