Meeting with Conde: More Like Kumbaya Mea Culpa
Alpha Conde stacked the deck yesterday by inviting a boatload of political party leaders allied with him to join a meeting meant to “re-connect” with opposition leaders. Participants related that Conde said all the right things: he intends to re-establish a dialogue with the opposition and he wants the decision about the date for legislative elections to be done in a consensual manner (the election will take place sometime during the first quarter of 2012.)
But, the ringer came when Conde told his guests that he accepts responsibility for mistakes committed by both the Guinean military and the police. He explained that since he is the Defense Minister, he is also head of the military. Further, as the President of Guinea, he heads the police as well. If you interpret “mistakes” broadly, Conde made a stunning admission of guilt on many fronts. Did he mean to say this? Absolutely. But what he means by it is, “In case anyone is thinking about going after me for those ‘mistakes,’ they will have to go through the military and police first. Alternatively, if anyone is going after soldiers and the police, they will have to go through me.” Conde’s willingness to do a mea culpa on behalf of soldiers and police deepens their loyalty to him. In addition, it signals that soldiers and police can continue to make “mistakes” and Conde will cover for them.
Normally, a head of state’s admission of responsibility in this regard, would be music to the ears of the International Criminal Court. But, wait a minute, didn’t the ICC come to Guinea one time before to investigate crimes against humanity committed on September 28, 2009? Yes. Wasn’t the investigation dropped like a hot potato by the ICC? Yes, again. Then, why was it dropped? The threat of an ICC indictment against Junta Chief, Dadis Camara, was a tool used by the West to get him out of Guinea so he could no longer command the 50,000 soldier army. When he was shot by a colleague in December 2009 and forced to leave Guinea for recovery in Morocco and exile in Burkina Faso, the objective was met and the ICC investigation was no longer needed. The ICC never intended to prosecute Dadis Camara or anyone in the military for its actions on September 28, 2009, because it and the West thought indictments of soldiers would cause a country-wide rebellion and interfere with the 2010 presidential elections. Conde must figure that if the ICC didn’t prosecute Camara, he can do mea culpas forever and it will never prosecute him.
And now that Alpha Conde is the head of the military and the police, it’s doubtful the ICC will come calling. After all, the West is pushing for legislative elections in the first quarter of 2012 and is likely to ignore all kinds of “mistakes,” including those made by the guy who stole the 2010 election for Conde, Lounceny Camara, who is the current president of Guinea’s electoral commission. Of course, it’s possible that Conde could announce on State TV tomorrow that he is the head of the commission.