UN’s Djinit Sends in the Cavalry: A Technical Comm. – EU, ECOWAS and the Francophonie

Xinhua reported yesterday that an international cavalry, consisting of representatives of the EU, ECOWAS and the Francophonie, will work on technical aspects of Guinea’s legislative elections along with the government and opposition.  Decision on postponement of the election has not been announced yet, so it’s difficult to know just how these representatives will fit into the process.
The Francophonie’s duplicitous machinations in favor of Conde in 2010 should make the opposition wary at this juncture.  Don’t forget that the Francophonie has a checkered reputation when it comes to managing other countries’ elections — Gabon, Cameroon, for example. Overall, this cavary is not there to seek an appropriate delay in the elections so that the breadth of “irregularities” can be identified and addressed.  These folks are in Guinea to close the deal.
ECOWAS (CEDEAO) representative, Kadre Desire Ouedrago made a statement to the press a short while ago saying that he thinks preparations for the elections are complete at this juncture. Mr. Ouedrago goes on talking for a while and his numerous kernels of “wisdom” reveal he is trying too hard. Now you can add, ECOWAS on the same side of the balance book with Francophonie.  Can EU be far behind?
Published on Friday, 20 September 2013 11:56 p.m.
Written by Barrie K

to produce a report outlining the circumstances of the situation

In order to correct discrepancies, the Guinean opposition asked Friday during a short meeting led by the college of the facilitators, one-month postponement of parliamentary elections, initially prevented for September 24.

After a meeting of more than 10 clock hours, stakeholders dialogue and negotiation have not found consensus on respect for the timetable previously set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), following the political agreement achieved last July 3.

On this, the delegation of the opposition felt it takes 30 days to correct any deficiencies in the electoral process in order to obtain a clean and reliable electoral register. The number of anomaly discussed duplicates, cutting the electoral map and approximation of their voters polling stations nationwide.

Meanwhile, the delegation of presidential movement evoked a delay of one week is more than enough to correct the shortcomings of file and obtain reliable data to go to the required legislation.

To decide on all electoral matters, technical crisis committee composed of experts from the European Union (EU), the International Organization of la Francophonie (OIF), ECOWAS, and two representatives of the opposition and presidential camp has been set up to produce a report outlining the circumstances prevailing situation.

Xinhua News Agency

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Burkina Faso’s Compaore in Guinea Ahead of Elections

Burkina Faso’s Compaore in Guinea ahead of elections

(AFP) – 3 hours ago

CONAKRY — Guinea’s crisis mediator, Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore, arrived in Conakry on Saturday to meet the two presidential candidates ahead of a run-off vote on November 7, local radio reported.

Compaore was greeted by the president of Guinea’s transition government General Sekouba Konate, as he stepped off the airplane.

He is scheduled to meet with former prime minister and poll favourite Cellou Dalein Diallo who won 43 percent of the votes in a first round on June 27, and later with rival candidate Alpha Conde, who garnered 18 percent.

The visit comes as the end of the election campaign was marked by clashes between activists of both camps and political and ethnic violence as rumours and suspicions spread amid mounting mistrust between parties.

On October 22, supporters of Conde’s political party were hospitalised, complaining they had been poisoned by drinks distributed during a rally, an accusation the government is still investigating.

However this led to a rumour that the Fulani belonging to Diallo’s party had carried out the poisoning, leading to a series of attacks against the ethnic group in the capital and eastern parts of the country.

The long-awaited second round election was postponed for a second time on October 24, and a new date set for November 7.

A peace tour, planned as a show of solidarity by the two candidates on Thursday, was cancelled after Conde pulled out under pressure from his party.

The historic election is aimed at giving the troubled west African nation its first democratic government after over half a century of despotic and military leaders since independence from France in 1958.

Guinea Presidential Candidates, Diallo and Conde, Head to Burkina Faso to Meet with Compaore

Guinea’s presidential frontrunners head to Burkina Faso for talks

 APA-Conakry (Guinea) Alpha Condé and Cellou Dalein Diallo, the candidate of Guinea People’s Rally (RPG) and the Democratic Forces Union of Guinea (UFDG) respectively, are due on Wednesday to fly to Ouagadougou, the Burkinabe capital, to held talks with the mediator in the Guinean political crisis, President Blaise Compaoré.

