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.

Advertisements

GUINEE: Cellou Dalein Diallo à la VOA : “Je suis déterminé à faire dégager Alpha Condé”

Cellou Dalein Diallo à la VOA : “Je suis déterminé à faire dégager Alpha Condé”

L’économie guinéenne est à l’arrêt à cause de l’épidémie d’Ebola. Cette crise n’explique pas tout affirme le président de l’UFDG. L’ancien Premier ministre et candidat malheureux à l’élection présidentielle veut des élections crédibles pour 2015.

Cellou Dalein Diallo

Cellou Dalein Diallo

30.1.2015

L’épidémie d’Ebola a été freinée en Guinée, il s’agit à présent de l’éliminer. Le gouvernement guinéen peut-il y arriver alors que vous avez critique depuis le début sa gestion de la crise ?

Cellou Dalein Diallo : “Il y a une tendance à la baisse appréciable. Il faut améliorer la communication. Le gouvernement devrait associer tous les leaders d’opinion, y compris les partis politiques dans cette sensibilisation. Il y a eu, dans certains villages, de fortes résistances et le gouvernement a fait usage de la force. Je ne crois pas que cela soit la bonne méthode. Il faut davantage sensibiliser.”

Comme en 2014, la croissance guinéenne devrait encore être en berne pour 2015. Avec cette épidémie d’Ebola, qui aurait pu faire mieux ?

Cellou Dalein Diallo : “Avant de parler de 2014, parlons de 2013, avant Ebola. L’économie guinéenne a cru de 2,3 %. Cela est trop faible alors que la Cote d’Ivoire a fait 9 %, la Sierra Leone 14,5 % et le Liberia 7 %. Ces pays sont moins nantis que la Guinée en potentiel économique. L’explication ce sont les politiques menées par le gouvernement d’Alpha Condé, elles ont découragé les investisseurs. Bien entendu, Ebola a aggravé cette crise.”

Cellou Dalein Diallo au micro de Nicolas Pinault

L’année 2015 sera-t-elle une année électorale en Guinée ? Les élections locales ne sont toujours pas programmées tout comme la présidentielle.

Cellou Dalein Diallo : “On ne souhaite pas qu’il y ait  un report à cause d’Ebola. La communauté internationale s’est déjà exprimée dans ce sens. Le Liberia a déjà tenu ses élections sénatoriales malgré l’épidémie. Malgré son engagement, il n’y a pas de volonté politique d’organiser ces élections légales. Le gouvernement compte s’appuyer sur les élus locaux, qui sont actuellement tous nommés par le pouvoir, pour mettre en œuvre la réélection frauduleuse d’Alpha Condé.”

Comment comptez-vous faire pour qu’Alpha Condé quitte le pouvoir ?

Cellou Dalein Diallo : “Alpha Condé n’a pas répondu aux attentes de la population : il y a moins d’électricité, d’eau courante et de sécurité. Les gens souffrent. Notre défi est d’organiser des élections transparentes. Si c’est le cas, il n’y aura aucun problème pour dégager Alpha Condé.”

Appelez-vous vos partisans à descendre dans la rue ?

Cellou Dalein Diallo : “Nous avons déjà commencé, depuis le 7 janvier, les manifestations pacifiques autorisées par la constitution. Nous allons forcer Alpha Condé à organiser des élections transparentes et organiser le scrutin communal avant la présidentielle.”

N’est-ce pas jouer avec le feu d’appeler vos partisans à descendre dans la rue au vue des risques de violence ?

Cellou Dalein Diallo : “C’est un cout très élevé que nous payons mais on ne peut pas renoncer à nos droits, dès lors que la constitution nous autorise à marcher pacifiquement. J’espère que les forces de défense et de sécurité arrêteront de réprimer dans le sang ces marches autorisées. Nous allons utiliser la rue parce que le gouvernement ne veut pas de dialogue.”

Vous avez reconnu votre défaite à la présidentielle en 2011. Etait-ce vraiment une défaite selon vous ?

Cellou Dalein Diallo : “Non ! Il y a eu beaucoup de complicités, internes et externes, qui ne voulaient pas que j’accède à la présidence de la république pour des raisons subjectives. Ils voulaient donner le pouvoir à Alpha Condé. C’était un complot. On n’acceptera plus ça. On se prépare pour exiger que le scrutin soit transparent.”

