Guinea Gov’t. Minister, Finding His RPG Party Losing In Kaloum, Sends in Reinforcements: Soldier-Voters

Cellou Dalein Diallo, president of the UFDG party announced a little earlier today that the opposition won in all five fiefs of Conakry.  UFDG candidates won in Dixinn and Ratoma and the UFR won in Matoto, Kaloum and Matam. But, trouble is brewing in the Kaloum vote, after a government minister became perturbed when he found out UFR candidate, Baidy Aribot was running ahead of the RPG candidate.

 
Here is an excerpt drawn from two stories in Leguepard.net, that tell what happened next.
 
In Kaloum the race is not over because of fraud on the part of those in power. Inside the High School, on September 28, in the district of Coronthie, in Kaloum:
 

The Minister for National Defense, Abdul Kabele Camara orchestrated fraud in polling stations in Kaloum.  According to a delegate of the UFR in the office and confirmed by other members of that office, the Minister left the station upon hearing the RPG candidate was running behind in legislative race and then returned with 8 military people to vote.

Then, the top commander of the gendarmerie, General Ibrahima Balde (and ironically, the Commander of the election police (FOSSEL) brought 13 military in to vote.  He was followed by the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army who presented seven voters to help inflate votes for Conde’s party, the RPG. 
 
All of the soldiers said they sought to vote by proxy, which is absolutely prohibited.
 

The president of the UFR party, SidyaToure, hearing of the fraud attempt, went to Kaloum.  FOSSEL police prevented Toure from entering.  A gendarme told him that military officers were inside the voting station, but that he had orders not to let anyone in.

 
Never a dull moment, stay tuned . . .
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Conde, Plagued by Huge Opposition Demos, Can Now Add Huge Opposition Campaign Rallies

Below is an incredible photo of the streets of Conakry today from a @ufdglive Twitter tweet.  Hats off to the photographer — a great shot!  More pics and info at the UFDG website.

Today, opposition supporters gathered in massive numbers to welcome UFDG party leader, Cellou Dalein Diallo, back to the capital after a very successful campaign swing through the country.  A crowd of this size is worrisome for Conde and his RPG Arc-en-Ciel, not because of the signs saying “Alpha – Zero,” but because a huge crowd like this is the best proof that Conde did not receive the majority of the vote in the 2010 presidential election.  And, this is the primary reason why Conde  and his operatives did everything possible over the last six months to stop the opposition from holding constitutionally-protected demonstrations.  We know that Conde used state security forces along with irregular troops — Donzos and RPG militia– to exert massive force against peaceful, unarmed demonstrators, often using extra-judicial executions to bring demonstrations to an end.

For now, let’s assume political campaigning is allowed.  Yet, it should be remembered that Conde, in the Spring of 2011, sent the military to attack Cellou Diallo’s followers as they waited at the airport for Diallo to arrive after a long stay outside the country.  Some people were killed and many were seriously injured.

US State Dept. on Human Rights in Guinea Indicts State-Sponsored Abuse: Too Bad it Punts on Origin of HR Problem – Conde’s Ethnocentric Policies

Condeelect3DEC2010THIS IS WHERE THE INITIAL CRIME WAS COMMITTED.  THESE GUYS ARE GUARDING THE DOOR OF GUINEA’S SUPREME COURT WHICH WAS  IN ON THE ELECTION FRAUD AND, AFTER “DELIBERATING” ON A DISPUTED VOTE,  DECLARED ALPHA CONDE, HEAD OF STATE, ON NOV. 24, 2010.

If you combine the human rights assessment on Guinea by the US State Department (further below) with the following remarks made a few days ago by US ambassador to Guinea, Alexander Laskaris, the US is using less than subliminal messages to say that Conde has become a problematic figure for the international community:

“You can tell your government you are satisfied with its work or, at least satisfied it has made progress in the right direction. You can send a message to the government that you have lost or losing confidence in its ability to manage the country, and you think it may be time to give another party a chance to prove its competence.”

Following is the introduction of the Executive Summary of the State department assessment of human rights practices in Guinea for the year 2012. This is the first time the US has dug so thoroughly into Guinea’s vast abuse of human rights record and it’s not a pretty picture. When you read the report, you wonder how Guinea functions and how young people ever hope to escape poverty and repression to follow their dreams. This document is a stunning indictment of Conde’s management of the country.