The talks would help calm down the current escalating political tension, as the 19 September presidential runoff approaches.

At the immediate request of the Guinean transition President, General Sékouba Konaté, during his recent trip to Ouagadougou, the mediator decided to give some advice to the two frontrunners.

General Konaté said he was really concerned with the current tension in the country.

The suggestion made by the Prime Minister Jean-Marie Doré to amend the Constitution as well as the electoral code in a bid to define the role devolved to the ministry of Territorial Administration and Political Affairs (MATAP), only but caused the situation to degenerate.

As a result, Cellou Dalein Diallo’s party suspects this could be a way to back up Alpha Condé, his opponent.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) on Saturday said it was the only body entitled to organise elections in Guinea, as provided by Article 2 of the electoral code.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) is the body responsible for holding all political elections and referendum in Guinea,” the electoral watchdog said.

“The CENI can technically be assisted by ministeries involved in the electoral process, such as the ministry of Territorial Administration and Political Affairs (MATAP),” the CENI said.

Guinea’s Dadis Camara Pledges to Stay Out of Presidential Run-Off

Guinea Coup Leader Stays Out of Presidential Run-Off

Scott Stearns | Dakar 30 August 2010
Guinea’s military coup leader, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, pledges to stay out of country’s presidential election

The leader of Guinea’s military coup, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, has said he is staying away from the country so as not to disrupt an electoral process that is set to conclude with next month’s second round of presidential voting. 

Captain Camara, who has refused to endorse any candidate, said he did not return to Guinea this month for the funeral of his son, Moriba, because he does not want to impact the upcoming vote.

After taking power in a December 2008 coup, Captain Camara ruled Guinea for nearly all of 2009, until he was shot in the head by the former chief of the presidential guard.

While he still remains the country’s official military leader, Captain Camara has been replaced in the country by his former defense minister, General Sekouba Konate, who has helped organize elections to return Guinea to civilian rule.

He said chose to stay in neighboring Burkina Faso out of respect for the democratic process during an interview with VOA’s French to Africa service.  Camara said he has faith in the political maturity of Guinea’s leaders.  And he expressed his hope that the election is conducted in the best possible conditions, saying Guineans will not get anywhere if they fight among themselves.

For the moment, Captain Camara said he must be neutral in the run-off between first place finisher Cellou Diallo and second-place finisher Alpha Conde, explaining that if he favors one candidate over another, he would  violate the principles of democracy.

Before he was shot, Captain Camara appeared to be preparing to run for president, despite earlier promises not to do so.  When civilians demonstrated against his expected candidacy last September, they were attacked by soldiers who killed at least 150 people and raped dozens of women.

The soldier who shot Captain Camara last December says the captain was trying to blame him for that September violence.  Many of Mr. Camara’s political opponents feared he would return to Guinea after receiving treatment in a Moroccan hospital for the gunshot wounds, but he went to the Burkinabe capital, Ouagadougou, instead.

Captain Camara said he went to Ouagadougou freely at the recommendation of General Konate because he did he believes in the electoral process and loves his country.

State Dept.’s Africa Chief, Johnnie Carson, Talks About US Priorities in Sub-Saharan Africa

Below is a transcript of Carson’s presentation.  If you wish to view the video of his presentation, click here — the Q and A session starts at  minute 24:22 where Carson is asked questions about things beyond the scope of his speech, such as AFRICOM. 

U.S. Priorities on sub-Saharan Africa

Johnnie Carson
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs
Remarks for the Diplomacy Briefing Series Conference
Washington, DC
June 14, 2010

Good afternoon. I would like to thank the Bureau of Public Affairs for organizing the Diplomacy Briefing Series and for inviting me to join all of you today to examine our key priorities in Africa.

I want to begin today by emphasizing the strong commitment of this Administration to working with our African partners to bring about a more peaceful, stable, and prosperous Africa. This Administration sees immense potential in Africa, and we are determined to work with Africans across the continent to help realize this promise.

Often, Africa has been overlooked as a top policy priority for the U.S. Government. I can tell you that this is not the case with this Administration. President Obama is not complacent about Africa, and is determined to forge a deeper and more lasting impact on our relationship with the continent, not just through words, but through concrete action.