Serez-vous candidat à la présidentielle ?

Cellou Dalein Diallo : “Je suis candidat à la candidature de mon parti.”

Quel est votre avis concernant une candidature unique de l’opposition ?

Cellou Dalein Diallo : “Je ne crois pas que cela soit plus efficace. Il est bon que tous ceux qui le peuvent soient candidats, chacun dans ses fiefs. Au second tour, tout le monde se rallie derrière le mieux place pour battre Alpha Condé. C’est ça le vrai enjeu. Si on veut l’alternance, il faut tous se mettre d’accord qu’on se ralliera derrière celui de l’opposition qui sera qualifié pour le second tour. Quitte à partager le pouvoir par la suite pour sortir la Guinée de la misère et de la marginalisation.”

Propos recueillis par Nicolas Pinault

30.1.2015

 

Opposition Meets with Ambassadors from ECOWAS Countries to Discuss Guinea Political Crisis: It’s Deja Vu All Over Again

OPPECOWAS11-27Opposition press conference, after meeting with ECOWAS ambassadors concerning Guinea’s political crisis, 11-27-13  (photo: ufdgonline.org)
Below is a media account from lejourguinee.com of today’s meeting between the opposition and ambassadors of member countries of ECOWAS concerning Guinea’s political crisis. 
The article was translated into English via Google with editing by Guinea Oye.  Further, the article is supplemented with two paragraphs of information (in parentheses) taken from the UFDG website.
 
 
Bottom line is:
 
-ECOWAS ambassadors asked opposition to seat its delegates in the National Assembly
-Sidya Toure wants to reactivate the July 3, 2013 agreement between the opposition and the government and continue to pursue commitments
-Senegalese ambassador is looking for “a framework for dialogue to bring stability and peace to Guinea.”
-Cellou Dalein Diallo reminds gathering that the source of problem is lack of justice in Guinea and a lack of respect for others on the part of the government.
 
 
 
Category: Politics
Published Wednesday, November 27, 2013 8:03 p.m.
Written by Mamadi Touré

Guinea is a sick man among the countries of the subregion. Its socio-political situations worries diplomats in the region. How to get out of this impasse in Guinea which has lasted (almost) five years? This is in response to a question posed when ECOWAS diplomats met this Wednesday, November 27, with key players including the opposition and the Conde administration.

The meeting took place at the seat of the first political party of the opposition (UFDG) located in Miniere.  ECOWAS ambassadors from (Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Angola, led by Mr Alkhaly Fode Soumah, Ambassador of Sierra Leone and dean of the diplomatic corps. Soumah thanked Dean Jean Marie Doré for open collaboration that facilitated this meeting.)  
 
The focus of the meeting was to try to defuse socio-political situation and try to convince the opposition to sit in the National Assembly.  Recall that the opposition parties rejected the results announced by the CENI and renewed by the Supreme Court elections that declared itself incompetent to decide electoral disputes. It was on November 15.

After several hours off camera, the Ambassador of Senegal in Guinea, designated by his peers as spokesman justified the reasons for  holding the meeting. “Our meeting today, is being held at the headquarters of opposition leaders so that we can find a framework for dialogue and to help bring stability, peace, and appeasement to Guinea,”said  HE Mr. Leopold Diouf.

According to Senegalese diplomat, ambassadors of ECOWAS “could not remain indifferent to what is happening in Guinea.” Asked about conclusions from the meeting, Diouf remained very cautious believing that positive results are expected.

Known for his criticism of the government, the president of the UFR told the press that the meeting with West African diplomats was “a close encounter … Countries around Guinea and who are friends to Guinea felt it was good that they had an exchange with the political class, not only with the opposition but with the ruling party on issues of concern, how to ensure that elections bring a more acceptable result and to consider how the future will unfold. “

Sidya Touré denounced the “denial of justice which [the opposition] was the object of at the Supreme Court.” Continuing, he said that his clan is “concerned for the future” of Guinea. The former Prime Minister also stressed the need to reactivate the agreements of July 3, 2013 obtained under the auspices of the international community.
 