Unfortunately, one section of the report, underplays the role of ethnocentrism in Guinea and does not properly identify the perpetrator. This is a mistake because ethnocentrism underpins at least 90% of human rights abuses in the country today. To fix human rights it is critical to deal first with the thorny issue of ethnicity.

Alpha Conde re-introduced ethnocentric politics in Guinea during the presidential election when he and others spread a rumor that Peul food sellers had tried to poison his RPG followers. It was a lie, but Conde embellished the story long enough to incite a riot of Malinke youth (and some Guinean security services in plain clothes) into attacking Peuls in the towns of Siguiri and Kourousso where residents were likely to vote for his opponent, Cellou Dalein Diallo. The attack was vicious as Malinkes chased their neighbors with machetes. Nothing came out untouched. Homes and business were burned, money and other valuables were stolen and the violence included rape, major injury and murder . This precipitated a mass exodus from the towns attacked and thousands were displaced. Come election day, a few weeks after the attack, none of the residents were able to come back to their home district to vote and were subsequently disenfranchised. This was not a one-time plan. Having worked so well in these two towns, Conde replicated the attacks in other towns against Peul citizens.

Upon Conde’s usurpation of the presidency, he built his cabinet to the near exclusion of Peuls, he removed Peuls throughout prefectures in the country and replaced them with Malinkes. Conde has also incarcerated numerous Peuls without cause, often in the course of peaceful prtoests. Since Conde’s arrival, Peuls have become the majority of victims of robbery, assault, and murder. Conde has also engaged in anti-Peul hate speech and, in a moment of stunning audacity he pulled aside the prosecutor of the ongoing trial of his “self-attack” on his home July 19, 2011, and told him the prosecution strategy should be changed to blame the attack on a “complot Peul,” or Peul plot, an idea that Sekou Toure came up with to repress Peuls and others. It included placing victims in prison camps, the most famous being Camp Boiro, where prisoners were subject to torture and starvation – “the black diet.” Many people were summarily executed, often in public hangings. To resurrect one of the worst times in the country’s history by raising the issue of Sekou Toure’s “Peul plot,” Apha Conde committed the worst ethnic hate speech of all.

The anti-Peul hate speech is also an integral part of the repression exacted by the military and state security forces. If you combine these two forces, about 85% are Malinke. In attacks as recently as after the February 27 march, where security services and RPG militias attacked Peul neighborhoods, almost all victims have reported that forces used vulgar and threatening anti-Puel speech before homes were ransacked, women were raped, and people were shot.

If you remember nothing else, remember this. The constant cheer of Conde’s Malinke supporters throughout the presidential campaign was: “Anybody, but a Foulah (another name for Peul).”

If a candidate of any ethnicity other than Malinke ever made a negative remark in public about another ethnicity during the campaign or after, let the proof surface.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: US State Department Report on Human Rights Practices in Guinea, 2012

Guinea is a republic. In 2010 the country inaugurated Alpha Conde, the candidate of the Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) Party and longtime opposition leader, as its first democratically elected president since independence from France in 1958. Observers generally regarded the elections as free and fair; however, repeated postponements of legislative elections, originally expected to be held in 2011, stalled democratic progress. The country has never had a free and fair democratic legislative election. The government made some progress in security sector reform, yet elements of the security forces on occasion acted independently of civilian control.

The most serious human rights problems in the country included restricting citizens’ right to change their government by not holding legislative elections; security force killings and use of excessive force, including rape, on demonstrators; and the government’s failure to punish the perpetrators of such abuses.

Other major human rights problems included disappearances of opposition party members; life-threatening conditions in prisons and detention centers; arbitrary arrests; long periods of pretrial detention and denial of fair trials; arbitrary interference with family and home; restrictions on freedoms of the press and assembly; corruption at all levels of government; violence and discrimination against women and girls, including female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C); discrimination against children, persons with disabilities, and members of certain ethnic groups; human trafficking; and forced labor, including by children.

Impunity remained a problem. The government took minimal steps to prosecute or punish officials who committed abuses during the year and in years past. On October 6, President Conde announced the formation of a new Ministry of Human Rights and Public Liberties but did not specify the ministry’s mandate, and the ministry had taken no actions by year’s end.

Go to full report

GUINEA: Will the International Community Accept Conde’s “Cosmetic Changes” and Continue to Ignore Atrocities, Again?

