Conde Issues Decree to Convene the Nat. Transition Council to Handle 2014 Budget Bill, Not the National Assembly – Then All Hell Breaks Loose
Articles from Guinean news sites appear at the end, translated into English via Google with editing by Guineaoye. Each article includes a link to the original French version.
Yesterday, Guineaoye issued a post about Conde’s three-year sabotage of opposition efforts to participate in the governance of the country by continuously skirting and ignoring the law. The post focuses on Conde’s use of decrees to conduct the business of government and using the National Transition Council (NTC) for the necessary rubber stamping. This approach assures him full control of the country without a democratic framework. Without this framework, he avoids working with the opposition.
Yesterday, Conde provided a clear demonstration of his non-collaborative approach in politics. He issued a decree to reconvene the National Transition Council (an interim legislative body created after the departure of junta leader, Dadis Camara, which continues its role until the seating of deputies in the National Assembly) to review the Finance Bill of 2014, which the administration says must be approved by a December 31 deadline. According to Conde’s administration, the short timeframe prevents the government from sending the Bill to the National Assembly for review and approval because its recently elected deputies have not been seated yet.
Yesterday, the opposition issued a joint statement (further below) rejecting the government’s explanation, saying that Assembly deputies have been ready to take their seats since November 15, the day the Supreme Court handed down its decision on the “final” tally of votes in the legislative elections, claiming that Conde is dragging his feet on the formal convocation of the Assembly. Further, the opposition demands that the Budget bill be directed to the National Assembly where new members can assure transparency on behalf of the voters they represent.
Minister of Budget Mohamed Diarre defended Conde’s decision this morning in a presentation before the NTC where the bill is under review. In addition, he provided some background on particular budget issues. He stated there was a slowdown in economic activity in 2013 for which the government assumes full responsibility. He explained that the slowdown resulted partly from mining, specifically, the Simandou project and the stopping of alumina production at the Friguia plant. Further, he stated that the “political unrest” prior to the elections was a factor in the loss of investor confidence.
Rabiatou Serah Diallo, the chair of the National Transition Council, is the convener of today’s budget review meeting. The opposition continues to be disappointed by Ms. Diallo’s performance, largely seen as kow-towing to Conde’s request for rubber stamps. Many hoped that Diallo would be a leader on issues associated with the welfare of the populace, but her record remains lackluster. And, the relationship does not seem to improve as, yesterday, Ms. Diallo criticized the opposition for its negative response to Conde’s decree by sending a “get over it” message.
Diallo is a long way from the clenched-fist, union leader who marched with thousands along Fidel Castro Hwy in 2007 staring down the barrel of guns carried by mercenaries from Guinea-Bissau whom Lansana Conte employed to help get rid of his “labor problem.” Several people were killed and hundreds were injured. Based on her labor background, Diallo began to be known throughout West Africa as a fighter for the people of Guinea. When she became the president of the NTC, her notoriety increased in international circles, and many thought she would make a good president of Guinea. It was smart of the government to co-opt the union leader by bringing her into the government. Now, Ms. Diallo will be remembered as Alpha Conde’s lackey.
And, Mr. Conde is doing what he does best, exercising every option available to ensure a clandestine passage of legislation. He by-passed the National Assembly because his Finance Bill of 2014 would not survive the scrutiny, especially of the opposition deputies. Conde’s next battlefield will be the National Assembly using his familiar weapon of every under-handed, undemocratic means, otherwise he can’t win.
And, the international community’s brow-beating of the opposition into running in the 2013 election, not marching in the streets, making appeals about fraud to a fraudulently-operated Supreme Court and taking a seat in an institution where the majority of the RPG deputies arrived thanks to the fraudulent manipulations of the vote by the government and the CENI, shame on you. Your hypocrisy knows no end.
Opening of the 2014 budget session
The National Transition Council, NTC, which is at the end of its mission, will examine tomorrow, Wednesday, and for the next two weeks, the draft budget law of 2014, Aminata.com learned from sources.
Until we know what motivated the government to entrust this charge to members of the NTC who were preparing logically to make their holiday season away from the chamber, a decree of the Head of State convening an opening session of the NTC and a statement calling the CNT members are expected tonight.
According to the constitution, the budget session opens each year in October to finish in December. If unable to do so, it is justifiable for an extraordinary session to be convened no later than the end of the first quarter of the fiscal year.
Since 2010, the government somehow managed to follow the procedure but this year, many people are questioning the delay for this purpose. The most authoritative voices were clear, in talking with Aminata.com, that for two months everything has been ready and the government supposedly expected the installation of the new Assembly to take place soon.
The 2013 balanced budget had revenues and expenditures over 13,000 billion Guinean francs could be revised upwards, according to a specialist. Internally, the installation of Parliament and those of certain legal institutions (the Constitutional Court, the Court of Auditors, …) could inflate costs.
On the revenue side, the almost unanimous reaction was positive and partners who financially support the country after the holding of legislative should necessarily improve the situation. 2014 is the penultimate year in office, significant investments in development projects could be announced, if our sources are confirmed.
By a decree read on CBC national radio Tuesday, President Alpha Condé convened the members of the National Transition Council (parliament transition) tomorrow Wednesday for the opening of the extraordinary budget session during which the Finance Act will be discussed and adopted.
The president relied on Article 157 of the Constitution to justify his decision. Under this provision, the NTC ensures all legislative functions until the installation of the National Assembly.
According to a statement from the President of the NTC, Haja Rabiatou Serah Diallo, was on the same wavelength, and will open the NTC session at 11 am Wednesday in the presence of the Prime Minister, members of government, presidents of republican institutions and several other dignitaries, both Guinean and foreign.
According to our information, the NTC must consider and adopt this legislation before 31 December 2013, in order to give the Guinean state this legal instrument necessary for its operation by January 2014.
The National Assembly is not been able to do this job within this timeframe, according to a government official. “Elect the chairman of the meeting, the Executive Office, parliamentary committees, training of parliamentary groups, the adoption of rules of procedure etc. .. will necessarily take time. Yet it takes a budget for Guinea to operate normally from 1 January 2014, “justifies” a minister.
The Republican Opposition.
The Republican Opposition is aware of the transmission to the National Transitional Council (NTC), by the Government, of the Project Finance Act 2014 for adoption by the NTC. Yet, all conditions required for the installation of the National Assembly were met upon November 15, 2013, the date of publication of the judgment of the Supreme Court declaring the final results of the parliamentary elections of 28 September 2013.
The Opposition strongly condemns this anti-democratic process selected by the Government which negates expressions of universal suffrage and testimony and has resulted in profound contempt for the choice made by the people of Guinea as they exercised their right to vote.
For more than a month, the President of the Republic has refused to convene the Parliament, among other other reasons, because of his desire to withhold the 2014 Budget review and the anointment of a real parliament composed of elected representatives of the People of Guinea.
By agreeing to adopt the budget and making an improper interpretation of Article 157 of the Constitution, the National Transition Council remains in place until the installation of the new Assembly, the members of the NTC take on a heavy responsibility before the People of Guinea and could be found guilty of serious fraud in replacing Deputies who are legally and legitimately recognized.
The Republican Opposition calls upon the Government to withdraw the Finance Bill of 2014. It also invites NTC advisors to declare members incompetent to decide on such an important matter as the State budget while the elected deputies are ready to begin the work of Parliament for which they received the mandate of the people and the national and international opinion is pending the convening of the first session of the National Assembly after the election on September 28.
Conakry, December 17, 2013.