Guinea’s CENI Members – “CENI Prez Cutting Members Out of Election Decisions”: The Int’l. Community Needs to Pull the Plug on This Election

FOSSSSEPEL

GUINEA’S NOT SO FINEST – FOSSEPEL, ELECTION POLICE

You would think FOSSEPEL guards ballot boxes and assists  voters, but you would be wrong.  During 2010 election violence against opposition supporters, these guys were dishing out the brutality with the rest of the state security apparatus

Yesterday, nine members of Guinea’s electoral commission, the CENI, including its Vice-President, held a press conference in Conakry to inform the people of Guinea that CENI president, Bakary Fofana, is systematically excluding them from making decisions regarding legislative elections. Fofana’s modus operandi, as described in their press statement (see below), is to prevent thorough discussion, consensus or voting on issues critical to the holding of elections. As a result, Fofana is making decisions in a unilateral manner, such as the choice of May 12, 2013, for the elections. You may recall that when this was announced, many CENI members said they were not consulted. Further, Fofana pitches “his” position on issues to the media and passes them off as being approved by the CENI.

At the press conference, the CENI members stated they have tried, on many occasions, to raise the issue to Fofana about his lack of consultation with them, but got nowhere. One CENI member suggested that, if things do not improve, it might be necessary to consult the courts and raise the issue internationally.

Most likely, election decisions made by a tag team of Fofana and Alpha Conde. Makes it easier to set up and conduct the fraud.

Why does Conde need Fofana to commit election fraud in 2013? In 2010, Conde stole the presidential election by having then-president of the CENI, Louceny Camara, a loyalist of Conde’s RPG party, work his vote stealing magic. In the first round of the election, Camara stole 50,000 ballots which had been cast for UFDG candidate, Cellou Dalein Diallo, thus, denying him winning the presidency outright. The idea was to create conditions that would force a second round where massive fraud could be committed to bring Conde out on top.

A fair and square election would have brought Diallo to the presidency and Conde would have finished in maybe fourth place. When you steal an election, you enter office without a majority mandate to govern. No doubt Conde’s support has shrunk after two years of economic decline, ethnic bashing, and and his fondness for Sekou Toure era repression. The international community is anxious for Guinea to hold legislative elections because this will fulfill an agreement to complete Guinea’s transition to civilian rule. This milestone will open the door to increased funding from international financial institutions and heftier international political support, which will serve to entrench Conde and make it pretty difficult to oust him.

Speaking of the international community let’s see how it reacts to the latest news about the CENI. If there is no reaction, journalists must probe for comments and Guineans should apply their own pressure through press conferences and protests. Let’s not forget that the 2010 presidential election should not have been held because of the massive fraud and the extreme violence by Conde supporters against the opposition, largely Peuls. The people of Guinea have not forgotten how the international community turned a blind eye to the many deaths of opposition supporters and the fraudulent ascendancy of Alpha Conde to Sekoutoureya palace (which the majority of the people of Guinea may never get over).

There is no diplomat who would vote in an election in his/her country if it had the fundamental lack of democracy and transparency as is the case in Guinea. The international community needs to step up now and, if it doesn’t, diplomats would be wise to have their helmets and flak jackets at the ready for the country is about to go up in flames.

Below is an article about the CENI members’ press conference which includes a statement read aloud to the press. The original article was in French and it appeared in Guinee58. Google was used to translate it into English, which is a bit rough, but you’ll get the idea. Continue reading “Guinea’s CENI Members – “CENI Prez Cutting Members Out of Election Decisions”: The Int’l. Community Needs to Pull the Plug on This Election”

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Camara Resigns as CENI Prez: Another Ruse by the International Community

Guinea’s “ninja” cops in 2010:  A 2012 legislative election will make this look like a cakewalk

No doubt, Louceny Camara’s resignation letter was prepared a while back, waiting for the inevitable moment when the international community would up the ante on Conde. The international community told Conde to get rid of Camara, not because he committed gross election fraud in 2010 nor because of the opposition’s certainty that he would do it again in the legislative election, but to use it as leverage against the opposition. Sending Camara on a permanent holiday (he will probably be given an ambassadorship) satisfies a long-time demand of the opposition which the international community will use to extract concessions from opposition leaders in order to force elections that can be nothing short of fraudulent.

