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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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

A Bit of Comic Relief – Sidya Toure: “We asked for a UN helicopter to transport the results from Kaloum to the CENI”

From guineenews.org

Article translated into English via Google with editing by Guinea Oye

Due to the slow release of some preliminary results of the vote, the leader of the Union of Republican Forces (UFR), Sidya Touré, joked with his peers in the opposition suggested that they ask for a United Nations to charter a helicopter to transport the results from Kaloum to the Electoral Commission.

Nine days after the vote, the results of Kaloum, Matoto and Ratoma three communes of Conakry are just a ten minute drive from the headquarters of the CENI but we are still waiting on them, while the returns from Lola and Yomou city which are more than 1000 km away, and they are distributed. 

“Kouyate has forgotten something, we have introduced a formal request to the United Nations to provide a helicopter that will transport results Kaloum and Matoto to the Ceni. Because it’s been nine days. I think the UN helicopter is needed, “insisted Mr. Touré.

And former Prime Minister Jean Marie Dore was invited to join in. “Our unit is unwavering. Be sure of this,” said he said.

To a colleague, who asked if the CENI has jurisdiction to annul an election, Mr. Dore replied bluntly. “That’s his business.” It was enough to make people laugh all together

Campaign for Guinea Legislative Elections Begins: Will the Opposition Boycott?

Alpha Conde issued a decree on Thursday setting the time period for legislative election campaigning.  The campaign began Friday and spans until September 22, two days before the September 24 election.  Thirty-three political parties filed candidate lists for 114 seats in the National Assembly.

Alpha Conde has been touring various parts of Guinea, many of them areas he has not visited since his usurpation of the presidency in 2010.  In Kankan and Labe, Conde was met with protests and repression by both police and military forces has been swift resulting in injuries and arrests.  One radio station in Kankan was attacked by government forces and accused of focusing its coverage on anti-Conde demonstrations.  More on this in the next post.
Having thorough experience with Guinea’s electoral commission, the CENI, both during the 2010 presidential election and in preparation for legislative elections, the opposition parties are contemplating the need to boycott the election.  At a press conference last Sunday, president of the UFDG opposition party, Cellou Dalein Diallo, expressed concern about the election.  “We are in a crisis of confidence.   I cannot tell you if we will go to the polls or not because we don’t know for sure that the CENI has conducted the major steps of preparation within strict lines of security.
The opposition held another press conference on August 21, regarding the upcoming elections. Here is a synthesis of the press conference prepared by Xinhua.  Article translated into English via Google with editing by Guinea Oye.
Opposition political parties are threatening to boycott the parliamentary elections.
The political leaders of the Collective block “of political parties to finalize the transition, the Alliance for Democracy and Progress (ADP), Club Republicans (CDR) and the Front for union democracy and progress (FDP) “threaten to boycott parliamentary elections scheduled in September if the security conditions are not met. During a joint press conference held Tuesday by all political opposition leaders, the issue of securing the electoral process and guarantees to support the organization of elections have been the subject of debate and exchange between politicians and the local press. The spokesman of the opposition Aboubacr Sylla denounced the “shenanigans” of the government, which is determined to send only members of its own party, the Rally of the People of Guinea Arc-en-ciel in the upcoming National Assembly of Guinea. According to him, the body responsible for organizing the elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), should be criticized for the delay in the electoral timetable which should lead to the effective holding of the said legislation on September 24.

Electoral redistricting, recently conducted by INEC, has raised fears and concerns among the population, despite the announcement of the ruling party saying that it would help get voters to their polling stations throughout the country, said Mr. Sylla. Political leaders have recognized that the increase from 9,000 to 12,000 polling between the 2010 election and now is a positive development. However, this situation may confuse some voters who have been re-assigned from one polling station to another without any opportunity to easily locate prior their polling stations prior to election day.  For the leader of the opposition Cellou Dalein Diallo, President of the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG), politicians of the opposition can not participate in a vote that INEC wants to organize that does not take into account the clauses in agreements hammered out during a political crisis which took several months of inter-Guinean dialogue driven by an emissary of the international community. “I can not tell you today if we will go to the elections, but we must respect the law,” said Cellou Dalein Diallo.