Yesterday, Alhassane Conde, Guinea’s minister of the interior, called a broad cross-section of Guinean society together to set terms for holding political events and marches. On August 27, the opposition attempted to march, but state security had other plans for them (jail) including firing on a car carrying three opposition leaders. The near-assassination scared the bejeebers out of the international community. Cross-eyed over the possibility of Guinea falling into long-term instability that might lead to investor flight, the international community swooped into Conakry last week to inform Conde of changes he needs to make. Unfortunately, the changes are “cosmetic” and the real danger is that the international community will pass them off as fundamental signs of “growing democracy in Guinea.”

Invitees to Conde’s meeting were the Governor of Conakry, mayors of the five municipalities, opposition leaders, senior gendarme officials, representatives of the national police, religious groups, NGOs, and civil society. Opposition leaders who attended were befuddled as to why the meeting was called in the first place, given that, long ago, the National Transition Council included in the Guinean constitution specific guarantees for free speech and assembly and responsibility of the government to protect these rights. Like many laws on the books in Guinea, Conde’s regime has a propensity for ignoring them and creating decrees instead, to cover his tracks. Part of the reason that the international community will likely tout meetings like the one held yesterday as a sign that Conde is turning things around, is the inclusion of religious, NGO, and civil society representatives. This broad inclusivity is popular among the international crowd. Unfortunately, these groups are largely dominated by Conde loyalists who are used to outweigh the influence of other groups – namely opposition parties.

In another cosmetic move in response to international nudging, Conde is reining in his security forces. Earlier this week, General Balde, head of the gendarmerie, debuted a training program for gendames which is designed to improve professionalism within the ranks and focuses particularly on international human rights law. Guinea’s security forces have never operated within the law and they are not about to start now.

Given that Alpha Conde placed ethnic hatred at the core of his government policies and the fact that he stole the election, he must use the entire security and military apparatus to crush his increasing number of challengers. Security forces and military soldiers are brutal because their commander-in-chief wants them that way. If you want to see systematic brutality, keep an eye on Guinea for as long as Alpha Conde holds the “presidency.” This training program is a huge farce for international consumption.

During the 2010 election, the international community turned a blind eye to stunning brutality against Guineans at the hands of both the military and security services. In the future, it will not be so easy for it to ignore these atrocities and continue to use the word “democracy” in the same sentence with Alpha Conde’s name. The people of Guinea are watching closely. Just yesterday, the opposition sent a call to the international community not to sit by as the tyrannical regime of Alpha Conde becomes further entrenched.

Declaration of the Crisis Committee on the Massacres in Zogota: These Are Crimes Against Humanity! Plus, Slideshow on Zogota

SLIDESHOW IS OF POOR QUALITY, BUT BETTER THAN NOTHING

Note that, at the end of this declaration, there is an announcement of a press conference scheduled for today, Thursday, by this group. The press conference took place and the Crisis Committee announced that it intends to file a complaint against the State of Guinea for its alleged role in the violence that erupted last week in N’Zerekore which led to five deaths and several wounded.

Declaration of the Crisis Committee on the massares in Zogota:  These are crimes against humanity

It is with indignation that we learned the news about the massacres of peaceful people sleeping at the time, in the village of Zoghota, N’Zérékoré Prefecture, Guinea. These barbaric acts of another age were perpetrated on the night of Friday 3 to Saturday, August 4, 2012 by forces of defense and security to the orders of the authorities of the Republic of Guinea.

The tally reveals five people shot dead, three seriously injured by bullets also, several missing, probably killed, and twenty victims arrested, tortured and held in place not identified.

Faced with the enormity of the loss of 4 August 2012, we start first by presenting our most heartfelt condolences to the bereaved and to all the people of Guinea. We pray for the repose of the souls of the dead and wish speedy recovery to those injured. We condemn the killings and then demand the immediate and unconditional release of arrested victims and the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry to shed light, any light, on this matter.

Attackers arriving in the middle of the night to implement a premeditated plan; inspired by a policy to force citizens to remain silent despite the violations of their rights in peacetime and that the victims were unarmed civilians.These massacres are not only a grave and flagrant violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Constitution Guinean May 2010, but especially crimes against humanity.