What Guinea woke up to this morning is a repeat of 2010, when the international community shamelessly forced elections to appease investors and looked the other way as people were murdered, raped, and disenfranchised. Just as 2010 brought Guineans an election-stealing, ethnic-baiting tyrant, legislative elections will be fraudulent, thereby further entrenching Conde’s regime, and increasing the possibility of an ethnic civil war.

There’s nothing to savor nor celebrate in the announcement of Camara’s resignation because nothing is straightforward in the land of Alpha Conde and the next double-cross is just around the corner.

More later . . .

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.

GUINEA UPDATE: 6-28 General Strike, Opposition Bangs on Transition Council Door, 9-28-09 Super Perp Pivi and the 1,000 Military Uniforms

GRIS-GRIS CLAUDE PIVI, SUPER PERP OF 9-28-09 MASSACRE

Conde’s Absence on 6-28 Causes Opposition to Cancel March and Call for General Strike Instead

Alpha Conde will be out of the country for several more days including June 28, the same day the opposition scheduled a march to protest him and his policies. Rather than marching when Conde is away, the opposition is calling for a general strike instead.

Another reason the opposition is leery of holding a march in Conde’s absence is that it increases the probability of violent repression by state security forces. It could be that Conde, before his departure, authorized severe, and maybe deadly, repression of demonstrators. His absence would give him plausible deniability, especially for the international community’s consumption.

A few days ago, Alhassane Conde, Guinea’s Interior Minister, reissued publicly, the government’s ban on marches and warned the opposition that “no activity on two feet” will be allowed.

Don’t’ forget, at any given time, the following irregular forces are waiting in the wings: Donzos (or pretend Donzos) many of whom have gathered in the forest region in N’Zerekore. Also, do not discount use of Alpha Conde’s ethnic militias sent to Angola for training.

Opposition Meets with Guinea’s National Transition Council

In the wake of the death of Guinea’s second president, Lansana Conte, in December 2008, a military junta took over the country and Moussa Dadis Camara became its leader. He ordered the National Assembly to be dissolved. In February 2010, a transition government headed by Sekouba Konate oversaw the establishment of the National Transition Council and selected 155 people to be members. The National Transition Council has acted in the place of the legislature ever since. Yet, the NTC has never been particularly assertive. Since Alpha Conde’s arrival, the NTC has been especially quiet.

The opposition decided that the NTC should start carrying more of the burden on issues critical to finalizing Guinea’s transition. In an attempt to shake up the NTC, one opposition leader, Sidya Toure, called for its dissolution.

The opposition leadership met with the NTC and its president, Rabiatou Diallo. As the opposition assumed, Diallo defended the NTC’s record. The opposition told the NTC that the first priority is reconstitution of the electoral council, the CENI, and specifically the ousting Louceny Camara, the current president. Diallo said it might be possible to help out on the CENI issue.

An active NTC would be a thorn in Alpha Conde’s side. No doubt, regardless of his methods, Conde has been successful in keeping the NTC relatively mute.

Stay tuned . . .

Claude Pivi, Super Perp of the 9-28-09 Massacre and Current Head of Presidential Security Receives a Big Shipment – What’s in It?

Gris-gris Claude Pivi,one of the two people most responsible for the 9-28-09 massacre, the other is Tiegboro Camara, ran into some problems at the dock recently when he went to pick up a 40 foot container of goods – he refused to pay the customs tax. Because of this problem, the press got a hold of the story and revealed some of the contents of the container: in addition to cars and mattresses, the shipment contained 1,000 military uniforms and 500 pairs of boots.

For a 40,000-50,000 soldier military, 1,000 uniforms seems like a drop in the bucket yet, it could be, these uniforms are to be given as a perquisite to deserving soldiers. Guinea Oye thinks something more nefarious is at play. Guinea has often used mercenaries from other countries to commit crimes against unarmed civilians. In the 2007 massacre of opposition marchers, soldiers from Guinea-Bissau led the attack. The September 28, 2009 massacre, included several mercenaries from Sierra Leone and Libera, dressed as Guinean military. Whether Donzos, Conde’s ethnic militias, or foreign mercenaries, the delivery of 1,000 uniforms and 500 pairs of shoes likely signals that the government is preparing for a dangerous crackdown. If you add the fact that Claude Pivi, Conde’s head of presidential security, received the merchandise, it seems like a good time for everyone to keep their eyes and ears open.

