Supporters of opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo who had gathered to welcome him back on return from foreign trip clashed with security forces in capital Conakry 16 Feb, about 30 injured. Diallo’s lawyers 20 Feb filed complaint against security forces for attempt on Diallo’s life. Results of communal elections continued to raise tensions; in Conakry court 7 Feb validated victory of ruling party Rally for the Guinean People’s (RPG) candidate for mayor of Matoto City after main opposition party Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) filed complaint. In north, supporters of departing and new mayor, both RPG members, clashed in Norassoba, Kankan region 13 Feb, several reportedly injured. Several political parties including Union of Republican Forces (UFR) 22 Feb created alliance Convergence of the Democratic Opposition in attempt to counter political polarisation.
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