Jean Marie Dore, president of the Union for the Progress of Guinea (UPG) has accused the INEC of working clandestinely to promote the ruling party’s camp in order to get a landslide victory in the future Guinean Parliament. He feels that this electoral institution has systematically violated election laws and political agreements that guide and govern all stages of the electoral process. “The information filtering process on the organization on the organization of the elections continues to indicate, that various aspects of the election, the latest  of which is “the recent redistricting and increase of the number of polling stations,, is a concern for us,” said Mr. Dore. He added that the international community must do more to prevent manipulation of the electoral file by the government in connivance with INEC.  dkAs for the political leaders of the presidential majority, it is time to prepare for the start of the electoral campaign, the date will be fixed in the coming days.
At a recent meeting between political parties and members of the INEC, Diao Camara, of the presidential movement emphasized that redistricting allows millions of voters to avoid too much back and forth on the day of the vote, especially for citizens in the communities where access is not easy. He urged political leaders to trust that the INEC is determined to keep its promise that it is organizing  transparent and credible elections in the interest of the entire country, without exception. For his part, the president of the CENI, Bakary Fofana, recently reaffirmed in a statement the commitment of the institution to organize fair and credible elections with the participation of all components of Guinean politics, engaged in the race for legislative elections. To date, it is up to members of the technical committee prior to sending forth staff out to the field prior to the election to effectively monitor and control all steps in preparation for the electoral process, thus  avoiding attitudes that can undermine the credibility and reliability that voters will depend on.  The current electoral register includes 5.3 million voters.

Guinea Update 4-10: Guinea PM Fofana Invites Kouyate, Toure, Diallo and Dore for a Chat and the CENI Confirms the Commonly Held Belief That It Should Not Be Running Elections

GuineaselectionOPPOSITION MARCH – SEPTEMBER 2012

PM Mohamed Said Fofana invited four of Guinea’s former prime ministers to meet with him at the Palace today: Cellou Dalein Diallo, Lansana Koyate, Sidya Toure, and Jean-Marie Dore. Opposition spokesperson, Aboubacar Sylla, participated as well. The meeting took less than an hour.

While participants have not commented publicly on the topic(s) discussed, guinee58.com speculates that PM Fofana brought the group together to share the name of the person chosen by the UN to serve as international facilitator for the Guinea dialogue.

Regarding the CENI, more trouble is brewing. By agreement between the government and the opposition, the CENI is supposed to put all its activities on hold until after the conclusion of dialogue talks. Word comes from several areas in the Forest region, that the CENI is busy working away.

Freezing the activities of the CENI is a long-standing condition of the opposition to enter into talks in the first place. This is not a frivolous request. The CENI has dealt consistently in bad fair with the opposition and, in particular, the opposition’s representatives on the CENI.

A particularly serious issue is that the CENI, under the guise of revision of the electoral rolls, is actually conducting a census which is not a function under the CENI’s mandate. A census conducted by an electoral body such as the CENI, which has a known political bias, can easily alter the ethnic and political landscape of Guinea — in a way that has little bearing in reality. Should the country decide to do a census in the future, participation would involve a wide spectrum of Guinean society.

Upon finding out that the CENI was conducting census work in N’Zerekore and other areas, the opposition sent a letter to prefectural officials on April 5, asking that the CENI stop immediately.

With a CENI like this and an election contractor like Waymark, no member of the international community would tolerate such illegal activities in their own elections — they should not be asking the people of Guinea to do so either.