Stay tuned . . .

Reuters’ Saliou Samb: “When It Comes to Guinea, Please Turn in Your Press Credentials”

Col. Moussa Tiegboro Camara – This guy is no Boy Scout. Rather, he is the primary perpetrator in the September 28, 2009 massacre in Conakry, Guinea.  He was indicted by a Guinean court, but will not spend a day in jail.  It helps to be a member of the Alpha Conde’s cabinet.

It appears that Guinea Oye is destined to correct the work of Saliou Samb, a reporter for Reuters who covers Africa. Every time Samb writes an article about Guinea he demonstrates that he is either incapable or unwilling to provide his readers with the appropriate background to understand the current situation. Putting the news in context is a primary function of a journalist. Once again, with the following article, Mr. Samb fails his readers.

Guinea Oye criticizes Samb’s articles because they are filled with holes wide enough to drive a truck through. Reuters, which employs Mr. Samb,is a highly respected, international news outlet and one of the few that reports on Guinea in English. Guinea Oye seeks to fill some of the holes left by Samb to give readers what they do not get from him: historical context, political analysis and, some understanding of what Guineans think about their country and its leader.

Accordingly, Guinea Oye has annotated Samb’s latest article,”FACTBOX-Key political risks in Guinea.”

FACTBOX-Key political risks in Guinea

Wed, 13 Jun 2012 16:30 GMT

Source: reuters // Reuters

By Saliou Samb

CONAKRY, June 13 (Reuters) – Guinea is struggling to complete its transition to civilian rule after a December 2008 coup because the final step in the process – parliamentary elections – has been repeatedly delayed amid disputes between rival political camps.

Opponents of President Alpha Conde question his will to hold genuinely free elections. The first of a series of planned opposition protests triggered violent clashes with security forces in May.

[Oh my, Samb leap frogs over the most important part of the Guinea story. Readers are left wondering about the nature of the disputes and why the opposition might not trust Alpha Conde to hold free elections.

The source of the current political angst in Guinea goes back to Alpha Conde’s theft of the 2010 presidential elections which he achieved with the help of a crony from his political party, Louceny Camara ,as a member of Guinea’s electoral commission, the CENI. Perhaps, the most jaw-dropping episode of fraud committed by Camara came when he stole thousands of ballots to prevent the strongest presidential candidate in the race, Cellou Dalein Diallo, from winning the election outright in the first round.

Several stolen ballots were found later in Camara’s home. Subsequently, Camara was indicted and convicted of election fraud and sentenced to a year of prison and ordered to pay a fine.

As for the pressure to hold parliamentary elections, this comes largely from the international community. The opposition is not ready to rush off to elections – too many problems which all lead to fraud in the parliamentary elections. Since convicted felon,Louceny Camara, changed the course of Guinean history with his audacious election fraud in 2010, he has risen to become, you guessed it, president of the CEN. The opposition has been asking for Camara’s resignation since 2010 as well as reconstitution of the electoral commission altogether. Conde would be a fool to grant this request because Camara knows where all the “bodies, er, ballots are buried.” Also, there’s the matter of an electoral rolls review that the government is turning into a census and the award of a no-bid contract to put on elections to a company which has shady connections with Guinean officials. In spite of the pressure from the international pressure to proceed with parliamentary elections, it would be suicide for the opposition to participate in an election under a head of state who was not elected legitimately, supported by an electoral commission president convicted of election fraud.

Before we go further into this article, let’s clarify the last sentence of the excerpt above. “The first of a series of planned opposition protests triggered violent clashes with security forces in May.” The 80,000+ opposition protesters on May 10 did not “trigger” anything, except concern on the part of the Conde government. Guinean security forces, have carte blanche to do what they do best, beat and fire upon unarmed and peaceful fellow citizens.]

Yet despite the uncertain political situation and Conde’s commitment to a wholesale review of mining contracts, the world’s leading exporter of bauxite continues to see strong investor interest, notably in its burgeoning iron ore sector.

Here are some of the factors to watch.

