Why Guinea’s Election Crisis Matters by Peter Pham

The Guinean opposition has always enjoyed the support of the overwhelming majority of Guineans, as evidenced in this 2013 video.

The following article appeared in the April 23, 2015 issue of the US News and World Report. You will not find a better assessment of the dire political situation in Guinea today.  The author, Peter Pham, is to be commended for his research and for parsing out the truth often masked by government disinformation campaigns.

Why Guinea’s Election Crisis Matters
The country is key to maintaining peace and stability in West Africa.

Guinea security forces and protesters on Monday, April 13, 2015.
By J. Peter Pham April 23, 2015 | 11:00 a.m. EDT + More

The international community breathed a collective sigh of relief following the recent presidential, parliamentary and gubernatorial elections in Nigeria. Although the competition was the fiercest Nigerians have ever seen and the polls were marred by some irregularities and a few regrettable episodes of violence, the graceful concession of the defeated incumbent president and the magnanimity of his challenger pave the way for next month’s historic peaceful, democratic handover of power in Africa’s most populous country. It is a significant milestone, not only for Nigeria, but for Africa as a whole.
But imagine what would have happened if President Goodluck Jonathan had rigged the election process or simply refused to accept President-elect Muhammadu Buhari’s win at the ballot box? That’s what President Alpha Conde is trying to do in nearby Guinea, a geopolitically sensitive nation in the same West African subregion, where the political upheaval and ethnic conflict being risked could easily spill over into neighboring countries, including Mali, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast, all of which are just themselves emerging from prolonged periods of civil strife. Consequently, there is an urgent need for the international community to engage more robustly in Guinea. The good news from Nigeria should not be an excuse for complacency about the prospects for democracy and stability elsewhere in the region.
Moreover, we should not view Guinea merely through the prism of Ebola, despite the efforts of the incumbent president to blame everything on the epidemic of which his country has been the unfortunate epicenter, as he shamelessly did this past week in Washington. Even before the outbreak of deadly disease wreaked havoc with the economy, both urban and rural poverty were increasing during the president’s tenure according to his own finance ministry’s report to the International Monetary Fund. Unable to run on his weak record, Conde, in office since a disputed election in 2010, is using every trick in the book to remain in power. Recently, the regime has been increasingly blatant in rigging the electoral process to ensure that it “wins” the elections scheduled for less than six months from now.
The political opposition realizes that it is being railroaded by the government, which controls the so-called Independent National Electoral Commission. That body has rejiggered the electoral calendar to give an insurmountable advantage to the incumbent president, who has refused to engage in a political dialogue with the opposition for almost a year.
Frustrated by both the government’s intransigence and the international community’s lack of attention, the coalition representing the major opposition parties has taken to the streets to demand free, fair and transparent elections. The peaceful demonstrations, including a massive one planned for this Thursday, have continued despite the regime’s attempts to violently repress them. On Monday, for example, several protesters, including a 15-year-old boy, were wounded when live rounds were fired at them by police.