It should be noted that the demonstration on 31 July 2012 of the population against the Zoghota VALE Mining Company, which seems to have angered the authorities, is not the first one in the Republic of Guinea. Indeed, in September 2011, Kiniero populations, in the Prefecture of Kouroussa, demonstrated against the SOMAFO. In November 2011, Lola populations demonstrated against the Iron Mining Company of Guinea (SMFG). All these events have one common denominator: discrimination in the hiring process for those in the local population. The method used to resolve the crisis amicably in Kiniero in Kouroussa, are strangely in contrast to the barbaric and criminal acts committed against a peaceful and unarmed populations of Lola Zoghota. This provides sufficient evidence that the current government and its decentralized structures do not address the citizens on the same footing.

The outbreak of killings immediately after the site visit to the Vale Mining Company by five government ministers Said Fofana, their refusal to return to Zoghota to witness heinous crimes before returning to Conakry, their denial on local radio of the fact that residents were killed. Instead, their only concern was for damage to the infrastructure and facilities of the Vale Mining Company. Yet, there is sufficient evidence of the participation of defense forces and security in the killings which points to the direct responsibility of governments at the highest level.

Given the extreme gravity of the crimes committed, we demand the dismissal and arrest of the five ministers who carried out the mission Zoghota in the days immediately preceding the night of the killings as well as the Governor and the Prefect of N ‘ Zérékoré, the Sub-Prefect of Kobela and the hierarchy of uniformed (military, gendarmes and police officers) who participated in the massacres.

We invite all those peace-loving and justice to remain mobilized until the establishment of justice for victims and their families.

After the sentencing phase current, keep in mind the need for all Guineansl who dream of a united Guinea, that is peaceful and prosperous, should break the silence and hold the conviction that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes and their accomplices will be dealt with by national or international justice. A panel of lawyers has been formed, a crisis committee is already operational and the mission at the site of massacres is in preparation.

A press conference is scheduled for tomorrow Thursday, August 9, 2012 at the Maison de la Presse. For information, contact Daniel at Kolié 64885025 or 64592833 to Aly Amadou Diallo or Aboubacar Camara 64418490.

Let us not yield to division because it has always been used by dictators and, above all, it benefits them.

For the Crisis Committee, Faya L. Millimouno


Conde Blamed for Police-Military Refusal to Protect Siguiri Residents Awakened by Automatic Gunfire and Looting –No Wonder, the Military was In On It (Also Video of 2010 Attack on Siguiri)

One person was killed by military forces this week in Siguiri when, after assailants entered town shooting looting businesses, residents rioted against the prefecture and military camp because of inaction on the part of police and soldiers to provide protection. Residents are quite certain that this incident is politically-motivated and blame the Conde government. Two articles below tell the story.

This is not the first time that Siguiri has been the target of politically-motivated attacks. During the final days in the run up to the second round of the presidential election, Siguiri, as well as other towns, such as Kouroussa, were targeted by the Conde campaign for an attack. After Conde and his RPG constructed a monstrous lie that Peuls were responsible for trying to poison his supporters at a rally, Conde, Francois Fall, Jean-Marie Dore, Sekouba Konate, etc., incited Malinkes (supplemented by military soldiers dressed in civilian clothes) to attack residents in these towns, loot their businesses, and burn their homes and businesses. Many residents were critically injured by machetes and one resident died from a machete lodged in his head. Why these particular towns? The RPG gauged that if their supporters attacked towns where the opponent Cellou Dalein Diallo had the most support, the residents would flee, and be unable to vote in the election. Their calculation was right; the residents fled by the thousands and were unable to vote.  A violent, cruel plot to disenfranchise the people of Guinea.  For more information on the violent disenfranchisement campaign of the RPG in the second round of the 2010 election, please see a previous post on Guinea Oye, dated October, 25, 2010:  Malinkes on a Rampage in Several Towns Attacking Peuls – International Troops are Needed Now

VIDEO ON AFTERMATH OF 2010 SIGUIRI ATTACK

 

The following articles regarding the most recent attacks on Siguiri were translated into English using Google:

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 6:13 p.m.

alpha_conde_nvo Traders Siguiri gold town northeast of Guinea-Conakry, regularly suffer attacks of highwaymen. One of our Observers in this city, a seller of gold detectors, tells how his store has been robbed without that law enforcement does not raise a finger to help.

On the night of Monday to Tuesday, robbers have attacked shops gold detectors, in this city where gold mining is the main activity. Awakened by gunfire, residents tried to defend their businesses, using stones and a few barricades, but they soon found themselves powerless against individuals armed with automatic rifles. They alerted the military of the two army bases present in Siguiri, and the prefect of police and gendarmerie, but waited in vain for their intervention.