POLITICS

Guinea’s move to civilian rule in late 2010 – thanks to a presidential election which was its first free poll since independence from France – was seen as a powerful model for the region after years of military leadership.

[Once again, the 2010 polls were a scam. Conde’s “election” was a model only in the minds of the international community which knew Conde stole the election, but was so hell bent on getting the election over so it could move to the final transition step – parliamentary elections – that it spinned the Conde “win” into the most inspiring, patriotic stories that journalists ate it up, including Samb.

Not only did the international community look the other way as the election fraud was committed, but serious human rights abuses were taking place as well. Just prior to the second round of the 2010 election, Alpha Conde deliberately incited those of the Malinke ethnic group to commit violence against Peuls, who comprise the majority of the opposition. People were seriously injured, killed, disenfranchised,and women were raped. The elections, a model? This is an insult to the people of Guinea.]

But the failure to hold parliamentary polls is worsening political and ethnic tensions simmering in the West African country.

[Actually, it is Alpha Conde’s impunity that is making everything worse in Guinea, not the failure to hold elections. If you are going to write about “ethnic tensions,” you must go back a bit and start with Sekou Toure, Guinea’s first president, whose penchant for torture and murder affected all ethnic groups, but most especially the Peuls. Also, to help the reader understand more about current ethnic tensions, it is irresponsible not to mention that, during his campaign and through his presidency, Alpha Conde spews anti-Peul rhetoric openly on the airwaves and has formed ethnic militias of his own group – Malinkes.]

What to watch:

– Legislative elections. Guinea’s electoral commission set a July 8 date for the polls after they were delayed from late 2011 due to a row with the opposition. But Conde has said even this date is untenable given the time needed to fix problems in the voting process.

Opposition leaders welcomed the proposed new delay, saying the credibility of the vote was more important than the date.

They say they still have concerns over the voter registration system and the make-up of the electoral commission, which they fear could have a pro-Conde bias.

But time is pressing: donor nations have urged Guinea to hold the polls and the European Union has said it will resume full cooperation with Guinea only after they are held.

– Protests and ethnic tension. Conde’s chief political rival Cellou Dalein Diallo, who conceded defeat in the 2010 presidential poll, has called for a series of protests.

The political strife has been mirrored by growing unease among Guinea’s main ethnic groups, notably the Malinke supporters of Conde and the pro-Diallo Peul who feel marginalised under Conde.

Corinne Dufka, senior researcher for Human Rights Watch and a longtime Guinea-watcher, said: “There is a perception that winner-takes-all politics is at play – moving to legislative elections would help mitigate that perception.”

– Justice. A Guinean court has filed charges against a top army officer over the killing of scores of mostly Peul protesters during a Sept. 28, 2009 massacre of pro-democracy protesters that shocked the world.

[Yes, it is true that a top army officer was indicted in relation to the September 28 massacre. Natural questions would be: “What do the people of Guinea think of this?” “Is this a step towards justice for victims?” Unfortunately,no. Once again, critical context is missing.

The army officer is Col. Tiegboro Camara, a primary perpetrator of the massacre who was seen by thousands that day orchestrating the assault. After Alpha Conde assumed office in 2011, he selected Col. Camara for a post in his cabinet. Another major perpetrator of the massacre, seen by thousands at the stadium as well, is Claude Pivi whom Conde selected for a post in his cabinet as head of presidential security.

If readers are provided this background, they will understand that the people of Guinea know the “indictment” is bogus and being used as a ruse to appease the international community, most especially the incoming chief of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, to show that Guinea is “working” on the case, rather than the truth, which is, that it’s being buried.]

However the under-resourced judiciary has much to do to erode the widespread belief that serious crimes still go unpunished. The fate of Moussa Dadis Camara – junta leader at the time of the massacre – remains undecided. He remains in comfortable exile in Burkina Faso and the International Criminal Court has warned it could take up his case if Guinea fails to.

– Military unrest. Guinea’s army has a history of meddling in politics and some military elements were implicated in an assassination attempt targeting Conde in July 2011.

The government said 26 military officers and 13 civilians had been arrested in connection with the attack and that they had spoken of links to political and business circles.