As a result of these demonstrations, Conde’s government has finally offered to renew dialogue with the opposition. However, Cellou Dalein Diallo, a free-market economist and former prime minister, and other leaders of the opposition coalition have declined to participate in talks with the government until two conditions are met: the pro-government electoral commission must cease to function and be revamped; and the timetable for elections which the commission unilaterally announced must be dropped in favor of one which represents the consensus of all stakeholders. Speaking from Paris on Wednesday, Conde rejected any change to the election timetable.
The preconditions are necessary because opposition leaders do not trust Conde and think that the offer of negotiations is little more than a clever trap, just fruitless dialogue designed to waste time as the electoral clock continues to tick.
The opposition is confident that it has the support of the masses. Of course, it will have to prove that assertion at the polls. But for that to occur, the entire electoral process must be free, fair and transparent. And the process has to begin long before the Oct. 11 date chosen for the presidential vote. The opposition is demanding, quite reasonably, that local elections that Conde has postponed on one pretext or another for more than four years be held before the presidential poll, in accordance with Guinea’s laws as well as the repeated promises of the president himself.
Why is this so important? First, there is no basis in the Guinean constitution for the repeated postponements of these elections and, as a result of them, as both opposition politicians and civil society leaders have pointed out, none of those occupying local government offices – mayors, local council members, ward chiefs, etc. – has a legal mandate. Second, as many observers have noted, the criteria under which these officials have been retained without the consent of their constituents has been their allegiance to the president. Third, these same unelected local officials, dependent as they are upon the incumbent for their livelihood, will be the very people who, at the grassroots level, will not only be determining who can register to vote ahead of the polls and who casts ballots on election day, but will themselves be counting ballots and tabulating results.
Opposition candidates and pro-democracy advocates alike fear, justifiably, based on their experience in the controversial 2010 presidential election from which many reports emerged of fraud, that the process will be corrupted. Thus, these activists have called on the international community, especially the United Nations, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, the European Union, France and the United States, to engage more energetically in Guinea to ensure a level playing field for the upcoming local and presidential elections. Deploying foreign observers to monitor polling sites on election day would be too little too late.
Why does Guinea matter? Why should the international community, with so many crises demanding attention, even care? Guinea matters because it constitutes a case of arrested development, a country which has never realized its ambitions despite extraordinary human and natural resources – among other things, it holds two-thirds of the world’s largest reserve of bauxite, and prodigious amounts of gold, diamonds, iron ore, graphite, manganese and other mineral resources – that could make Guinea potentially one of the richest nations in Africa. Alas, since independence in 1958, the country has been run by a series of authoritarian leaders who have ruled from the top down for the benefit of the fortunate few, not for the entire nation. Moreover, without credible elections, Guinea risks plunging into a profound political crisis and, indeed, outright conflict. Ethnic tensions are already being stoked and, in a region whose borders were very recently shown by the rapid spread of the Ebola virus to be all-too-porous, such conflicts will be impossible to contain.
To head off this very real threat, the international community needs to engage now to ensure free, fair and transparent elections yielding credible results acceptable to all Guineans. It not only matters for the people of Guinea, but is critical to maintaining peace, stability, and democratic gains of the entire region.
J. Peter Pham is director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.