Int’l. Community’s Pact with the Devil: Conde’s Guinea Denies Free Movement, Forces Repatriations, and Assassinates Opponents

When Guinea Oye! reports on the repressive measures of Alpha Conde’s regime, it is difficult not to reflect on how the international community responded when Conde was declared “winner” of the 2010 presidential election. It seemed to echo, forever: “democratically-elected,” “democratically-elected,” “democratically-elected.” Of course, Conde was not elected democratically, rather, he, the CENI’s Louceny Camara, interim president Sekouba Konate, interim Prime MinisterJean-Marie Dore, Francois Fall, Bernard Kouchner and the Organization of the International Francophonie, ALL collaborated in stealing the election.

In 2009-10, the international community, in a panic about the military junta that seized control of Guinea in 2008, upon the death of President Lansana Conte, made a pact with the devil. Knowing a military junta would negatively impact investor confidence in Guinea and recognizing the potential of the 50,000 soldier military to keep the country in a state of perpetual coups, the international community pressed for a presidential election in 2010, come hell or high water. The sooner Guinea had a civilian president in place, the sooner investors could be reassured.

Out of necessity, the international community set the bar very low for what would constitute a successful election. As long as there were two rounds which yielded a “winner” blessed by the Supreme Court, little else mattered. HOW the election was run was of little consequence. Nothing would, and nothing did, get in the way of Guinea holding the election – not the relentless state-sponsored violence directed at supporters of Conde’s opponents, not extra-judicial killings, not illegal incarcerations, not torture, not rape, not disenfranchisement and not massive electoral fraud. Evidently, the ethnic violence against Peuls would not stop the show either.

The international community kept its silence about the state-supported violence, Conde stole the election and today, the people of Guinea are in the cross hairs of a president who metes out repression trying to hold on to a job that was never his in the first place.

Now, the international community is pressing Guinea to organize legislative elections to “finalize Guinea’s transition to democracy.” This might be a good time for the international community to take a look, two years on, at the devil with whom it dealt.

Conde Government Denies Opposition Leaders Freedom of Movement

Fria is an industrial city about 160k north of Conakry. In Fria, bauxite is extracted and processed into alumina, from which aluminum is made. Recently, Russian mining company, RUSAL, operator of the processing plant, closed down the plant after worker strikes and other problems. The economic impact was immediate. In addition to job losses and unpaid back wages, the town lost water and electricity, previously supplied by RUSAL. Residents of Fria called on national authorities for help, but the plea fell on deaf ears for a while.

Opposition leader, Cellou Dalein Diallo, travelled to Fria recently bringing 100 bags of rice. Conde, concerned that Diallo was getting ahead of him in political points, sent 50 bags and promised large monthly shipments of both rice and fuel. Whether this assistance materializes, remains to be seen.

Last Friday, former presidential candidate and opposition leader, Lansana Kouyate, headed for Fria to donate food and assistance as well. He got within 30 kilometers and was stopped in the town of Tormelin by gendarmes and military soldiers. They informed Kouyate that he could not proceed further.

When contacted by the Kouyate delegation, the Fria prefect, Mohammed Conte, said it was not a good time to go to Fria because of ongoing “worker-RUSAL talks.” Conte invited Kouyate to return at another time. As a result, Kouyate’s entourage returned to Conakry.

Kouyate planned on returning to Fria this week and hoped to have the support of an opposition delegation as he makes another attempt to deliver goods and assistance. No further word as of this posting.

This is not the first time an opposition leader has been prevented free movement in Guinea. In fact, there is a more bizarre example and it concerns Cellou Dalein Diallo.

Back in late July, Cellou Diallo, returning to Guinea after a visit in Sierra Leone, was stopped at the border of Sierra Leone and the Guinean prefecture of Forecariah, by the prefect, Mme. Leno. She said that Diallo’s entourage should proceed quickly through her prefecture and should not stop to eat nor hold “meetings.” After issuing these instructions, Mme. Leno turned to Ibrahima Sory Toure, a member of Diallo’s entourage, and told him he did not belong in Forecariah, this in spite of the fact that he is a Forecariah native. Mr. Toure told Mme. Leno that Diallo should not be allowed into Forecariah unless he dined with him at his home. After some negotiations, Mme. Leon finally allowed members of the Diallo entourage to enter their own country as Mme. Leno and security forces following closely. Before long, she received a call from Guinea’s Interior Minister, Alhassane Conde. After the call, security appeared to relax and Mme. Leon stopped trailing the entourage, but not before shouting to security as she left, “NO MEETINGS.”