[After much analysis, long-time Guinea watchers say that Alpha Conde choreographed his own “assassination attempt” and that he did so for three important purposes: 1) an excuse to round up lots of military soldiers thought to be loyal to his predecessor, interim President, Sekouba Konate ; 2) an excuse to round up and persecute members of the opposition, most importantly, the no.2 guy in the UFDG, the largest opposition party, who had to flee the country to escape death as the soldiers made clear they were heading to his home to kill him. Bah Oury, still fears for his life should he return to Guinea; he remains outside the country and 3) a rush of international sympathy, especially from President Obama, who met with Conde at the White House a mere 10 days after the “assassination” attempt.]

Continue reading “Reuters’ Saliou Samb: “When It Comes to Guinea, Please Turn in Your Press Credentials””

Int’l. Community Renews Pressure on Guinea Elections. Where’s the Pressure on Conde’s Impunity and Human Rights Abuses?

2010 Presidential Election:  Seems like FOSSEPEL, Guinea’s Election Cops, should have been guarding ballot boxes to prevent Louceny Camara, current president of the electoral commission, from stealing thousands of ballots in the first round in order to prevent Cellou Dalein Diallo from winning the election outright, rather than beating up and hauling away this young kid.

This week, both the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) stated they intend to increase pressure on the Conde government and the opposition to work together and finalize plans for the elections. In Conakry, Philippe Van Damm, EU representative, stated that the release of important EU funding to Guinea is dependent on a firm plan and detailed timetable for holding elections. The US, which is about to increase pressure on Guinea as well, held a meeting at the State department on Wednesday to receive feedback from NGOs on how this might best be accomplished.

Yet, the real question for the US and the EU is: How will forcing yet another fraudulent election on the people of Guinea bring stability to a country that is on the threshold of an ethnic civil war? The international community’s maniacal focus on holding elections as the last stage in Guinea’s transition to a civilian government extends no further than “holding elections.” What we don’t hear is a call for free and fair elections, a demand that Conde quit treating his political opponents as if they were enemies of the state, and a demand for the reconstitution of the electoral commission, including the ouster of convicted felon, Louceny Camara, as its president.

In addition, the international community cannot continue to pretend it doesn’t know that Conde has put ethnic relations on a powder keg and that legislative elections are the spark.  Legislative elections will be worse than what we witnessed in the 2010 presidential election: rife with ethnic hatred spewed by Conde and violence against the Peul ethnic group by his political forces and state security plus, all manner of state-sponsored repression, including extra-judicial killings of Peuls and rape of Peul women by security forces under the command of interim leader, Sekouba Konate.

If the international community decides it is best to support free and fair elections rather than simply a conclusion to the “transition,” the electoral commission would have to be eliminated and Alpha Conde would have to be deposed. If stability in Guinea is the goal to preserve international investment, forcing an election now amidst new heights of impunity and ethnic hatred displayed by Conde, will make the 2010 election violence look like a tea party.

And, finally, everything the opposition asks for regarding legislative elections is supported by law or common fair practices. It does not need, nor should it be forced, to compromise on anything. The international community’s job is to keep an eye on Alpha Conde and pressure him to do the right thing.  A very tall order, but it’s the price it must pay for a truly stable Guinea.

Why is Conde Pushing for Legislative Elections BEFORE October?

2010:  FOSSEPEL, Guinea’s election cops, stayed busy throughout the presidential election splitting heads open

Guinee58 asks this question and comes up with a very good answer.

A week after claiming that he has no control over the CENI because it is an independent body, Conde announces that September would be a good time to hold legislative elections because the rainy season will be over by then. And, he makes this announcement not on Guinean soil, but in Asia on a  visit in South Korea!

Obviously, Conde and his electoral chief, Louceny Camara, collaborated on this timing for legislative elections and, predictably, it was done, once again, in the absence of the opposition.

Guinee58 surmises, and Guinea Oye agrees, that the Conde administration is talking about a September election because the terms of the CENI members are set to expire in October! The current CENI’s deck is stacked in favor of Conde and his RPG-Arc-en-Ciel (ruling party coalition). This was done at the expense of appropriate representation for the opposition on the council.

Conde needs one more thing out of this council before a new CENI comes on board – roll over and play dead as Louceny Camara and a few others commit the necessary fraud to give Conde and the RPG a majority in the national assembly.  And, there you have it – mystery solved.