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
 

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ECOWAS: Amb. to Dakar Can’t Find Guineans to Give Conde a “Warm Welcome,” Instead Guineans Show Up to Protest – 11 Arrested (EN-FR)

In addition to the protest, the police arrested and detained the Federal Secretary of the UFDG in Dakar, Elhaj. Sidy Boubacar Bah, who spent three hours at the police station. When Guinea’s Ambassador Keita realized he could not get a warm, substantial crowd at the airport in Dakar to greet Conde and that the opposition was going through with its plans to protest, he sought some “assistance” from Senegalese cops to detain opposition supporters. But, unlike Guinea, it is a new day with Macky Sall as president, and it would not be out of the question for him to ensure that the Guinean ambassador doesn’t use his cops again as his own private henchmen.

11 Guinean arrested upon arrival in Dakar Alpha Condé (exclusive) – translated into English via Google

Posted on October 25, 2013

Heads of State and Government in the Senegalese capital in the extraordinary summit of ECOWAS. The arrival of President Alpha Condé in Dakar recorded incidents. Young Guinean much students, placards in hand, demonstrated against the Head of State.

An angry protesters reached by phone, said that this event is to protest against election fraud that took place during the election on September 28. According to witnesses, protesters chanted slogans against the regime of President Condé, accused of creating a “new dictatorship” in Guinea. About 11 young people were arrested and taken to the police station from Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport. The protesters accused Ambassador Bo Keita for having these arrests. At last some were later released against others continue their stay at the police station.

Alpha Oumar Diallo Aminata.com
alpha.oumar @ aminata.com
+224 666 62 25 24

11 guinéens arrêtés lors de l’arrivée de Alpha Condé à Dakar (exclusif) 

 
Posted on October 25, 2013

Des chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement sont dans la capitale sénégalaise dans le cadre du sommet extraordinaire de la CEDEAO.  L’arrivée du Président Alpha Condé à Dakar a enregistré des incidents. Des jeunes guinéens une grande partie des étudiants, pancartes en main, ont manifesté contre le Chef de l’Etat.

Un des manifestants en colère joint par téléphone, indique que cette sortie vise à protester contre les fraudes électorales qui se sont déroulées lors du scrutin du 28 septembre dernier. Selon des témoins, les manifestants scandaient de slogans hostiles au régime du Président Condé, accusé d’instaurer une “nouvelle dictature” en Guinée. Environ 11 jeunes ont été arrêtés et conduits à la gendarmerie de l’aéroport international Léopold Sédar Senghor. Les manifestants accusent l’ambassadeur Bo Keita d’avoir organisé ces arrestations. Aux dernières nouvelles certains ont été libérés par contre d’autres continuent leur séjour à la gendarmerie.

Alpha Oumar Diallo pour Aminata.com
alpha.oumar@aminata.com

Guinea’s Legislative Election Postponed to September 28 – Reuters

Guinea’s legislative election postponed to September 28: mediator

CONAKRY | Sat Sep 21, 2013 5:47pm EDT

(Reuters) – Guinea’s long-delayed legislative election scheduled for Tuesday has been postponed by four days to September 28 following talks between the opposition and government on Saturday in Conakry, a U.N. mediator said.

Guinea’s main opposition leader had threatened to call supporters into the streets if authorities pushed ahead with the election without fully addressing complaints over preparations. He said he was satisfied with the delay announced on Saturday.

The poll, meant to cap Guinea’s transition back to civilian rule, has been delayed repeatedly since President Alpha Conde was elected three years ago, sowing doubts among Guineans, investors and donors over political progress in the world’s top bauxite exporter.

Said Djinnit, the U.N. mediator charged with ending a political deadlock in a country that is prone to violent street protests, said all parties had agreed to the delay to let the electoral commission fine-tune its plans.

“We are convinced that with this agreement, nothing can hinder the holding of parliamentary elections under free, transparent, and inclusive conditions on Saturday, September 28, 2013 in Guinea and abroad,” Djinnit said.

The opposition has complained that the voter list is riddled with errors, meaning many of its supporters have been left off while people elsewhere in the country have been registered several times over.

It also complains that polling stations in opposition strongholds have been scattered far apart, meaning voters would have to travel far and therefore be less likely to vote.

Cellou Dalein Diallo, the main opposition leader, said he had wanted a longer delay to fix the problems but had agreed to the compromise of Sept 28.

“For the credibility of the agreement (reached between the political parties), it was important to have a further delay,” he said.

Dozens of people have been killed in protests over the election preparations this year.

Election experts say the delay will allow organizers to address some of the issues, but a fundamental lack of trust between the two sides and the election commission, which is seen as pro-Conde, means tensions are likely to simmer.

The West African nation’s economic growth forecast has been slashed to 2.9 percent for this year, down from 4.5 percent, because of the protests and political paralysis.

The unrest and a review of contracts led to major mining firms – looking to tap into Guinea’s iron ore reserves, seen as some of the world’s largest – stalling planned projects.