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Declaration de la Coordination nationale Haali-pular suite a la marche de l’opposition duu 13 et 14 avril 2015 a Conakry

Déclaration de la Coordination nationale Haali-pular suite a la marche de l’opposition du 13 et 14 avril 2015 à Conakry.

2015-04-20 07:37:12
Suite à la dernière manifestation de l’opposition guinéenne du 13 et 14 Avril 2015 qui dénonce l’insécurité et demande l’organisation des élections communales avant l’élection présidentielle, la Coordination Nationale Haali-Pular de Guinée est profondément choquée et révoltée par les agissements criminels des forces dites de sécurité déployées dans Ratoma particulièrement le long de l’axe de Hamdallaye à Sonfonia. Une fois encore, ces hommes en uniforme ont repris leurs sales habitudes de descendre dans les domiciles privés pour tuer, blesser, torturer et détruire tout sur leur passage avec des injures à caractères ethnocentristes à l’égard des haali-pular.
La Coordination Nationale Haali-Pular condamne avec la dernière énergie la répression sauvage et sanglante dont est victime sa communauté dans la commune de Ratoma et interpelle une fois encore la communauté internationale et le gouvernement guinéen. Elle ne tolérera plus ces actes criminels commandités par le pouvoir en place et exécutés par les forces criminelles formées et endoctrinées contre les peulhs. Nous savons que ces tueurs et ces violeurs sont recrutés à la Casse et à la Sig Madina pour tuer nos enfants. Ce sont des actes préparés et planifiés contre les haali-pular par le pouvoir en place pour des motifs politiques.
Des manifestations ont eu lieu partout à Conakry, mais on n’a compté des morts ,des blessés des destructions et des arrestations que dans la commune de Ratoma. A Matoto, Matam et Kaloum, il n’ya eu aucun blessé par balle, aucune arrestation aucune, descente dans des domiciles privés.
Nous n’accepterons plus que des criminels à la solde du régime tuent nos enfants. Nous avons compté dans Ratoma trois morts par balles réelles tirées à bout portant sur les organes sensibles :la poitrine ou la tête ne laissant aucune chance de survie aux victimes. Des dizaines de blessés par balles et une trentaine de blessés suite à des bastonnades et des tortures. Plusieurs arrestations dont la plupart dans leurs domiciles, sans parler des dizaines de milliards de francs guinéens perdus à l’occasion des pillages et des incendies des magasins et domiciles. Ces personnes injustement arrêtées, le gouvernement s’est empressé de les condamner par sa justice expéditive conduite par ses juges corrompus aux ordres de ce pouvoir injuste et impitoyable alors que les assassins ne sont pas inquiétés. Mais Allah ne dors pas et a dit dans le Saint-Coran que celui qui tue volontairement un être humain, c’est comme s’il a tué l’humanité toute entière.
Assassins de nos enfants, faites les calculs : depuis 2011, vous avez supprimé volontairement la vie de soixante jeunes peulhs, blessés des centaines dont des dizaines sont handicapés à vie dans Ratoma. Dieu vous attend pour votre récompense.
La Coordination Nationale Haali-Pular, toujours soucieuse de la préservation de la Paix et de la quiétude sociale dans ce pays a écrit plusieurs fois au gouvernement guinéen, aux ambassades de France, des USA, d’Allemagne, à la CEDEAO, à l’Union Africaine, à l’Union Européenne, aux Nations-Unies et aux organisations de défense des droits de l’Homme sur l’injustice, l’arbitraire, la ségrégation, l’exclusion et la répression sauvage et sanglante dont nous sommes victimes de la part du pouvoir en place. Toutes ces organisations, toutes ces ambassades sont restées de marbre et personne n’a daigné nous répondre. Et pourtant nous avons les accusés de réception de toutes les correspondances qui leur ont été adressées. Attendent-elles que l’irréparable soit commis pour intervenir? En tout état de cause, nous encourageons les prestigieuses organisations que sont International Crisis Group et Amnesty International à mener leurs propres enquêtes sur les derniers cas de morts et de blessés par balles et sur tous les autres cas survenus depuis 2011.
Nous sommes des guinéens à part entière, nous sommes pour la paix et l’unité de toutes les filles et de tous les fils de la Nation, mais, trop c’est trop la patience a ses limites. Le pouvoir joue sur notre croyance en Dieu, pour nous prendre pour des naïfs ou des peureux. Mais, nous sommes maintenant en situation de légitime défense face à une agression injuste d’un pouvoir qui pratique une forme d’apartheid contre nous. Nous sommes exclus, ségrégués, privés de tout par le pouvoir en place qui a procédé par un nettoyage systématique de l’administration publique et de la hiérarchie militaire en démettant les peulhs de tous les postes de responsabilités qu’ils occupaient. Nous n’accepterons plus qu’on tue nos enfants comme du gibier. Ces gendarmes, ces policiers, ces donzos et autres milices sont déployés à Ratoma pour tirer à balles réelles et tuer nos enfants  après quoi les responsables de la Police, de la Gendarmerie, le Ministre délégué à la défense, le Président de la République Alpha CONDE lui-même prennent d’assaut les médias pour dire que les forces de sécurité ne disposent d’aucune arme de guerre et qu’il n’ya aucun mort dans les hôpitaux, aucun blessé par balles.
