GUINEA 8-25: Opp. March 8-27, Conde’s CENI Coup, Zogota Crisis Comm. Official Arrested, and If That’s Not Enough — Cholera
FLASH OPPOSITION MARCH ON FOR MONDAY, AUGUST 27 see item further below
Conde’s CENI Coup: Strips the National Transition Council’s Decisionmaking Function and Puts Issue in Hands of RPG Party Loyalists
This week Rabiatou Serah Diallo, president of the Transition Council, presented Conde with recommendations for ending the country’s political crisis over the composition of the electoral council, the CENI. But the document presented to Conde was not the work of the CNT, in fact, few of the CNT members even saw it. Rather, an ad hoc committee of civil society and women’s and religious groups prepared the document. The president of this committee is none other than Dr. Makale Traore, Conde’s former campaign manager and present RPG party spokeswoman.
In effect, Conde’s coup at the CNT excluded Guinea’s political class from weighing in on the CENI issue and placed the issue in the hands of party loyalists. Notably, the recommendations do not deal with the primary issue of reorganizing the CENI to ensure integrity and transparence in future elections. Yet, one explicit recommendation was made: the next chair of the CENI should be a woman. Whether the crown is being prepared specifically for Dr. Traore is unknown. It is contrary to Guinean law to make a gender-based requirement for filling a position.
This turn of events also suggests that Conde will rule on issues concerning the CENI by decree while Guinea’s only lawmaking body, the CNT, has just been put on ice. The document of “recommendations” presented by Rabiatou Diallo to Conde is available in French .
Opposition March, Monday, August 27 – Harsh State Repression Expected
It’s been a long time since the opposition marched in the streets of Conakry. In addition to the composition of the electoral council, the CENI, and Alpha Conde’s relentless impunity, the opposition is also fired up by recent incidents of state-sponsored violence in Zogota and Siguiri. And, just this week, Guineans observed a bait and switch in which Conde swindled the country by cutting the National Transition Council out of the business of making decisions regarding the CENI and placed the issue in a “committee” headed by Conde’s former campaign manager, Dr. Makale Traore. )
The march route will be from Matoto to the September 28 stadium. Opposition coordinators submitted a request to march to the appropriate authorities, but have not received a response. With no answer, the opposition will assume permission has been granted, and will proceed with the march on Monday. The Governor of Conakry, Resco Camara and the head of of the gendarmerie, Gen. Ibrahima Balde, have alternately threatened demonstrators with harsh punishment if they try to march. Security services put opposition supporters on notice that “walking” is forbidden on Monday, August 27.
Zogota Crisis Committee Meeting Planner Arrested (UPDATED 8=26)
The Crisis Committee, formed in response to the recent state-supported Zogota massacre, planned a meeting for Saturday, August 25 in Ratoma. The official responsible for making meeting plans, Mamadou Alpha Diallo, was arrested by gendarmes on Friday afternoon. Chair of the Crisis Committee, Faya Millimono, and other members of the Committee went to the gendarmerie in Taoyah, where Diallo is being held, to obtain more information.
The Crisis Committee continued with its plans to meet at Nongo stadium yesterday in spite of a ban by Ratoma authorities. There were initial reports of violent police repression, but it appears that standoffs between meeting attendees and security forces were limited to heated arguments about whether the Crisis Committee had the right to hold the meeting. The police were particularly aggressive with members of the press. In the end, the meeting came to an early close. UFDG member Ousmane Diallo said that participants had come to the meeting to mourn the dead. “I want to see the law against mourning the dead.”
In seven months, a cholera epidemic has moved throughout the country. As of August 14, 2,861 have been reported with 75 deaths. The epidemic is particularly persistent in Lower Guinea, in the prefecture of Forecariah, which has 311 reported cases and 25 deaths. In other areas of the country: the prefectures of Mamou with 66 cases including 9 deaths, Boffa 170 cases and 8 deaths, Coyah 165 cases and 3 deaths, Boke 39 cases and 3 deaths, Fria 52 cases and 2 deaths, Dubréka 61 cases and 2 deaths, Kindia 36 cases including 3 deaths, Kankan 30 cases and 4 deaths.
Yesterday, the Russian mining company, RUSAL announced that it will sponsor an extensive program to respond to the cholera epidemic.