Guinea Update: Opposition to Take Election Case to ECOWAS Justice Court and The Right to Resist a Repressive Regime
November 17, 2013
Next Steps for Opposition
As expected, the Guinean opposition is checking closely with its base before deciding on the course to follow after announcement of the “results” by the Supreme Court on Friday evening, Nov. 17. It looks like they will announce their future plans sometime on Tuesday.
The opposition points out firmly that the manner in which the Court didn’t deal election complaints filed concerning fraud or irregularities is unprecedented. The Court essentially said that it was not “competent” to rule on the complaints because they do not consider such complaints to be under their purview! With the Supreme Court punting on this issue, the people have no legal recourse in Guinea for dealing with serious election disputes.
This is quite a different outcome than in the 2010 presidential election when the Court disqualified votes from five constituencies. If the Court was competent in 2010, why is it not competent to address disputes in 2013. Of course there is practical reason for this — it’s Pandora’s box. If you open the box to deal with even one dispute you are opening yourself to dealing with many more.
As a result, the opposition intends to seek redress from the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Court of Justice to request a total or partial elimination of the legislative election results.
The Right to Resist a Repressive Regime
Various Guinean websites are reporting that opposition youth are gathered at the axis of Hamdallaye-Bambeto-Cosa, in Conakry. Both yesterday and today they put up barricades and burned tires along the entrances into their neighborhoods. Today, word spread through the area that an independent journalist was kidnapped by security forces which brought even more people to the streets.
What is not being said is that the opposition protesters are not out on the streets by themselves. As Conde has done all along, he sends into the opposition neighborhoods a full array of police, gendarmes, Malinke militias, FOSSPEL, and Donzos as provocateurs against opposition youth. Conde also uses foreign mercenaries from Sierra Leone and Liberia (where those who committed much of the 2009 massacre originated), whom you can expect to be on the scene soon, if not already.
An important clarification is required here. Opposition protests are often described as “violent protests,” or protests which have “turned violent.” What this leaves out is that these protests have been consistently peaceful. If violence does occur, it is at the hands of state-sponsored forces and it is not used to curb crime, but to provoke. After three years of state attacks on peaceful marchers and repeated encroachments into their neighborhoods without cause, in which people were killed, women were raped and homes and businesses were burned, it is only in the last six months that opposition supporters have begun to defend themselves, which is their right.
A right, no doubt, they will have to exercise as Conde’s next wave of repression sweeps the country to silence the overwhelming majority of Guinean voters who did not vote for him.