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
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Guinea Election Update 10-25: The Next Two Weeks

Guinea Oye apologizes for being out of pocket over the last several days. Here is a short update that should give you an idea of what to expect over the next two weeks concerning the Supreme Court review of and decision on the September 28 legislative elections.  

 
The CENI submitted the provisional numbers from the legislative election to the Supreme Court last Sunday. Political parties wishing to challenge any aspect of the election — CENI mismanagement, omission of data, and fraud — have a five day window to make its submissions to the Supreme Court.  The window opened at midnight, Monday, October 21 and closes midnite, Monday, October 28.  By Tuesday, October 29, it is conceivable that the Supreme Court could begin deliberations.  A representative of the Court stated recently that deliberations should be complete by November 11 and their decision would follow.
 
Both the opposition and the RPG arc-en-ciel have declared their intentions to make such filings with the Court.  Unfortunately, some of the opposition political parties are having difficulty obtaining the detailed information required by the Court to fully substantiate their claims in their submissions.  The problem centers on the CENI which has refused, thus far, to post on its website the “minutes” from voting stations.  Prior to submitting the provisional numbers to the Supreme Court, the EU Observer Mission expressed concern to the CENI about not making the minutes publicly available. A few days ago, the EU Observation Mission issued another request to the CENI to post minutes on its website, but so far, there has been no response.  
 
The opposition maintains its call for annulment of the election and the Govt-CENI -RPG continues to belittle the opposition’s call.  

Guinea Opposition to Ask Supreme Court to Annul Parliamentary Vote

Published: Sunday October 20, 2013 MYT 2:05:02 AM
Updated: Sunday October 20, 2013 MYT 2:06:06 AM

Guinea opposition to ask Supreme Court to annul parliamentary vote

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CONAKRY (Reuters) – Guinea’s main opposition parties accused the ruling party on Saturday of massive fraud in last month’s parliamentary election and said they would call on the Supreme Court to annul the vote.

The statement was the first official reaction to the complete results issued on Friday, which showed the President Alpha Conde’s ruling party won 53 seats but fell just short of an absolute majority in parliament.

The September 28 vote, which is meant to complete the return to civilian rule but was more than two years late, has been dogged by wrangling between parties, triggered deadly street protests and dented investor confidence in the iron and bauxite-rich state.

“We have decided to file a complaint (at the Supreme Court), with all the necessary proof, calling for the complete annulment of the vote,” said Aboubacar Sylla, a spokesman for the umbrella of opposition groups.

The coalition includes Cellou Dalein Diallo’s UFDG, which came second with 37 seats, Sidya Toure’s UFR, which won 10 seats and two other minor parties that secured a pair of seats each.

“What we are seeing a complete farce brought about by massive fraud organised by the ruling party,” Sylla added.

Opposition parties had earlier called for the vote to be cancelled during the counting process. They also threatened more protests. About 50 people were killed in demonstrations over election preparations earlier this year.

Conde’s camp has already said it will challenge in the Supreme Court the results from some districts where it says the opposition rigged the outcome.

Earlier this month, observers from the United States, France, the European Union, the United Nations and West African regional bloc ECOWAS said they had identified problems with voting in a number of districts, potentially harming the credibility of these results.

But diplomats, led by the United Nations, have sought to restore confidence in the process and, in particular, the election commission, which is deeply divided.

Conde’s RPG party needs the backing of another four seats in parliament to secure a majority so a period of deal-making is expected after results are confirmed.

While an important last step in the tortuous return to civilian rule following a 2009, the vote is also seen by many politicians in Guinea as warm-up for the presidential election in 2015, when Conde’s first 5-year term comes to an end.

(Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by David Lewis)

CENI Announces Provisional Numbers for All Legislative Elections Held on September 28

Under heavy security at the Palais du Peuple (the National Assembly)
the President of the CENI, Bakary Fofana, delivered the full set of provisional numbers.  
Note that the opposition continues to demand for the election to be annulled.
 
Below are two links which will take you to the Africaguinee website which has posted the numbers. The site is in French.  When we get a good English version, we will post it on Guinea Oye.
 
Stay tuned.

CENI Announces Numbers for Matoto, A Full Set of Provisional Numbers Are to Be Announced Tomorrow Night -8PM

After agonizing days and hours pouring over real ballots, fake ballots, real PVs, fake PVs, having droop-eyed Alhassane Conde strut around like a field marshall supervising the vote count and the EU observers who walked around for weeks with their mouths agape because they couldn’t believe what they were seeing AND who stayed overnight at the centralization station to prevent the Guinean electoral commission, the CENI, and the RPG from continuing to commit fraud, there was hardly a dull or fair moment in Guinea’s 2013 electoral farce.
 
The CENI provided numbers* for Matoto today. Concerning single-member constituencies, Sidya Toure (UFR) was elected with 112,437 votes against against the RPG (ruling party) candidate with 110,709 votes.  
 
Regarding proportional representation, the ruling party (RPG) is leading with 103,363 votes, followed by the main opposition party, UFDG which collected 70,999 votes. The third political force in the country (UFR) is also third with 53,392 votes. And, the SARP is fourth with 13,295 votes.
 
guineenews.org is featuring its estimate of the allocation of national assembly seats among the political parties.  You may wish to check out that website as well.
 
 
 
*Guinea Oye is unable to say that any of the numbers announced today are “results,” given the massive, audacious fraud the government committed.  Thus, we will refer to CENI “results” as numbers.