In the end all worked out well. Diallo dined at Toure’s home and attended a meeting where he spoke to citizens of Forecariah. Given Alhassane Conde’s primary role as Conde administration attack dog, it’s tough to know who was involved in the decision to “ease up” on Diallo’s entourage. Certainly, someone in Conakry understood that a ridiculous and embarrassing situation was about to unfold and that it should be defused. But, with the scene at the border, the damage was done already. Thankfully the UFDG party chronicled the encounter so that Guinea Oye! could share it with you.

Conde has a tight network of prefects throughout the country who have been instructed to prevent opposition leaders from entering their prefectures and, when that is impossible, to limit their movement severely. When you steal elections, as Conde did, you spend an inordinate amount of time preventing political leaders, who garnered more votes than you, from appearing in public surrounded by enthusiastic supporters. The government’s ban on marches is designed to achieve the same purpose.

The question for the international community is, can it justify supporting legislative elections when the government limits free speech and free movement of members of the opposition?

Forced Repatriations and Reports of Guinean Gov’t. Assassins Tracking Opponents in the Diaspora

The Conde administration has a fairly good handle on controlling dissent within the country, but outside, not so much. Those who oppose Conde outside Guinea are being targeted in two ways: forced repatriation of political asylum seekers and as potential victims of a Guinean government hit squad.

Recently, several Guinean websites reported that detectives from Guinea have been dispatched to Belgium, Germany, the U. S. and beyond to track down Guinean political asylum seekers to place them in a cue for repatriation. Staff of Guinean embassies facilitate the repatriation process through authorities of the host countries. This process seems to be lucrative as well. Because many asylum seekers are held in immigration prisons at great expense, EU countries find it cheaper to pay the Guinean government 3K euros for each person repatriated.

The choice about who gets repatriated appears to be tied to ethnicity and political affiliation. This should not be a surprise, as the core of Conde’s political machine is ethnically-based. As for the repatriated asylum seeker, he loses all progress made on his asylum claim. Even more disturbing is that the personal safety of repatriated Guineans, upon return to Guinea, is highly tenuous.

After two years, Conde’s rhetoric and repression are at fever pitch. But, voices of dissent in the diaspora have grown into a virtual chorus of condemnation. This is bad news for a president who has been met with significant protests in both the United States and France and who will face more of the same next month when he comes to New York to attend the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly.

Even more concerning are reports that government assassins are making the rounds in several countries targeting Conde’s political opponents. This is terrifying news, but not an unfamiliar practice to Guineans. Sekou Toure sent agents to various parts of the world to assassinate troublesome opponents.

The international community is once again about to shove another election down the throats of Guineans and, just like the presidential election in 2010, it will overlook the fraud and violence which are certain to accompany it.

Will the people of Guinea allow the same scenario in its legislative elections? Already, there has been substantial opposition to the Organization of the International Francophonie’s interference in the legislative elections process. Given that the OIF was complicit in the fraudulent 2010 presidential election, this opposition is completely warranted.

International human rights organizations should closely chronicle election fraud and monitor all state-supported violence, with special emphasis on ethnic targeting. Human rights groups should make it very clear that a population terrorized by its own government can never enjoy a free and fair election.

And, the international community, should take a moment to wrest the September 28, 2009 massacre case from Conde’s tight grip and that of his loyal jurists and get it transferred to an international tribunal where victims might get justice before they die. It should be noted, that in 2010, the September 28 massacre case was stopped dead in its tracks at the International Criminal Court by the international community because it worried that indictments of the military perpetrators would create havoc and jeopardize the holding of Guinea’s sham election.