The inaction of the authorities has angered the population. Early Tuesday morning, traders, accompanied by young, marched through the city streets. They burned tires and attacked the residence of the prefect as well as a military camp with stones and burning sticks. The army responded by firing on the procession, killing one young demonstrator 12 and injuring two people.

Wednesday, calm has returned to Siguiri, although many shops remained closed. An investigation was initiated at the request of the Government to clarify the circumstances of the death of the young demonstrator. According to a police officer of the city told AFP, the regional governor promised “sanctions against the laxity of some elements of the armed forces”.

“We think there is complicity between some soldiers and the bandits in search of gold”

Ibrahima is Doumbaya merchant. His store was robbed on the night of Monday to Tuesday.

“When we went to the first military camp in the city to seek help, the soldiers told us they could not intervene as they had not been ordered. So I called myself Colonel of the base. He said he was in Conakry and that nothing could be decided at a distance. The soldiers then told us they had no ammunition and the door of their stockpile of weapons was locked for the night.

We then went to the police. The police told us they were ready to intervene. They boarded their pick-up and followed us into the city center. But the first shot fired by the bandits, they turned back and we did not see them return. We took a last chance by going to the second military base Siguiri, one commando rangers. Again, the military told us to go ahead, making sure they were coming. But they never came.

“I saw firsthand the bandits dressed in uniform of military”

Meanwhile, many young people came down to lend a hand up barricades to protect the most shops. The entire population of the city was awake, many people were mobilized, but not a single military intervened. The bandits looted for two hours. In my business, they stole three gold detectors to 60 million Guinean francs each [over 6000 euros, note].

Today, we are very angry against the authorities because they have completely abandoned. Moreover, we believe that there are certain complicity between soldiers and the bandits. The army had established a system of night patrol in the city, but it did not dampen the robbers. During the looting of Monday night, I saw firsthand the bandits dressed in keeping military [other witnesses agree on this point, note]. That’s why we call the unconditional departure of chief of police and military leaders of the two bases of the city. “

Source: france24

Riots in Siguiri: Behind the scenes of a military crackdown army

Policy

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 9:31

vignette_soldats_manifestants A violent demonstration of merchants, disgusted by insecurity, was brutally repressed, Tuesday, Siguiri, in north-eastern Guinea. At least one person was shot dead and five wounded.

After the police violence of the night from Friday to Saturday which killed five people in south-east, at a demonstration of villagers challenging the recruitment policy of the Brazilian mining company Vale, Guinea was Tuesday, August 7 the scene of new clashes in Siguiri, in the northeast.

Angered by the growing insecurity in the mining town – Monday, gunmen wearing the uniforms of the Guinean army tried to rob the safe of the office of a seller of gold – traders took to the streets with determined to walk on the prefecture. The security forces fired shots into the air to stop the progression of demonstrators who are holed up behind barricades. After having set fire to tires, they stormed and ransacked the home of the prefect, who, the sources said, was forced to take refuge with his family in a military camp. The attackers then targeted the same camp with stones and sticks burning, burning two army vehicles and five motorcycles.

“The security forces have killed a person to live bullet, a youth of twenty years this (Tuesday) morning and wounded five others when we tried to walk on the prefecture” of the city, said a witness attached Conakry.

His comments were confirmed by an official of the Guinean Red Cross and a police officer, Sény Camara.

For its part, the government has indicated that an investigation had been opened to clarify the circumstances under which these protesters were shot dead.

Insecurity

“We are appalled, incensed against the growing insecurity in the city while there are two military camps, a gendarmerie station and two police stations,” said one protester.

“Today, nobody is going to work here. We would like the city. We want to know why there are so insecure in our city, “said another protester, adding that” if it is because of gold that is exploited here, we will close the Ashanti Goldfields Company ( SAG) “.

“The prefectural authorities have received the regional governor, Nawa Damet, who promised sanctions against the laxity of some elements of law enforcement,” said police officer Sény Camara, adding that “the forces of order were put on alert until the end of the week. “

Source: AFP

Soon-to-Be US Ambassador to Guinea, Alex Laskaris, Concerned About a Return to “Authoritarianism”

Sept. 27, 2011:  Opposition demonstration in the streets of Conakry.  Here, security forces brutally beat the driver of opposition leader, Cellou Dalein Diallo.  Laskaris would be wise to bring his flak jacket and helmet he undoubtedly acquired in his last posting, in Iraq, to his new job as ambassador to Guinea.