De telles attitudes sont particulièrement choquantes et révoltantes ; c’est une insulte aux victimes à leurs familles et à leur communauté toute entière. Les images des policiers et des gendarmes munis d’armes de guerre entrain de faire feu, les morts par balles et les blessés par balles font le tour des réseaux sociaux mêmes si ces gens qui n’ont aucun respect pour la vie humaine continuent de nier l’évidence. Ces tueurs sont en uniformes de la Police et de la Gendarmerie et sont au bord des véhicules aux couleurs de la Police et de la Gendarmerie.
Ce qui est aussi révoltant, c’est la complicité de l’armée régulière vis-à-vis des donzos. Ces derniers se permettent de paraître dans les médias pour affirmer, en narguant les guinéens, qu’ils sont là et sont prêts à agir contre les manifestants. Dans quel pays du monde, sinon la Guinée, accepte-t-on des forces armées supplétives ou parallèles coexister avec les forces armées régulières? Et si les autres communautés de la Basse Guinée, du Fouta et de la Forêt créaient leurs propres forces supplétives ? Quelle jungle serait alors la Guinée ? Nous invitons l’armée régulière à désarmer les donzos et à les chasser de la ville pour qu’ils aillent continuer leur œuvre de destruction de l’environnement chez eux en Haute Guinée. La Coordination Nationale Haali-Pular s’adresse directement aux Ministres délégué à la défense, de la sécurité, de la justice, au Haut  Commandement de la gendarmerie, au Coordinateur des escadrons de Guinée, au directeur national de la Police, aux commissaires des différents commissariats de Conakry, aux commandants des différents escadrons de Conakry, au chef de la brigade d’intervention anti-gang, au Premier Ministre et au Président de la République, pour dire que la Communauté Haali-Pular ne continuera pas à se résigner à vous laisser sortir de chez vous le matin arme au poing motivé par des milliards qu’on vous distribue nuitamment pour aller tirer et tuer nos enfants et retourner chez vous le soir embrasser les vôtres, se rendre le lendemain à vos bases respectives assister à la montée des couleurs. Cela n’est possible qu’en Guinée. La République de l’impunité.
Les tueurs et leurs commanditaires doivent savoir que s’ils aiment leurs enfants que nous aussi, nous aimons les nôtres. Alors arrêtez votre folie meurtrière si non nous serons dans l’obligation de demander à tous et à chacun de répondre au coup par coup et advienne que pourra. En l’absence d’un Etat juste qui traite tous ses citoyens sur un même pied d’égalité, c’est la jungle et comme c’est le cas en Guinée nous agirons comme tel :œil pour œil dent pour dent. «  On ne meurt qu’une fois ». Jamais on n’acceptera qu’on tue nos enfants pour des prétextes politiques. En tout état de cause, la Coordination Nationale Haali-Pular de Guinée exige du gouvernement guinéen et prend à témoin la communauté internationale pour que soient exécutées les actions suivantes:
  1. Le retrait immédiat des hommes en uniformes de la commune de Ratoma particulièrement le long de l’axe Hamdallaye-Bambéto-Koloma-Cosa-Cité-Sonfonia ;
  2. La prise en charge des soins médicaux de tous les blessés par l’Etat ;
  3. La libération immédiate et sans condition de toutes les personnes arrêtées et incarcérées dans différents centres de détention et de tortures du régime ;
  4. L’arrestation, le jugement et la condamnation des auteurs, des commanditaires et des complices de ces crimes odieux.
La Coordination Nationale Haali-Pular présente ses condoléances les plus attristées aux familles des trois dernières victimes et prie Dieu de les accueillir dans son Paradis éternel. Elle souhaite prompt rétablissement aux blessés et en appelle à la communauté haali-pular ici et ailleurs à une grande solidarité vis-à-vis des victimes de la répression sauvage du régime guinéen.
La Coordination Nationale Haali-Pular rappelle une fois encore pour terminer que désormais le prétexte politique derrière lequel se cache la répression dont nous sommes victimes, disparaîtra et nous allons faire face à toute éventualité en tant que Communauté Haali-Pular
Conakry le 20 Avril 2015
Le Président de la Coordination Nationale Haali-Pular de Guinée Doyen des sages, Compagnon de l’Indépendance,
El hadj Saïkou Yaya BARRY