As evidence of this commitment, Vice President Biden concluded just yesterday a week-long trip to Africa—a trip in which I participated. Some in the media focused on the World Cup as the centerpiece of this Africa visit, but this trip was more about substance than sport. The Vice President used this trip to focus on one of the Administration’s highest priorities in Africa: the current situation in Sudan. In Egypt, the Vice President met with President Mubarak and other senior government officials to discuss Sudan policy. In Kenya, we met with Salva Kiir, the President of the Government of South Sudan and other South Sudanese leaders. And in South Africa, I accompanied the Vice President to his extended meeting with Thabo Mbeki, the AU’s point person on Sudan.

The Vice President’s trip was just the most recent example of high-level engagement by this Administration in Africa. The President’s visit to Ghana last July, the earliest visit made by a U.S. president to the continent, underscored Africa’s importance to the U.S. And last September, at the UN General Assembly, the President hosted a lunch with 26 African heads of state. Over the past year, he has also met in the oval office with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, President Kikwete of Tanzania, President Khama of Botswana, and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangarai of Zimbabwe. And during the Nuclear Summit in April of this year, the President also met with President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and President Zuma of South Africa.

All of the President’s senior foreign policy advisors have followed his lead by traveling to Africa. The U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice visited five African countries last June, including Liberia and Rwanda. Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew traveled to Ethiopia and Tanzania in June 2009, and was in Mali and Nigeria just last month.

Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero headed the U.S. delegation to the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa in January 2010, where we discussed a range of issues, including democracy and governance, climate change, and food security. Last month, she led the U.S. delegation to Abuja to the first meeting of the Democracy and Governance working group of the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission. And last August, Secretary Clinton made an 11-day, seven-country trip across the continent.

These high-level visits are a testament to the importance this Administration places on Africa, and our commitment to meet and work with our partners to address the immense challenges facing the continent. Through our engagement and programs, the Administration is seeking to advance five key policy priorities on the continent.

First: We are working with African governments, the international community, and civil society to strengthen democratic institutions and protect the democratic gains made in recent years in many African countries.

Since the 1990’s, we have witnessed an impressive wave of democratic transitions, during which dozens of African countries moved from dictatorship to democracy, in one of the most impressive political transformations in history. Recent democratic elections, including those in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mauritius, and Ghana, have served to remind the world of the importance that Africans attach to democracy, as well as the values that underpin it. The recent elections in Ghana and Mauritius were especially impressive, as they have resulted in a peaceful, democratic transition between two political parties.

Nonetheless, we have seen worrying signs of backsliding in terms of democracy and good governance in a number of countries as a result of flawed elections, harassment of opposition groups, and attempts by presidents to extend their term limits. We have also seen a recurrence of military coups and interventions in several countries.

The political and economic success of Africa depends a great deal on the effectiveness, sustainability, and reliability of its democratic institutions. We are encouraging governments across the continent to get elections right. To level the playing field, clean up the voter rolls, open up the media, count the votes fairly, and give democracy a chance.

In that vain we have been deeply engaged in helping to resolve political crises on the continent, including in Nigeria, where we encouraged political leaders to follow their constitution and stay on a democratic path and where we encouraged the military to stay in the barracks and out of politics. We have been active diplomatically in Guinea-Conakry during its difficult transition period, as well as in Niger and Mauritania over the past year.

Second: The Administration is committed to working alongside African countries to promote and advance sustained economic development and growth.

Despite impressive economic growth in recent years, Africa remains one of the poorest regions of the world, and the continent has yet to be fully integrated into the global economy. Africa’s share of world trade is less than two percent and Africa’s tremendous wealth in natural resources has not translated into greater prosperity for its people.

Africa also faces a massive digital divide with the rest of the world, which further inhibits the ability of African companies to compete on the global stage.

The Administration is bringing significant resources and programs to the table to help address these challenges. We are actively working to promote economic growth and development, including through our new $3.5 billion dollar food security initiative, Feed the Future, which will assist 12 African focus countries that are engaged in growing and modernizing their agricultural sectors. The Obama Administration will continue to work with our African partners to maximize the opportunities created by the African Growth and Opportunity Act–AGOA. We will also continue to actively explore ways to promote African private sector growth and investment, especially for small and medium-sized businesses.