Below is the text of Alexander Laskaris’ testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at his nomination hearing, July 12, for ambassador to Guinea.

After the obligatory reference to Conde as “Guinea’s” first-ever democratically-elected president,” reading between the lines reveals that Laskaris is concerned that Guinea could fall back into “authoritarianism” and that behind the “headlines” Guinea has real “social and economic challenges.”

Testimony of Alexander M. Laskaris
U.S. Ambassador-designate to the Republic of Guinea
Senate Foreign Relations Committee

July 12, 2012

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I am deeply honored
to appear before you today, and grateful to President Obama and Secretary
Clinton for the confidence they have placed in me as their nominee for
Ambassador to the Republic of Guinea.
For my family and me, this is another milestone in our American
journey and our American dream, both of which began in the chaos of post-
World War II Greece. My presence here today is made possible by the land
of opportunity that embraced my late father in 1946 and my mother in 1960.
I approach an assignment in the Republic of Guinea – if confirmed –
knowing that Guinea has sent a large number of immigrants to the United
States … originally via the horrors of the African slave trade, but later in the
manner of my parents, young people seeking better lives for themselves and
their future children. A walk down 125th Street in Harlem shows part of a
prospering and vibrant Guinean-American community with which I will be
engaged, if confirmed. Together with this diaspora, a large community of
returned Peace Corps Volunteers, former missionaries and other dedicated
Americans serve as committed advocates for Guinean-American relations
and for the welfare of the Republic of Guinea.
My first exposure to the African continent was a two year stint as a
volunteer high school teacher in a township parochial school in Galeshewe,
South Africa. It was 1989 and 1990, and in those two years, I lived the
miraculous democratic transition led by men and women of goodwill; as
hitch-hiking was my only means of travel, I missed Namibian independence
by a few days, but still managed to absorb the career lesson that even the
most momentous political changes can take place peacefully and
democratically.
My first exposure to the Republic of Guinea was quite the opposite
from the inspiration of South Africa. I arrived in Monrovia, Liberia – my
first Foreign Service posting in 1991 – as the countries of the Mano River
Union were falling into chaos and violence. The Guinea I first encountered
was host to some one million Liberian refugees; its armed forces served in
the West African peacekeeping force, known as the Economic Community
of West African State Monitoring Group or ECOMOG; and its government
sought to avoid the abyss from which Liberia and Sierra Leone are only now
emerging.
This experience suggests to me that – if confirmed – I will be working
in a country that both supports us and needs our support. The Republic of
Guinea has recently been in the headlines for the best reasons – real
democratic progress after a succession of dictators – but the story behind the
headlines reveals the longstanding social and economic challenges that
impoverish the country and stymie its development.
My experience in a number of African conflicts tells me that past
performance is indeed an indicator of future performance when it comes to
countries emerging from dictatorship and civil conflict. To break the cycle,
to keep the Republic of Guinea from lapsing back into authoritarianism, we
need to be part of the architecture of democracy, supporting all three
branches of government plus free media and civil society. We need
engagement with the military to professionalize the force and bring it firmly,
irrevocably under elected civilian authority. We need to be engaged in
poverty relief and disease eradication, as well as in responsible mineral
exploitation and sustainable agriculture.

The Republic of Guinea achieved a landmark election in 2010, its first
free and fair democratic presidential campaign. President Alpha Conde,
who spent decades advocating for democratic change, emerged as Guinea’s
first-ever democratically-elected head of state, ending 50-years of despotic
rule and military repression. However, Guinea’s transition to a fully
functioning democracy will not be complete until the long-anticipated
legislative elections are held. I do not need to remind this chamber on the
importance of the legislative branch to sustainable democracy; if confirmed,
I will have no higher priority than helping Guinea to seat a new legislature
and then motivating that branch of government to fulfill its critical
institutional role.
In the Republic of Guinea, we have a willing but technically-limited
partner on regional and international issues. If confirmed, I will work with
the Government of Guinea on a coordinated approach to regional crises in
Mali and Guinea-Bissau; I will do my best to strengthen cooperation on
counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics issues, as well as other forms of
transnational crimes, such as trafficking in persons and money laundering. I
will also make promoting the safety and welfare of U.S. citizens my highest
priority and seek out commercial opportunities for U.S. companies.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, for the
opportunity to address you today. If confirmed, I look forward to working
with you in representing the interests of the American people in Guinea. I
am happy to answer any questions.