Security forces and opposition protesters clashed several times in capital Conakry and elsewhere, reportedly leaving three protesters dead. Opposition, led by Cellou Dalein Diallo’s party Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea, 15-16 Oct held general strikes in capital Conakry and several other cities to protest ruling party Rally for the Guinean People (RPG)’s alleged appointment of loyalists in local administrative positions, which it said violated 8 Aug agreement between opposition and govt; security forces reportedly shot dead protester 16 Oct. More protests in Conakry 23 Oct led to clashes between protesters and security forces, eighteen-year-old youth reportedly killed and Diallo claimed that security forces shot his car; Diallo accused President Condé of assassination attempt. Protesters 24 Oct clashed with security forces in Labe, Diallo’s hometown 400km north of Conakry, at least 30 protesters wounded. Opposition launched general strike in Conakry 29 Oct in support of teachers asking for salary rise. Renewed protests in Conakry 30 Oct led to more clashes; one opposition supporter killed and security forces prevented Diallo from leaving his home. Following dismissal of Constitutional Court President Kèlèfa Sall in Sept, President Condé 3 Oct confirmed that Constitutional Court VP Mohamed Lamine Bangoura would replace him; Bangoura took office 8 Oct.
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