Security forces’ violent repression of protests against President Condé’s plan to run for third term left at least nine dead. Thousands demonstrated 14 Oct in capital Conakry and regional capitals Boké (west), Labé (centre) and Mamou (centre) against Condé’s alleged intention to change constitution so that he can seek third term in power; thousands demonstrated again in Conakry 24 Oct. Security forces tried forcibly to disperse demonstrators in Conakry, including with live ammunition, and protesters also clashed with security forces in opposition stronghold of Mamou. Govt 16 Oct said nine protesters killed since 14 Oct including eight in Conakry, while coalition of opposition groups National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) 16 Oct said police had killed ten, wounded 70 and arrested 200 since 14 Oct. Security forces 14 Oct blocked access to houses of Sidya Touré, president of opposition party Union of Republican Forces, and Cellou Dalein Diallo, leader of largest opposition party Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea. Court in Kankan 18 Oct acquitted six FNDC figures arrested 14 Oct. Court in Conakry 22 Oct gave eight FNDC figures arrested 12 Oct jail terms ranging from six months to one year for inciting civil disobedience. Electoral commission president 14 Oct said legislative elections, originally scheduled for 2018, would take place 28 Dec; electoral commission 22 Oct postponed elections sine die, citing technical reasons. Security forces over several days arrested several hundred alleged West African migrants across country.
Guinea approaches the second free presidential election in its history under difficult circumstances. Unless the government convenes a serious dialogue with the opposition, it risks electoral violence and exacerbating ethnic divisions.
Overdue legislative elections in Guinea could rapidly degenerate into violence in the absence of consensus on electoral procedures.
Rising piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, which supplies around 40 per cent of Europe’s oil and 29 per cent of the U.S.’s, demands effective regional security cooperation and better economic governance to prevent the region becoming another Gulf of Aden. The full report is currently only available in French.
Unless Guinea’s main political actors agree on organising the pending legislative elections, there is a risk inter-communal tensions could spark violence that opens the army’s way back to power.
If the armed forces of Guinea are not reformed thoroughly, they will continue to pose a threat to democratic civilian rule and risk plunging the country and the region into chaos.
The killing of at least 160 participants in a peaceful demonstration, the rape of many women protestors, and the arrest of political leaders by security forces in Conakry on 28 September 2009 showed starkly the dangers that continued military rule poses to Guinea’s stability and to a region where three fragile countries are only just recovering from civil wars.
Originally published in Jeune Afrique
Originally published in The Guardian