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Guinea Gov’t. Calling for Dialogue: Conde Talking the Talk With No Intention of Walking the Walk

September 26, 2011

Conde returned to Conakry yesterday and, in the evening, an announcement was read over State TV.  Conde wants a dialogue meeting with the opposition. Prime Minister Fofana is tasked with holding this meeting which is scheduled for 4PM today in Conakry.

The opposition collective held a press conference to say it doubts that Conde’s offer is genuine and that it will meet early today to decide its position regarding the meeting. Most important, meeting or no meeting, the opposition march scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, September 27 is ON.

It is not surprising that Conde called for dialogue.  Pressure is building on him to do so. He was in New York for the past week for the 66th session of the UN General Assembly and surrounded  by members of the international community itching to give him some advice.   The concern is that if Conde does not start working with the opposition, there will be no legislative elections and the transition to civilian rule will remain unfinished. No doubt, Conde was told in New York to stop treating the political opposition as if it is an enemy of the State.

In addition, a few days ago, the International Crisis Group issued a scathing report about how Conde is not managing the transition and accused him of trying to plan for the future of the country without participation by the opposition.

Finally, Conde must be contemplating the impact of the opposition march tomorrow. Without a doubt, the protest will be the largest Guinea has ever seen and each person will be carrying a placard and chanting slogans with one message for one man:  “Alpha Conde must go!”

The dialogue meeting, scheduled with less than 24 hours advance notice to the invitees, is likely to be a bust. And, it should be. There is nothing in it for the opposition. Conde is not calling for this meeting because of international community pressure nor a report that details everything he has done wrong since he came to office. Conde could care less about dialoguing. His primary motivation for such a meeting is to set a trap for the opposition to decline the invitation allowing him to pronounce it unwilling to cooperate with the government in planning the country’s future. This way he can justify the use of maximum force by his state security forces against protesters in Tuesday’s march.

For the people of Guinea, the talk has no walk.  Stay tuned.

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