To Matoto, Alpha Conde Sends a “Magistrate Superviseur”– No Such Position Under Guinea Electoral Code– to Bring the Win Home for the RPG (FR-EN)

Read about the RPG-CENI’s latest maneuvering to give Alpha Conde a majority in the national assembly.   The same kind of fraud took place in the 2010 presidential election in which the RPG and the CENI worked in tandem to bring Alpha Conde to Sekoutoureya Palace. 
The Supreme Court gave the RPG-CENI the go-ahead to recount the ballots in Matoto.  It started today.
[Below is a link to the French version of the article.  After that, is an English version translated with Guinea and editing by Guinea Oye.]
 
In Guinea, representatives of the authorities and the opposition continued to struggle Sunday to agree on checks on the Matoto vote count, which ifs the largest constituency in the country, and continues to delay the publication of the full results of the parliamentary elections of September 28.


According to an AFP reporter, the blockage is in the administrative commission of the centralization of votes (CACV) in popular area of Conakry and the first constituency of Guinea with 440,000 enrolled.

The CACV is responsible for collecting and transmitting the results to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), a joint body composed of representatives of the presidential majority and the opposition, which is now awaiting the results of Matoto on 38 constituencies.

The problem for several days has been that, the ruling party, the Rally of the People of Guinea (RPG), demanded various checks, putting in doubt the veracity of the Matoto figures and suspecting the President of the CACV, the magistrate, Victorian Rahba,  suspecting the Minutes (PV) were manipulated.

The CENI petitioned the Supreme Court to have Rahba replaced. Further, pending the response of the court, the CENI announced that it has designated a special magistrate, Seny Camara, to “supervise” the work of the CACV in Matoto, hoping it will lift the locking.

This solution was rejected by the opposition, which has challenged the magistrate Camara, and reiterated its request for cancellation of elections.

I would like to reaffirm our desire to see the elections canceled and in the meantime, we reject in the most categorical way the presence of the supervisory Magistrate, a term coined by the CENI, which does not exist in the Guinean electoral Code, said former prime minister, Sidya Toure, in the presence of other opposition leaders, Diallo and Jean-Marie Dore.

We are adamantly opposed to another judge to replace the one in place. We will not accept it, he added.

The vote count was expected to resume Sunday after several days in which the work could not take place, whereas party representatives were on hand for Sunday morning as well as observers from the European Union (EU). No incidents have been reported, however, according to the AFP journalist.

The special election security force (Fossel), however, was on higher alert than the previous day outside the headquarters of the CACV and inside the building, reported the journalist.

In a statement released Sunday, the representatives of the international community committee members asked that the government and the Guinean opposition follow previous agreements regarding legislative elections and expressed concern over delays in the publication of the provisional results of the election on 28 September.

They call on the CENI  to make every effort to complete the tabulation of provisional election results for publication as soon as possible and, in any event, before the holiday of (Muslim) Eid al-Adha, which should be celebrated Tuesday or Wednesday in Guinea.

They invite, in particular, political parties and all the institutions concerned to cooperate fully to complete the finalization and tabulation of the results of riding Matoto.

By Sunday evening, the CENI had released the results of the election on September 28 in 37 of 38 districts which, according to unofficial figures, give a slight edge to the camp of President Alpha Conde.

According to statements made ​​at the first tabulation in Matoto, opposition is given the lead.

However, the complex mode of election (SMP for 38 MPs proportional to the largest remainder for the other 76) makes any random projection difficult, according to experts.

 

Source AFP

EU Observers Stay Overnight in Matoto Clearinghouse to Prevent RPG-CENI from Committing Fraud (FR-EN)

Article from leguepard.net follows.  For French version, click on link directly below.  Article translated into English via Google with editing by Guinea Oye follows.

Certainly, Alpha Conde is determined to grant himself a victory without honor in Matoto. All methods are now used to make this possible through a fraudulent election already expected by the national and international opinion, of delaying the transmission of CENI’s record of votes, or PVs, in order to introduce false PVs in the office of centralization for results in Matoto. Being aware that these false PVs will not be invalidated either by the CENI, much less by the Supreme Court which is allied with the president. RPG victory depends only on its ability to introduce false PVs to the office of centralization. Hence, the determination to delay their transfers until the introduction of false PVs.

The attempt by RPG activists to introduce fraudulent PVs, which was scheduled for last night Thursday, October 10, 2013, was thwarted by the determination of observers from the European Union, whose seven members spent Thursday night in the Matoto clearinghouse.

Frustrated by the failure inflicted on its plan to commit fraud Thursday night, RPG activists returned on Friday, October 11, 2013, to cause trouble near the clearinghouse. Their representatives came out of their office for no good reason, with the aim of stopping the centralization of results.

Faced with this delaying tactic, representatives of the opposition demanded that the   centralization work continue due to the presence of the EU observers and a government representative who is also vice chairman of the committee, a Mr. Toure. This can ensure the fairness of the results being designated by the administration.  

Informed of this, the Minister of Territorial Administration, Mr. Alassane Conde ordered Mr. Toure to leave the room with the representatives of the RPG, under the eyes of European observers who were not absolutely sure they would return. However, the administration and its representatives have a legal obligation to adopt a position of strict neutrality in the electoral process.  

It is worth noting that the centralization work which remains to be done in Matoto takes no more than thirty (30) minutes. Yet, this unspeakable delay is only the expression of the will of President Alpha Condé to confiscate once again the expression of the popular will. This raises the question of the validity of these elections simply because the statutory period for proclamation of  preliminary results by CENI, under Article 163 of the Electoral Code, ie 72 hours after the elections, are widely exceeded.

This is unfortunate and damaging to President Alpha Conde, given that the electoral robbery   is happening under the eyes of observers from the European Union and an AFP journalist. You have to be Alpha Conde to take such a risk.

To be continued …..
Leguepard.net