(Diallo, President of the UFDG and leader of the Republican opposition thanked the collective of African ambassadors for the particular importance they attach to the Guinean situation.  It will reassure the opposition,which is more committed than anyone to peace and democracy, we are also very happy to discuss with brothers and sisters who can understand our problems and propose appropriate solutions.  But we must recognize that Guinea is unjust and disrespects the rights of others which are the sources of conflict.)

Regarding the issue of the National Assembly as to whether or not the opposition will seat delegates, spokesman of the opposition at the meeting, says, “there will be no decision at opposition as we did not get a majority, but a consensus will be needed for the opposition to determine the position.”

Note that this meeting, between the Guinean opposition and the Ambassadors of ECOWAS and friends of Guinea after a dead city day, the opposition mentioned the two dead and twenty wounded.

Mamadi Touré
 

Are RPG Loyalty Oaths Next? Local Officials Aligned with Opposition are Being Punished for Not Supporting the RPG Arc-en-Ciel

Alpha Conde and his government officials commonly treat members of the opposition like enemies of the state.  Let’s not forget about Cellou Dalein Diallo’s arrival at the airport in the Spring of 2011 after a long period out of the country when Conde sent the military to “break up” the huge crowd of his supporters who gathered to receive him. Many were injured and at least two opposition supporters were killed.  This demonstrates what happens when a head of state enters office without the mandate from the majority — any gathering by the opposition proves that the guy in office did not win the election.  This is also why the government must stop any opposition protest after the election results are announced — the huge numbers will reveal that Conde has now stolen his second election in three years.
Alpha Conde and other RPG “luminaries” have stated publicly that the results of the election must be accepted by all.  Sekou “Resco” Camara, Governor of Conakry, during a presentation at an Art and Trade school a few weeks ago that having Alpha Conde as “president” is “God’s doing.” He also warned the largely youthful audience that they should not gather in the streets with the opposition, because they will be met with the full force of the law.
As a result, it should not be a surprise that the RPG is demanding from those within the country’s administrative network of officials that those not politically aligned with Conde-RPG are being punished.  See a letter further below from the opposition to Guinea PM Fofana informing him that punishment for one’s political views is prohibited by the constitution.
The issue of citizen loyalty was thrust into the spotlight in the United States by a lone senator in the 1950’s.Senator Joseph McCarthy, from Wisconsin, figured that he could make substantial political hay by leading a witch hunt against “perceived” communists and their sympathizers.  He was obsessed with weeding out commies from every facet of American life with the federal government and Hollywood providing the most fertile grounds.
In a public speech in West Virginia in February, 1950, McCarthy claimed he had a list of Communist Party members and names of those in a spy ring, all of whom were employed at the State Department (McCarthy also investigated the Voice of America, the US Army, etc.).  But, it was not until April 1954 that, through his congressional power of subpoena, he scheduled hearings where he paraded Government officials and Hollywood directors, writers, and actors before live television cameras to berate them and accuse them of being disloyal to the country.  Television was in its infancy at this time, but the drama provided by McCarthy and his “suspects” was better than anything Hollywood might have created.  The country was riveted by the “red scare” McCarthy revealed. It was these hearings, perhaps more than anything else, that made Americans recognize the Cold War and that “disloyal” statements were highly suspicious and potentially worth reporting to authorities.
What came out of all this is that McCarthy was an egocentric crackpot who made up evidence against his “suspects.”  He became discredited for unprofessional conduct of his hearings and concerns over his mental state. The Senate took a rare move and censured him. The McCarthy hearings lasted only three months, but it was more than enough to ruin the careers of several government officials and to blacklist for life some of the country’s brightest and most talented Hollywood figures.
Demanding loyalty to the RPG is a dangerous step.
Below is a short video of a McCarthy hearing.  Rarely did anyone ever talk back to Sen. McCarthy,  but Joseph Welch, head counsel for the US Army, had had enough and said,  “Have you no sense of decency?”

