Main teachers’ unions 1 Feb went on strike to protest salary cuts till making deal with govt 20 Feb but internal differences remained. New protests erupted in following days; police clashed with protestors 20-21 Feb in several districts of capital, Conakry, at least seven protestors reportedly killed; schools reopened 22 Feb. President Condé late-Feb fired ministers of pre-university education, civil service and environment. Local and communal elections scheduled for Feb delayed due to disagreements on electoral process between govt and opposition; National Assembly 9 Feb began extraordinary session to overcome political deadlock, 23 Feb passed changes to electoral code to align it with Oct 2016 political agreement. Opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo 9 Feb warned that opposition parties would unite in challenging Condé if latter sought third term through constitutional reform.
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