Guinea: In Communique, Opposition Reiterates What It Reiterated Before –Including Ville Morte Monday and No Decision on Seats in the Assembly

Below is the latest communique from the opposition.  If you wish to read the French version, click on the link below.

sam, 23 nov 2013, 14:49 

Journée ville morte à Conakry : l’opposition guinéenne formalise sept décisions.

Translated into English via Google.

Ghost town in Conakry day: the Guinean opposition formalized seven decisions.

Political members of the Republican opposition parties came together to harmonize their positions on issues relating to legislation on 28 September 2013. They took the opportunity to issue a statement on seven points, Has said Saturday in a statement.
 
1 – Opposition condemns become recurrent abuses suffered by unarmed demonstrators by the security forces who enjoy total impunity in their missions repression. During these brutal actions, they do not hesitate to use weapons of war to provide services for maintaining order with as corollary of heavy balance sheets resulting in many deaths and gunshot wounds. Opposition deplores their latest crackdown has resulted in the death of a young citizen 15 years hit by a bullet during a protest in Cosa, in the commune of Ratoma and injuries to a dozen other young people from the same neighborhood;

2 – opposition deplores the violence against journalists are regularly in the exercise of their noble profession. It condemns molestage a journalist by members of the Presidential Guard, during an official ceremony and the attempted abduction by strangers of the director of a private radio;

3 – The opposition confirms its determination to enter supranational courts in order to assert these rights, under the resolution of electoral disputes arising recent elections;

4 – The opposition decided to inform the Secretary General of the United Nations a complete dossier highlighting fraud, serious shortcomings and gaps that have affected the election, thus removing him credibility and transparency expected;

5 – The Republican opposition acknowledges the dissolution of the Committee monitoring the implementation of the inter-Guinean political agreement of 3 July 2013 and regrets the lack of a framework for dialogue between the government and the opposition. So she wants to create a new framework for dialogue between the presidential camp and the Government on the one hand and the opposition, on the other hand, with the participation of representatives of the international community. Such a structure could, among other tasks, to follow up the implementation of the provisions of the agreement of July 3 last not yet executed;

6 – Opposition challenges to the next plenary debate on the question of its future participation in the National Assembly, the process of internal consultation initiated by some political parties are not at an end. An extension has been granted for that consensus is achieved within each political party before a meeting of the Republican opposition to define a common position regarding its participation or boycott the future parliament. The Republican opposition reiterates its determination to preserve its unity and cohesion usual to make the ultimate decision adopted in the coming days, a common position shared by all member parties;

7 – To protest against the resignation of the Supreme Court, which is self-challenged publicly expressing his incompetence to deal with appeals by political parties in the electoral disputes, Republican opposition decides to make Monday, November 25 2013 , a ghost town in the five communes of Conakry day. She called the people of the capital to refrain from any activity that day to protest against the serious institutional crisis created by the resignation of the Supreme Court and its refusal to resolve electoral disputes as there oblige the Constitution and the Code election;

The Republican opposition invites its members and supporters to respond massively to its slogan of dead city for the day of November 25 next while remaining mobilized to defend the democratic gains of the People of Guinea.

Opposition Statement Provides More Details on Letter to Ban ki-moon, Monitoring Mission, Upcoming Elections,”Dead City” Day, and Whether to Seat Delegates at the National Assembly

Aboubacar Sylla, spokesperson of the opposition, read a statement this afternoon which provides more information on topics announced earlier in the day.  This is an excerpt.  If you wish to read this in French, please click on the link below.  Further below is the English version via Google and a bit of editing by Guinea Oye.
 
 
 
 
The Spokesperson of the Opposition: “ Our common position is to wait, some parties are not ready”
 
 
With respect to elections of September 28 we decided to enter the United Nations, inform the Secretary General of the United Nations in a letter which we reaffirm our refusal to accept the rigged elections, we reaffirm all fraud, all the imperfections, we remember everything that these elections have provided for us a real sham election and we attach to this letter provided sufficient documentation to attest to the truth of our accusations. This letter will also be sent to the African Union, ECOWAS and the European Union.

