The biggest news in Guinea is that the opposition, in dialogue talks with the government overseen by international facilitator, Said Djinnit, agreed this weekend for the work of the Waymark contractor to remain as part of the election as long as several conditions are met (see below). The removal of the Waymark contract is perhaps the longest-standing opposition condition for agreeing to participate in the dialogue and any subsequent elections. Djinnit, along with other international officials (ambassadors from France and the US, etc.) in attendance at the dialogue meetings, said they would assure the transparency of the election and would devote large sums of money for monitoring systems to ensure it. Further, Djinnit says that the work of Waymark is already complete and the contractor will not be used for any further aspect of the election.
The 800-pound gorilla in this situation is that the “fix is in” already in the Waymark contract and has been for a long time. Remember that the United Nations and the International Organization of the Francophonie reviewed the work of Waymark last year and the criticisms about lack of transparency and technical peculiarities were so damining that Conde’s government concealed both organizations’ reports from the opposition for months. Credible responses by the government to those criticisms have not been provided.
For those who witnessed the 2010 presidential election, it was not a pretty picture as evidence of massive fraud cropped up repeatedly and throughout the country. At that time, the international community was determined to hold the election come hell or high water. It can be argued that the international community is far more determined to hold legislative elections because having a national assembly, a representative body with an RPG majority, will serve to consolidate Conde’s power and “legitimize” his presidency, regardless of the illegitimate manner by which he came to office. Whether Waymark is involved in the actual election may be inconsequential. Recall in the 2010 election, it was RPG operative and CENI member, Louceny Camara, who personally stole thousands of ballots in Cellou Dalein Diallo strongholds in Conakry alone, causing Diallo to lose the overall election in the first round. The RPG, with back up from its militias, will be in solid control of legislative elections, regardless of international community guarantees.
As you will see, the ten conditions laid down by the opposition will be expensive to accomplish, take a lot of time to implement, and some will be impossible to confirm if they are met. The international community will not allow the process of satisfying the opposition’s demands go on forever and will soon collaborate with Conde to break the deal with the opposition and hold the election.
Below you will find a summary of discussions in the dialogue over the last few days, the list of the ten conditions the opposition is requiring before accepting Waymark to stay on, an account of the horse trading within the dialogue to make the international community the guarantor of the election and a few early reactions to the latest developments.
STAY TUNED . . .
Last week the re-convening of the dialogue was dependent on the government’s satisfaction of the opposition’s request for release of all their supporters incarcerated during peaceful opposition protests. Of the 50 supporters in jail, 38 were released with the government claiming that the remaining twelve were guilty of serious criminal offenses. Two parties of the opposition, Mouctar Diallo’s NFD and Faya Millimono’s Bloc Liberal withdrew from the dialogue talks saying they would not continue while supporters remain in jail.
On Thursday, talks between remaining opposition parties and the government began and continued throughout the weekend. As of today, Monday, the two sides have arrived at the following agreements:
-The government said it will allow those Guineans living outside the country to vote in legislative elections. Voting by Guineans in the diaspora is provided for by the Guinean constitution and represents about 3% of the vote. The government has maintained for a long time that there was not enough time and resources to include them in the voting, but now that the election has been postponed to June 30 and in all likelihood will be postponed again, the government’s excuses for not including them no longer hold water. While this is a long-standing demand of the opposition, the government’s primary tool for committing fraud in the election, the Waymark contract, remains posing legitimate concerns about the transparency of the diaspora vote.
The following information was gathered from africaguinee.com and guinee58.com translated into English via Google and edited by Guinea Oye.
-The biggest surprise is that the opposition agreed for the Waymark contract to remain in place, but under 10 conditions:
- Compensation for victims of state violence in the country.
- Request government to commit to carrying out investigations of those responsible for the violence to be tried and punished according to law.
- The opposition proposes the elections to be inclusive and that all the conditions are allowed, especially political leaders, to participate fully and freely in the elections, and that they are not subject to any restrictions .
- They also requested that the local administrations be neutral with respect to the electoral process.
- They asked for the reconstruction of CARLE (Administrative Commissions Revision of Electoral Rolls) with respect and in the spirit of the electoral law, the Electoral Code.
- They requested the reopening of the revision of electoral rolls.
- The opposition requested that it be allowed to recruit two experts who will join the team of international experts (SEE NOTE BELOW, ed.)
- The opposition called for the normal functioning of the CENI, according to statute and regulations and that it hold regular meetings of relevant bodies. (This issue has already been addressed in the context of the review of the issue on the CENI)
- The opposition requests that future payments for election contract assistance, including presidential election, a new operator should be chosen to remove the doubt and reassure everyone.
- Finally, the opposition suggested consideration of coupling of the legislative and municipal elections to best take advantage of the mobilization of voters and to reduce the overall expense of elections.
From guineenews.org, translated into English via Google, with editing by Guinea Oye
Regarding the issue of technical operator of the electoral register, Waymark, the two sides had divergent positions. Obviously, the presidential party expressed no objection to the technical operator, or on the electoral process in general. However, the delegation of the opposition has questioned the technical operator, including the selection process for the technical operator and expressed reservations about anything that relates to the technical operator and the electoral register and even wished for corrections to be made. At this point of the discussion, representatives of technical partners and the international community were invited to speak to clarify issues by providing information and assurances. From these statements, including the Francophonie, the European Union, UNDP, and representatives such as the United States, France and ECOWAS have all noted that the process of preparation of the electoral roll on the basis of work the current technical operator was secure and that a certain number of measures have been taken to properly secure this process. And they believe that is the whole range of security that have been made. They also indicated their willingness to take additional measures to further secure this process, if need be. In addition, they expressed their willingness to mobilize resources to support any exceptional decision that might be taken by other parties in Guinea.
It should be noted that with these clarifications, representatives of the international community, including technical partners who are directly involved in supporting the INEC and the preparation of the electoral roll, indicated to all stakeholders that the current technical operator who was involved in the preparation of the electoral list will not, however, be involved in the rest of the operations of the electoral process that relate to other organs and may be prescribed by the competent organs, but not the technical partner whose mandate is limited. Based on these assurances, the college of the facilitators in the spirit of compromise that has been sought since the beginning of the dialogue, especially on those issues that have been linked, whose fate has been linked, and which were discussed at the same time, a call was made by the facilitator on behalf of the college of facilitators, but also on behalf of the international community that it is within the college of the facilitators to ask the opposition to please, given all these guarantees and these assurances, agree to go to elections on the basis of the existing technical partner with all security measures provided and the additional measures that could be made. At this point, the opposition delegation wished to return with proposals (the ten conditions above). Return to debates, discussions on this issue, the opposition said it would be ready to join the electoral process on this basis, ie with the current technical operator, provided that a number of assurances and concerns are covered and guarantees made on a number of issues
Declaration by Said Djinnit, upon exiting the dialogue June 9, 2013: “The current technical operator (WAYMARK) who was involved in the preparation of the electoral list will not, however, be involved in the rest of the electoral process operations.”
Bah Oury, Vice-President of the UFDG opposition party and in exile in France, reacts to opposition agreeing for Waymark to stay on based on several conditions on adio program this Monday morning: “The Guinean political crisis is deeper than the issue of Waymark or elections. Accepting these agreements is a sadness and anger for many families who have lost children and is the cause of democracy is sacrificed “stated Oury Bah.
Faya Millimono, head of the Bloc Liberal opposition party called agreement to maintain Waymark contract, “catastrophic.”