 

Translated to English via Google.  Click link below for French version

The Guinean opposition sent a letter to Prime Minister Mohamed Said Fofana: “We take this opportunity to ask you to call your services to the provisions of Article 26 of our constitution

Details
Published on Thursday, November 14, 2013 6:57 p.m.
Written by Barrie K

which enshrines the principle of neutrality of the public service and therefore prohibits any confusion between the exercise of a public function and practice of political activity “

Mr. Prime Minister,

We would like to draw your attention to arbitrary sanctions by certain local administrative authorities to managers in service to the country on the grounds that they have not effectively supported the RPG arc-en-ciel in parliamentary elections September 28, 2013.

To illustrate these abuses taking a scale of growing, we do hold, attached is a list of administrators and politicians considered activists and opposition supporters and recently hit measures revocations or assignments in remote areas of their current place of function.

We take this opportunity to ask you to call your service in compliance with article 26 of our constitution which enshrines the principle of neutrality of the public service and therefore prohibits any confusion between the exercise of a function public and the practice of political activity.

We remind you that the state of advanced degeneration of our government and its inability to effectively play its role in motor and regulator of economic and social development is mainly due to such practices that favor more political affinities that objective criteria competence in the selection and appointment of cadres.

As a result of the above, please kindly, in a spirit of justice, to cancel the allocation of these officials, restore these local officials in their function and ensuring that either put an end to this type of term sanctions unjustified and anachronistic is likely to serve the sustainable development of our countries and the consolidation of national cohesion.

PARTIAL LIST OF LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS AND POSTED OR HALF OF THEIR DUTIES AFTER LEGISLATIVE ELECTION OF 28 September 2013

1. In Kankan:

– Mr Luncény KABA, Unique Number 238535E Federal Secretary of Youth SARP, assigned to Tougué; 
– Mr Antoine DOBO, Unique Number 144146V Federal Secretary UFDG assigned Lélouma; 
– Mr Souleymane Béavogui, Unique Number 194728F member of the Federal Bureau of SARP, assigned to Gaoual.

2. A Dabola:

The Sub-Prefect of Bissikirima, by radio broadcast on October 25, 2013 statement of their duties the following local officials:

– Mr Abdul Thierno Barry, President District Sampolia; 
– Bassy Amadou Sow, Chairman of the District Hamdallaye; 
– El Hadj Abdoulaye Barry, Vice President District Kolon; 
– Mr Ibrahima Diallo, Head of sector Noumoussoulou; 
– Mr Mamadou Alpha Diallo, Head of sector II Loppé 
– Bagou Oumou Camara, Head area. 

3. A Faranah:

– Mr Thierno Barry Sanoussy, Club number 238554S, Secretary UFDG Section marela is assigned to Tiro

PS This list is far from exhaustive. It will be completed gradually as information on similar cases will be specified.

The Republican opposition

On the Eve of Supreme Court Announcement of Election Results, Opposition Asks Supporters to Be at the Ready in Case Street Protests are Called

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto by Guineenews

[The French version can be found at guineenews.org.  Below is the article translated into English by Google, with editing by Guinea Oye.]

Shortly after his return from Dakar, the leader of the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) Diallo, went to Ratoma, a suburb of Conakry, on Thursday to thank its base. Taking advantage of this meeting, he also asked his supporters to stand ready in case the opposition would give instructions for street protests after the publication of the final results of the legislative by the Supreme Court of Guinea.

In the presence of allies, includingMouctar Diallo of the New Democratic Forces (NFD) and new members, including the Ratoma Elhadj Aliou Mamadou Bah, the youth leader has made it clear that Friday will be a decisive day. In his leader, he was asked to keep his speech. Young, he told them to remain “united, welded”.

In his speech, Diallo praised his supporters for both the mobilization and participation in the last elections and that, despite all the difficulties encountered. “The victory of Ratoma is not a surprise though Mr. Alpha Condé has tried everything.”

Speaking of publication of the final results of the legislative, Diallo electrifies the crowd. “I see, everyone here would like to know what would be done tomorrow,” he started the cheers.

Moreover, Diallo has asked his supporters to be ready. “I ask you to stay tuned for the party leadership, trust us. Opposition will have a meeting at noon Saturday UFDG after the announcement of final results, we will discuss the results and make a decision. Until then, stay ready and mobilized. “

Later, the leader of the UFDG warned his supporters that his party does not fight for the presidency of the National Assembly, but the President of the Republic in 2015, he insisted.

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 ?”