We also decided to send a letter to the authorities to take note of the end of the mission of the Monitoring Committee of the Agreement of 3 July 2013. We noted in effect that the cessation of its activities comes at a time when many provisions under the Agreement of 3 July have not been executed.

We want a permanent framework for dialogue to be established under the auspices of the international community to continue to place the provisions of the Agreement of July 3, including issues related to municipal and community elections to be held in principle before the end of the first quarter of 2014 and the presidential election in 2015 through change of technical operator, the recruitment of a new operator on the basis of international competition.

There are also many as you know obligations were subject to the authorities but not yet implemented, it is the neutrality of public administration, access to state media public service all currents of thought and opinion, compensation of those who were victims of the events that we have experienced in recent months in Guinea.

We also decided to organize a day ghost town next Monday, November 25. We therefore call on all people of Conakry to observe this day a day ghost town to protest against the resignation of the Supreme Court and the fact that this institution declares itself incompetent to judge electoral disputes, making our country the only country in the world where no recourse to electoral disputes can  be examined. 
 
We proposed to define our position with respect to our participation or not in the national assembly. As you know we had asked to see our respective bases for all political parties on the basis of consensus to consult with their different structures and arrive at a consensus decision. It is at the present day the work is not yet complete, it is a process of bringing ideas that sometimes takes time and some political parties have said they are not yet ready and cannot state their position on this important issue. So we postponed to the next day the decision on the participation or not of the Republican opposition to the next National Assembly. 
 

Vincent Foucher, Int’l. Crisis Group, Punts His Way Through RFI Interview about Guinea Election

wpid-1378572890.jpgThese people, and many more, had their votes stolen in 2010, and now again, in 2013
Relief that the election is over seems to have surpassed both truth and an honest assessment of what is going on in Guinea.  Short and sweet, Conde, the CENI and the RPG collaborated with a few international representatives to steal Guinea’s second election in three years.  The international folks in Conakry are staring at the floor praying that no one will ask how the election, dripping in fraud, went.  It’s as though Don Corleone paid each a visit in the middle of the night to remind them about the “code of silence.”  Well, the election was a mess, everyone knows it and the silence is deafening.  
 
Word is coming from many corners of the country, that Conde received no more than 8-9% of the vote on September 28.  You do the math.  That’s a mountain of fraud and a sea full of people who sooner or later will be in the streets.  This will de-stabilize Guinea, as it should.
 
Foucher is a smart cookie and has remained engaged in Guinea for a long time.  Unfortunately, in the RFI interview, he played dumb, hemmed and hawed, ultimately succeeding in his determination not to say anything definitive. 
 
But Guinea Oye has a treat for everyone.  Rather than posting his interview today with RFI, we are posting the executive summary of a report entitled, “Guinea:  A Way Out of the Election Quagmire,” which Foucher wrote and the ICG issued in February 2013.  At the end of the summary you will find recommendations for just about every actor in the “election quagmire” except the opposition.  This may not be the most comprehensive list of recommendations, but it raises issues guaranteed to scare the beejeebers out of the international community and to make Conde snarl.  Now, this Foucher piece is worth a read.
CONDESUPCTAlpha Conde and His Judges

Guinea: A Way Out of the Election Quagmire

Africa Report N°199 18 Feb 2013

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Two years after President Alpha Condé’s victory in the first really competitive election in the history of postcolonial Guinea, the country still does not have a national assembly. Forthcoming legislative elections look set to be complicated: ethnic tensions, compounded by the 2010 polls, remain high and the electoral system is deeply controversial. The establishment of a new Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in September 2012 was an important step, but progress stalled again in December on the issue of the voter register. President Condé must engage in a genuine dialogue with the opposition and the INEC must reach a consensual solution on the register. With international support, the government and opposition must consolidate the electoral system. Peaceful and credible legislative elections are essential to establish a parliament that reflects the country’s diversity, give the opposition a real voice, restore checks and balances, and prevent the hope raised by the replacement of illegitimate military leaders with an elected civilian president turning into disillusionment.