Third: Historically the United States has focused on public health and health-related issues in Africa. We are committed to continuing that focus. We will work side-by-side with African governments and civil society to ensure that quality treatment, prevention, and care are easily accessible to communities throughout Africa.

From HIV/AIDS to malaria, Africans endure and suffer a multitude of health pandemics that weaken countries on many fronts. Sick men and women cannot work and they cannot contribute to the growth of their nation’s economies or well being.

To help solve the health crisis that is occurring throughout the entire continent, Africans as well as the international community must invest in Africa’s public health systems, in training more medical professionals, and in helping African countries fight diseases that simply should not kill people in this day and age.

The Obama Administration will continue the PEPFAR Program and the previous administration’s fight against HIV/AIDS. In addition to combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, and polio, the Obama Administration has pledged $63 billion to meet public health challenges throughout Africa.

Fourth: The U.S. is committed to working with African states and the international community to prevent, mitigate, and resolve conflicts and disputes. Conflict destabilizes states and borders, stifles economic growth and investment, and robs young Africans of the opportunity for an education and a better life. Conflicts can set back nations for a generation. Throughout Africa, there has been a notable reduction in the number of conflicts over the past decade.

The brutal conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia have come to an end, and we have seen Liberia transform itself into a democracy under the able leadership of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female head of state. Liberia is an example of what can be accomplished in a short period of time and should give us hope for resolving other conflict situations in Africa.

Despite the successes, pockets of turmoil and political unrest persist in Somalia, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as in Madagascar. These conflicts create both internal and regional instability and undermine Africa’s chances for economic growth.

The Obama Administration has taken a keen interest in working with African leaders and African regional organizations to help resolve these conflicts. Over the past 18 months, Special Presidential Envoy for Sudan, General Scott Gration has been focused on ensuring the full implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which will permit the people of South Sudan to vote in January 2010 for independence or unity with the North. As part of our effort to ensure the referendum takes place, we are collaborating closely with the Special Envoys of the AU and UN, who will be in this building for talks on Wednesday. We are also enhancing our diplomatic presence in South Sudan by assigning ten new officers to our Consulate in Juba, including a very senior officer, a former ambassador, who will arrive in Juba in the next few days.

Former Congressman Howard Wolpe has been working intensely to bring peace and stability to the Eastern Congo and end the extreme violence against women. This remains a top priority for this Administration. In close coordination with Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Steve Rapp and Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Special Advisor Wolpe is working to address these and other pressing issues in the Congo, including stemming the trade of conflict minerals which continues to fuel conflict and instability.

We will also continue our cooperation with regional leaders to look for ways to end Somalia’s protracted political and humanitarian crisis. We continue to call for well-meaning actors in the region to support the Djibouti Peace process, and to reject those extremists and their supporters who seek to exploit the suffering of the Somali people.

Additionally, the United States is proactive in working with African leaders, civil society organizations, and the international community to prevent new conflicts. In January of this year, we worked closely with the governments of Burkina Faso, Morocco, and France to put in place a transitional government in Guinea-Conakry. In a few weeks, the country will hold democratic elections which we hope will begin a democratic tradition in that country.

Fifth: We will seek to deepen our cooperation with African states to address both old and new transnational challenges. The 21st century ushered in new transnational challenges for Africa and the world.

Africa’s poverty puts it at a distinct disadvantage in dealing with major global and transnational problems like climate change, narco-trafficking, trafficking-in-persons and arms, and the illegal exploitation of Africa’s minerals and maritime resources.

Meeting the climate and clean energy challenge is a top priority for the United States and the Obama Administration.

Climate change affects the entire globe; its potential impact on water supplies and food security can be disastrous. As President Obama said in Ghana, “while Africa gives off less greenhouse gasses than any other part of the world, it will be the most threatened by climate change.” Often those who have contributed the least to the problem are the ones who are affected the most by it, and the United States is committed to working with Africans to find viable solutions to adapt to the severe consequences of climate change.

The effects of climate change are clear: the snow cap of Mount Kilimanjaro is rapidly disappearing, Lake Chad is a fraction of the size it was 35 years ago and in recent years the turbines at some of Africa’s largest dams have fallen silent because of reduced water flows. With our international partners, the United States is working to build a sustainable, clean energy global economy which can drive investment and job creation around the world, including bringing energy services to the African continent.