(Writing by David Lewis and Bate Felix; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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

GUINEA DIALOGUE: Opposition Chooses Its Mediator – Salifou Sylla, Still Waiting for Gov’t. Choice and Selection of Mediator from the International Community

Today, the opposition submitted to Prime Minister Fofana’s office, the name of Salifou Sylla as its choice for mediator. The government is supposed to announce the name of its mediator shortly. And, then the most interesting step is choosing a mediator from the international community. The opposition expressed a distinct preference to a have a mediator from either ECOWAS or the African Union. Guineenews.org is reporting that a likely candidate for the position of international mediator is General Lamine Cisse, a Senegalese national. He was Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the UN Office for Peacebuilding in the Central African Republic (BONUCA) from 2007 to 2011.

Background on Salifou Sylla can be found in the following article from aminata.com [translated via Google with editing by Guinea Oye]

The opposition’s choice for mediator in the crisis is Salifou Sylla

Posted on March 21, 2013

Opponents gathered within the collective, ADP and CDR brought their choice on a former Minister of Justice under Lansana Conté’s administration to conduct the negotiations. Their choice is Salifou Sylla, who currently serves as amember of the National Council ofTtransition (CNT) which functions as Guinea’s parliament.

Reached by telephone by Aminata.com Aboubacar Sylla, spokesman for the opposition this Salifou Sylla like a man who has proven experience. “He was a minister of justice, he was Ambassador of Guinea to Paris. He participated in the drafting of some of our constitutions. He always had a measured position in the electoral process. So we trust him,” said the leader of the Union of Forces for Change.

For Aboubacar Sylla, the former minister has no affiliation with party of the opposition. “We looked for a facilitator who is not necessarily of our political parties, who is able to inspire our confidence as well a others,” he adds. The former Minister of Communication indicated that the opposition had called some people to serve as mediator. “There are some that were also proposed, but they said they were not available. We thought the ambassador Rafiou Barry, who was a member of the mediation of Archbishop Gomez, who resigned because he saw the drift over time of the committee. There are also Hadja Aicha Bah. It has emerged a group of names, finally, our choice fell on Mr. Salifou Sylla, “he says.

Alpha Oumar Diallo, Aminata.com
alphaayatoullah@yahoo.fr
+224 66 62 25 24

Africa Liberal Network Condemns State-Ordered Violence in Guinea and Voices Support for the Political Opposition

Declaration of ALN on the situation in Guinea

Created Wednesday, March 6, 2013 2:27

March 2013. Translated into English via Google

The RLA & Liberal International The RLA & Liberal International President of ALN, RLA, the Honorable Olivier Kamitatu Etsu, expresses its deep regret at the tragic death of five people and a policeman. He presents his condolences to the bereaved families. After a week of violence observed in Guinea, it also expressed its deep concern at the various reports of hundreds injured.

The ALN and all its members condemn without appeal the use of live ammunition by the Guinean security forces and demand that those responsible for killings and injuries are brought to justice. In addition, the RLA strongly condemns attacks against journalists, members of civil society and politicians following the breakdown of discussions about elections scheduled for May 12.

The ALN supports the decision of its members – the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG), the Union of Republican Forces (UFR) and the Party of Unity and Social Liberalism (PULS) – as well as other opposition parties to withdraw discussions as long as their legitimate demands have not been met through an inclusive dialogue with all stakeholders facilitated by a neutral mediator and respected.

The ALN is convinced that in the current conditions, the parliamentary elections scheduled for May 12, 2013 will be neither free nor democratic, and can lead to more destabilization and division of the country.

The ALN request the President Condé to take into account the legitimate claims of the opposition and make sure that – two years after his controversial election – to hold the first legislative elections in ten years. The RLA calls to end the political impasse and that significant advances are made for the consolidation of the electoral system, the democratization of the country and the election of a new National Assembly to replace the National Council of Transition (CNT).

The ALN calls for military not to meddle in politics, recalling the role of the military is to facilitate peace and security, to restore political stability and democratic rights and to respect freedoms enshrined in the Constitution of Guinea.

The ALN known partners such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union, the United Nations, the Francophonie and the European Union to facilitate discussions and ensure process open and transparent electoral.

The ALN work with all parties and members of Liberal International to ensure that all support is given to the democratic process in Guinea and that those responsible for the crisis in Guinea are severely punished.

Dated at Cape Town on 4 March 2013.

ECOWAS-African Union-UN Delegation in Conakry Today?

Guinean news sites are reporting that a joint ECOWAS-African Union-United Nations delegation will be in Conakry today to talk about the current political situation with Conde and PM Fofana, CNT president Rabiatou Sera Diallo and opposition leaders. The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Desiré Kadré Ouadraégo, from Burkina Faso, is leading the delegation. While the specific agenda for the meetings has not been made public, it appears that the first order of business will be to catalogue the concerns of Guinea’s political class in a summary document.

While a few opposition leaders have called for ECOWAS, AU, and UN intervention in the the political and institutional crisis in Guinea, the arrival of the delegation seems sudden. In particular, two of the primary opposition leaders, Cellou Diallo and Sidya Toure, are in the US attending the Democratic National Convention. One has to wonder if the Conde administration, realizing the best offense might be a good defense, orchestrated the delegation’s immediate presence in Conakry today to quell future calls by the opposition for international intervention in Guinea.

Stay tuned . . .