Direct dialogue between the government and opposition on the legislative elections started more than a year after Alpha Condé came to power, with the Inclusive Framework for Political Dialogue (Cadre de dialogue politique inclusif, CDPI). It ended two months later with limited results. Between March 2012 and February 2013, there were no further direct talks, but instead a series of interventions, facilitations, consultations and announcements. Some questions have been settled and others brushed aside, but the opposition still strongly disagrees on two key issues: the INEC and the voter register. Soon after a banned opposition protest on 27 August 2012, which led to widespread disorder in the capital Conakry, the government pledged to reconstitute the INEC, and the commission’s controversial president asked that his mandate not be renewed. His successor, Bakary Fofana, presented in December a timetable setting the elections for 12 May 2013. Does this signal a way forward? Did this peculiar form of dialogue, with accusations, manoeuvres and anger, eventually yield progress?

Although there has been some headway, the level of polarisation remains high. The appointment of the new INEC members created fresh friction, with its new president rapidly coming under fire, and it is this contentious institution that must resolve the key problem of the electoral register. Tension on that issue boiled over on 10 December, when the opposition accused Fofana of violating the procedures of INEC by refusing to release a report on the register prepared by the International Organisation of Francophonie (Organisation internationale de la francophonie, OIF), and considered calling for his resignation. Fofana’s announcement, the following day, that elections would be held in May 2013 raised the temperature further: the opposition rejected that date, arguing that the INEC plenary had not been consulted.

The opposition also protested against the technical weaknesses and lack of transparency in the process of revising the electoral register, as well as the lack of preparation for the Guinean diaspora’s vote. On 29 January, the opposition, allied with a number of “centrist” parties, called for new demonstrations and dismissed the direct dialogue called for by the authorities as a ploy to have them cancel the protest. During a new INEC meeting to discuss the electoral register on 11 February, the majority supporting President Condé voted to endorse the controversial revision while opposition commissioners walked out. They might decide to suspend permanently their participation.

In sum, the situation remains worrisome. Holding elections while the government and opposition disagree on fundamental issues is dangerous. The government shows contempt for the opposition and took almost a year to engage in dialogue. The opposition maintains that President Condé was elected through fraud and prefers to avoid elections (or, at least, does not want transparent and consensual polls). It accuses the regime of ethnic favouritism. Civil society, which played a key role at the end of the 2000s, is now divided along political and ethnic lines. Controversial elections against the backdrop of ethnic disputes raise many risks at both local and national levels.

Electoral turmoil could degenerate into significant violence. Security sector reform has made limited progress and tension remains very high between the security forces, accustomed to impunity and also affected by ethnic disputes, and the population, exasperated by police and army brutality. Electoral troubles could offer opportunities to those in the armed forces who have not fully accepted their new submission to civilian authority.

The Condé regime cannot simply talk about its good governance and development ambitions: it must also iron out political tensions. Moreover, it is more important that the vote is credible than that it takes place in May – although with so much time already lost it should take place as soon as possible and certainly before December 2013. For this to happen, dialogue is vital. The road to the elections will be rocky, but it is crucial to keep friction to a minimum, maintain serious dialogue between the parties and rebuild trust in the electoral apparatus. It is also necessary to strengthen the capacity of the political system – the judiciary, territorial administration, security forces, INEC, political parties – and for civil society to manage in a proper and credible manner the conflicts that will inevitably emerge during the long electoral journey ahead.

RECOMMENDATIONS

To break the election logjam and guarantee a credible vote

To the president of the republic:

1.  Set up regular meetings with the leaders of the main parties and the boards of the National Transition Council (Conseil national de transition, CNT) and INEC to discuss the political situation and establish shared understanding of the electoral system issue.

