President Condé was sworn in for controversial third term, and intercommunal violence erupted in south east. Condé 15 Dec took presidential oath for third term, called for unity and end to violence. Opposition remained divided and continued to lose momentum. Main opposition leader and presidential runner-up Cellou Dalein Diallo boycotted swearing-in ceremony and denounced it as “sham”, while several other opposition figures attended. Coalition of opposition parties and civil society groups National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), at forefront of mobilisation against third term since 2019, same day failed to mobilise supporters for protest in capital Conakry against Condé’s alleged “constitutional coup”. Territorial administration and decentralisation Minister Bouréma Condé 11 Dec warned that govt would not tolerate any “breach of the peace”. Authorities 30 Dec reportedly prevented Diallo from leaving country to attend funeral of late Malian opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé. Meanwhile, international community increased pressure on govt to address human rights violations by security forces and stop muzzling opposition. U.S. embassy in Guinea 11 Dec urged authorities to build “more democratic society”. NGO Human Rights Watch 14 Dec called on govt to stop “relentless crackdown” on opposition, and NGO Amnesty International next day urged govt to investigate killings of opposition protesters and others around Oct presidential election. EU Commission 19 Dec called for independent investigation into 17 Dec death in custody of opposition party Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) youth leader, Roger Bamba, and release of all political prisoners. Intercommunal violence erupted in Macenta city (south east): ethnic Toma and Manian residents 26-27 Dec clashed over control of cheftaincy, reportedly leaving over 20 dead and dozens more wounded.
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