Guinea in Non-Democratic Spiral Downward: Conde Bans Political Meetings and Just About Everything Else
After two lawyers were arrested at a jail in Conakry, while seeking the release of two detainees, the Lawyers’ Association threatened to hold a protest today. They accused the governor of the capital, Sekou Resco Camara, of arresting the two lawyers, and demanded that Camara appear in court on Nov. 16 for “abuse of his authority and interference in a judicial affair.”
Last night, Guinea’s Territorial Administration Minister, Alhassane Conde, said the Government has banned all demonstrations which have not been approved by relevant authorities.
As the saying goes, the devil is in the details. Minister Conde made the most of his ban on demonstrations by extending it to cover political meetings, street marches, and processions.
Wow! Guinea is in a dizzying, non-democratic spiral downward as Conde’s administration makes a mockery of the rule of law and democratic guarantees are thrown out the window. First, you have to wonder what has happened to the two detainees now that their attorneys are incarcerated as well. On the bright side, maybe they will have a better chance of conferring with their lawyers while they are all on the inside together. Second, the ban on political meetings is about the worst thing Conde can do in an election year because it screams to the world that Conde intends to muzzle Guinea’s political opposition. The ban on processions appeared ridiculous at first, but now it makes perfect sense. The massive number of mourners, who turned out for the funeral procession for the three young men who were killed by state-sponsored violence during a peaceful opposition march on September 27, must have left quite an impression on Conde. Given that such processions are filled with people who would like to see Conde on a one-way flight out of the country, it is to his advantage to prevent them from amassing in the streets of Conakry.
Once again, to the international community we must ask, “how’s your ‘democratically-elected’ president looking now?”