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Int’l. Community Renews Pressure on Guinea Elections. Where’s the Pressure on Conde’s Impunity and Human Rights Abuses?

June 8, 2012

2010 Presidential Election:  Seems like FOSSEPEL, Guinea’s Election Cops, should have been guarding ballot boxes to prevent Louceny Camara, current president of the electoral commission, from stealing thousands of ballots in the first round in order to prevent Cellou Dalein Diallo from winning the election outright, rather than beating up and hauling away this young kid.

This week, both the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) stated they intend to increase pressure on the Conde government and the opposition to work together and finalize plans for the elections. In Conakry, Philippe Van Damm, EU representative, stated that the release of important EU funding to Guinea is dependent on a firm plan and detailed timetable for holding elections. The US, which is about to increase pressure on Guinea as well, held a meeting at the State department on Wednesday to receive feedback from NGOs on how this might best be accomplished.

Yet, the real question for the US and the EU is: How will forcing yet another fraudulent election on the people of Guinea bring stability to a country that is on the threshold of an ethnic civil war? The international community’s maniacal focus on holding elections as the last stage in Guinea’s transition to a civilian government extends no further than “holding elections.” What we don’t hear is a call for free and fair elections, a demand that Conde quit treating his political opponents as if they were enemies of the state, and a demand for the reconstitution of the electoral commission, including the ouster of convicted felon, Louceny Camara, as its president.

In addition, the international community cannot continue to pretend it doesn’t know that Conde has put ethnic relations on a powder keg and that legislative elections are the spark.  Legislative elections will be worse than what we witnessed in the 2010 presidential election: rife with ethnic hatred spewed by Conde and violence against the Peul ethnic group by his political forces and state security plus, all manner of state-sponsored repression, including extra-judicial killings of Peuls and rape of Peul women by security forces under the command of interim leader, Sekouba Konate.

If the international community decides it is best to support free and fair elections rather than simply a conclusion to the “transition,” the electoral commission would have to be eliminated and Alpha Conde would have to be deposed. If stability in Guinea is the goal to preserve international investment, forcing an election now amidst new heights of impunity and ethnic hatred displayed by Conde, will make the 2010 election violence look like a tea party.

And, finally, everything the opposition asks for regarding legislative elections is supported by law or common fair practices. It does not need, nor should it be forced, to compromise on anything. The international community’s job is to keep an eye on Alpha Conde and pressure him to do the right thing.  A very tall order, but it’s the price it must pay for a truly stable Guinea.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ibrahim permalink
    June 8, 2012 2:27 PM

    I do agree with you as usual; however to be fair, the opposition’s leaders and their team are too complacent: they are just doing some meetings with their fans and militants; and a march once a while thinking they are doing the right thing.
    Sorry! To me, it is not enough! Effective communication and press conferences intended to the international community with demonstrations abroad targeting the right international bodies such as the UN, ECOWAS, EU, IMF, World Bank and people like George Soros, Tony Blair and Bernard Kouchner who are helping Alpha Conde are much more effective. They need to warn the mining companies doing business with him while there is no parliament in Guinea monitoring their deals.
    Alpha Conde with less and less funds to waste may be more cooperative and he will have less means of corruption.
    The Guinean opposition have to be more imaginative and pro-active. So far, the opposition’s leaders have given Alpha Conde a soft ride, to me. They are only focused on the CENI and Louceny Camara while Alpha Conde is involved in murky deals such as the one revealed by the Sunday Times last week.

    • June 8, 2012 4:15 PM

      Thank you for your comment, Ollaid. Yes, when it comes to developing and implementing a strategy to engage those outside Guinea who are capable of applying pressure to Conde and helping the opposition, the opposition has done a bad job. I, too, think the rhetoric is old and tired. For once, it would be nice to hear an opposition leader make a speech to regular citizens and go on a rant about the lack of water and electricity, the abysmal health infrastructure, essentially the kind of things politicians know is music to constituents ears.

      I have a laundry list of things that I think the opposition should be doing, but none more important than media outreach. There should be a media team which arranges interviews with the international media (French, English, and Spanish through radio, tv, and print) for opposition leaders. The media love controversy and it would be easy to hook them on a struggle about an opposition in the majority fighting against an ethnic-baiting tyrant. Further, one or two off-camera interviews with an opposition protester who was brutalized by security forces and spent time in jail would be compelling.

      And, one more thing. The opposition should make sure that opposition supporters have cameras, both still and video, to document things we might hear about but never see, such as night raids in opposition neighborhoods such as Bambeto. The repression and brute force must be documented and must be widely distributed to a broad audience.

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