President Alpha Condé’s unwillingness to give up power set the stage for a military takeover on 5 September. In this Q&A, Crisis Group experts Vincent Foucher and Rinaldo Depagne show how this latest coup d’état is part of a worrying trend in West Africa.
Main opposition groups boycotted ECOWAS-mediated dialogue with junta after listing conditions for participation, while repression of dissent persisted.
Junta and opposition remained at loggerheads despite regional mediation efforts. PM Bernard Gomou 10 Nov met with so-called quartet, group of four major opposition groups including National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) and deposed President Condé’s Rally of the Guinean People (RPG), to discuss conditions for participation in West African regional bloc (ECOWAS)-mediated dialogue; quartet listed release of political prisoners, end to protest ban and restructuring of ruling National Transitional Council as main prerequisites. FNDC, RPG and other quartet member 24 Nov boycotted opening session of ECOWAS-mediated dialogue, said govt was acting in bad faith. Col. Doumbouya-led junta is set to meet with ECOWAS before year’s end to validate 21 Oct agreement on 24-month transition back to civilian rule; junta insists latter starts from 1 Jan 2023, while main opposition groups wants 5 Sept 2021 coup as start date.
Prominent protest leaders prolonged detention without trial. Two senior FNDC leaders jailed after leading banned protest in July, Ibrahima Diallo and Oumar Sylla (aka Foniké Mengué), 7 Nov announced hunger strike to protest prolonged detention without trial; 15 Nov suspended strike at request of their lawyers.
Authorities targeted Condé as part of anti-corruption campaign. Justice Minister Charles Wright 3 Nov ordered legal proceedings on corruption charges against Condé, who has resided in Türkiye since May, and 187 former Condé officials, some of whom are dead or already in prison. Col. Doumbouya 16 Nov also dismissed Infrastructure Minister Yaya Sow, citing corruption charges.
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.
Vincent Foucher, Crisis Group’s West Africa Senior Analyst, draws attention to the complex and problematic electoral process in Guinea, now faced with the additional threat of the Ebola epidemic, causing tensions between the government and the opposition party in agreeing a date for upcoming elections.
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