To the president of INEC:

2.  Provide all INEC commissioners with all the documents relating to the organisation of the elections and clarify the procedures for the revision of the electoral register.

3.  Reopen discussions on the electoral register in the INEC plenary without excluding any solution; on this issue and on others, the electoral commission must make credible decisions, which require operating on the basis of consensus rather than on a majority vote.

4.  Take the necessary steps to allow Guineans living in the diaspora to exercise their right to vote.

To the government of Guinea:

5.  Increase and publicise the repression of crimes and offences committed by members of the defence and security forces, whether in the execution of their duties or not.

6.  Consider, in consultation with human rights organisations, the creation of an observatory of impunity.

7.  Clarify publicly its position on, and its relations with, the different organisations of “donzo” traditional hunters, whose presence in urban areas is creating mistrust.

To the Guinean Social Movement:

8.  Prepare for the deployment of a national electoral observation mechanism inspired from the one implemented during the 2012 presidential election in Senegal.

To the international partners of Guinea:

9.  Mobilise and support international and non-governmental organisations involved in the electoral process to reinforce the credibility of the polls, including by:

a) supporting the Guinean Social Movement in the establishment of an electoral observation mechanism.

b) preparing local representatives of the different parties within INEC and its sub-structures, as well as magistrates, to the management of disputes that will no doubt emerge in the course of the electoral process.

Dakar/Brussels, 18 February 2013

Guinea Update: Opposition to Take Election Case to ECOWAS Justice Court and The Right to Resist a Repressive Regime

CONDEDONZOSDonzos Celebrate after Attacking Opposition Supporters in a Permitted March  (Seriously, No Kidding)
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.  
 

 

Pourquoi cette détermination de la Communauté Internationale à adopter des standards uniques en Guinée ?

Published on Monday, 11 November 2013 23:16
Written by Abdourahmane Barry

Depuis les événements tragiques du 28 septembre 2009, les Guinéens font face à une implication qu’on peut qualifier de suspecte de la communauté internationale vu les agissements de certains acteurs dans la crise politique. Si pour certains, après les régimes de dictature subis depuis l’indépendance, les concepts moraux de portée universelle que sont le droit et la démocratie constituent un luxe pour nous, d’autres pensent simplement qu’il faut maquiller le système et servir les marchés qu’ils représentent, tant pis pour la morale. Aujourd’hui il y a lieu de se demander quelles valeurs morales défend la Communauté Internationale et sur quelle morale et quels principes, les représentants de nos partenaires se sont basés pour aider notre pays à réussir sa marche vers la démocratie.

Au regard d’une victimisation collective dont s’est toujours servi le système criminel qui a pris notre pays en otage depuis l’indépendance pour justifier le malheur dans lequel il a toujours plongé les populations, certains actes posés par cette communauté internationale en Guinée réputés aider notre pays pour le retour à l’ordre constitutionnel, soulèvent plutôt des interrogations quant à leur sincérité. Ne pouvait-on pas se passer des criminels au lieu de procéder au recyclage et à la promotion de certains parmi eux et non des moindres ? Voilà  le premier « deux poids deux mesures ».

Quelques semaines après le 28 septembre, le Conseil de sécurité des nations unies envoie une équipe de juristes pour enquêter sur les massacres et les viols. Le rapport de cette commission internationale a reconstitué la chaine de commandement des forces de sécurité pour les enquêtes préliminaires. En décembre de la même année, l’un des principaux accusés tente d’assassiner le chef de la junte. Cette même communauté internationale à Ouagadougou, désigne après l’avoir blanchi, Sekouba Konaté, un haut gradé impliqué dans cette chaine  pour diriger la transition avec comme mission : l’organisation des élections présidentielles et la restructuration des forces de sécurité. De retour en Guinée, il élargit sa mission à l’octroi de marches juteux… Continue reading “Pourquoi cette détermination de la Communauté Internationale à adopter des standards uniques en Guinée ?”