There is no time like the present to face this issue as it carries tremendous consequences for the future of our children, grandchildren and our planet.

As President Obama emphasized during his speech in Ghana, our policies are based on the premise that “Africa’s future is up to Africans.” With a corresponding commitment from African leaders to enact the reforms and policies required to bring about real change, we believe we can achieve our shared goal of a more peaceful, prosperous, and free Africa.

Thank you and I will be happy to take any questions.

DORE Interview: “I Will Work with Military”

Guinea – exclusive Jean-Marie Doré interview

I will work with military, says interim PM

RFI-Article published on the 2010-01-21 Latest update 2010-01-21 15:01 TU

Jean-Marie Doré(Photo: AFP)Jean-Marie Doré
(Photo: AFP)
Jean-Marie Doré, who has been named interim Prime Minister of Guinea, tells RFI that he is ready to work with the members of the military junta in order to form a government. Although he has been a persistent critic of the ruling National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD), he praises current leader Sékouba Konaté.

“A military regime is one thing; the intrinsic value of each officer is another. Sékouba Konaté is an officer of valour,” Doré told RFI, referring to the interim President, who took over after junta leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara was wounded in an assassination attempt.

“I do not think the issue of rejecting the military can be applied generally to Sékouba Konaté.”

He praises Konaté for going above and beyond what was asked of him to “lift Guinea out of its ruins and its descent into hell”.

Doré was named interim Prime Minister after an agreement brokered by Burkina Fasso in which the ruling junta agreed to elections in six months.

He would not comment on the make-up of his government, which according to Konaté spokesperson Idriss Cherif will consist of 30 people, with ten from the CNDD, ten from the opposition and ten from the four regions of Guinea.

Doré says he is not aware of how the positions would be divided, nor does he know who will get what portfolios.

The post of Prime Minister does not exist in the Guinean constitution, and Doré’s position is not secure.

“We are in a transition period, which means we have to invent everything as we go along,” he says, adding that whatever is decided will be included in the constitution.

Part of the agreement stipulates that no member of the military government can run for President, though it is not clear what would happen if a junta member resigned from the military before running.

Doré would not comment on whether a former member of the CNDD should be allowed to run or not, nor would he say whether or not he himself would run.

UN Secretary-General Ban Welcomes Steps to Restore Constitutional Order

January 19, 2010

UN NEWS CENTER

Guinea: Ban welcomes steps to restore constitutional order

A poster of President Moussa Dadis Camara in the Guinean capital Conakry
19 January 2010 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed recent strides made towards restoring constitutional order in Guinea, which has been gripped by unrest since Government forces opened fire on unarmed protesters at a rally last year, killing at least 150 people.

He commended President Blaise Compaoré of nearby Burkina Faso and others who facilitated the signing of last week’s Ouagadougou agreement, which provides for the establishment of a Government of national unity, led by a consensus Prime Minister, and the holding of elections within six months.

The new agreement is also supported by the UN-backed International Contact Group on Guinea, including Said Djinnit, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, which met with top Guinean officials over the weekend in the capital of Burkina Faso.

On 29 September, Guinea’s armed forces shot and killed or raped and attacked hundreds of civilian demonstrators attending a rally in the capital, Conakry.

The deadly crackdown sparked international outrage and prompted Mr. Ban to set up the International Commission of Inquiry to investigate the events of the day. Mr. Ban has since handed the report of the three-member panel and their recommendations to the Security Council, the Guinean Government, the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Captain Dadis Camara – who seized power in a coup in 2008 following the death of long-time president Lansana Conté – has also survived an assassination attempt in the interim and is currently in exile.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson last night, Mr. Ban welcomed Mr. Camara’s decision to support the transitional programme initiated by General Sekouba Konaté, the interim head of State, as well as the commitment by him and others to not stand in the upcoming polls.

“It is important that these commitments are now faithfully carried out to ensure a democratic process and the establishment of a government that fully reflects the will of the Guinean people,” the Secretary-General stressed.

He also reminded the Guinean Government to implement the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into the 29 September shootings in Conakry.

“The Secretary General calls on Guinea’s regional and international partners to provide the necessary support to help the country through the transition and urges all Guinean political stakeholders to work together to resolve the current crisis,” the statement said, adding that the UN stands ready to assist with elections.