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Changes in military leadership revealed tensions at highest levels of govt, and deadly protests erupted following failure of mediation process between transitional military authorities and opposition.
President Doumbouya took steps to fend off challenges to his rule. President Lt. Col. Doumbouya 9 May sacked top junta figure Gen. Sadiba Coulibaly as armed forces chief of staff, allegedly over disagreements on conduct of transition to civilian rule. Interim President Lt. Col. Doumbouya late April also sacked head of military intelligence, Lt. Col. Ismaël Keïta, citing “serious misconduct”, and disbanded battalion in charge of presidential security (which defended former President Condé during 2021 putsch), suggesting he may fear challenges from officers outside ruling junta.
New round of opposition demonstrations turned violent as mediation failed. Opposition coalition Forces Vives de Guinée (FVG) – notably including opposition leader Cellou Dallein Diallo’s movement, former President Condé’s Rally of the Guinean People, and political wing of National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) protest movement – 8 May refused to attend new round of talks with govt under auspices of religious mediators. Govt took part, proposed to grant conditional release to three imprisoned FNDC leaders, including Oumar Sylla (alias Foniké Mengué), if they committed to suspend militant activities, which FNDC leaders rejected. FVG supporters 10 May took to streets in capital Conakry, clashed with police; FVG said seven demonstrators shot dead and 32 injured, while authorities claimed three people killed. Small-scale demonstrations same day also took place in Nzerekore town in south east, and in central town of Dabola. In apparent sign of appeasement, authorities later same day released three FNDC leaders without condition until their trial, but renewed protests 11 May took place in Conakry. Situation remained tense through late May, with authorities 17-18 May deploying army in Conakry as FVG called for new demonstrations.
No breakthrough in talks between transitional authorities and opposition parties; meanwhile, protests erupted against power shortages.
Fragile talks proceeded between govt and opposition parties. Following first round of talks in March as part of mediation led by religious leaders, PM Bernard Goumou and Forces Vives de Guinée (FVG) – large opposition coalition including outlawed National Front for the Defence of the Constitution, opposition leader Cellou Dallein Diallo’s party and deposed President Condé’s Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) – in April held several rounds of talks in capital Conakry but failed to make tangible progress to ease political crisis. FVG continued to demand release of detained opposition figures, lifting of protest ban and new national dialogue supervised by Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), while Goumou reportedly failed to secure strong support for talks from key officials linked to military govt. Collapse of talks could lead FVG to call for renewed street protests.
Spontaneous protests erupted over power shortages. Youths protesting power cuts late March-early April occupied roundabouts and clashed with police in several neighbourhoods of Kankan city – both an RPG stronghold and interim president Col. Doumbouya’s birthplace. Govt 2 April sent security reinforcements to restore order, and 5 April suspended governor of Kankan region. Court in Kankan 13 April sentenced 15 protesters to jail terms on charges of “participating in non-authorised gathering” and “destruction of public buildings”. Situation eased in following days, but Kankan and other cities could see new violence amid recurrent power shortages.
Religious figures launched new mediation initiative between interim govt and opposition; relations with ECOWAS remained tense.
Govt and opposition engaged in fragile talks as part of new mediation initiative. Govt’s General Secretary for Religious Affairs Karamo Diawara, Grand Imam of Conakry Mamadou Saliou Camara and other religious figures 5-6 March met with representatives of Forces Vives de Guinée (FVG) – large opposition coalition including outlawed National Front for the Defence of the Constitution, former President Condé’s Rally of the Guinean People and Cellou Dalein Diallo’s Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea – as part of new effort to foster dialogue with transitional govt. FVG 8 March postponed anti-govt demonstration planned for 9 March to “give negotiations a chance”. Authorities 11 March briefly detained two FVG members, including prominent civil society activist Abdoul Sacko, in capital Conakry on undisclosed charges. FVG 13 March met with PM Bernard Goumou and requested end of legal proceedings against Sacko as pre-condition for negotiations. Authorities next day ended legal proceedings against Sacko, prompting FVG to suspend demonstration scheduled for 20 March. FVG around 25 March designated six representatives to discuss prerequisites for dialogue with govt.
Govt at loggerheads with ECOWAS over detention of former ministers. Paris-based news outlet Africa Intelligence 17 March revealed series of communications 28 Feb-13 March between West African regional bloc ECOWAS’s court of justice and Conakry over continued detention of three Condé-era ministers, including former PM Ibrahima Kassory Fofana, who were arrested in April 2022 for alleged financial fraud; regional court reportedly requested defence case statement outlining officials’ situation. All three former ministers 15 March refused to appear before Economic and Financial Offenses Court in Conakry, denouncing “targeted and repressive witch hunt”; court postponed audience to 20 March, then to April.
Interim President Doumbouya defied West African regional bloc over transition-monitoring body; opposition protests resumed and turned deadly again.
Relations with ECOWAS soured amid rapprochement with Mali and Burkina Faso. FM Morissanda Kouyaté 9 Feb met with Malian and Burkinabé counterparts, Abdoulaye Diop and Olivia Rouamba, in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou; ministers pledged to deepen economic and security cooperation and called on West African regional bloc ECOWAS and African Union to lift suspensions imposed on all three countries after military coups in 2021 and 2022 (see Burkina Faso and Mali). Col. Doumbouya same day unilaterally installed committee to monitor transition back to civilian rule, largely made up of govt ministers and their close aides, overtly disregarding ECOWAS’s months-long efforts to create inclusive committee. In response, ECOWAS Mediator for Guinea Thomas Boni Yayi suspended planned visit to country in March, while regional bloc 18-19 Feb called on junta to “refrain from any unliteral action that risks undermining collaboration” and declined to lift sanctions. In sign of possible concessions, Doumbouya 21 Feb reaffirmed that junta “will not be part of the after-transition”, while PM Bernard Goumou 23 Feb asked ECOWAS to provide “the necessary support” for pursuing transition.
Security forces clashed with opposition protesters. Outlawed coalition National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) 15-16 Feb led anti-govt demonstration in capital Conakry, demanding authorities lift nationwide ban on protests, release FNDC leaders and other prisoners detained for political reasons, and hold inclusive dialogue; clashes erupted between protesters and security forces, with FNDC 16 Feb reporting two protesters shot dead, 58 wounded and 47 detained; police said demonstrators erected roadblocks in several locations and threw stones at security vehicles, with seven security personnel injured. Govt later same day threatened to suspend opposition parties that 12 Feb supported FNDC’s call for protest, including Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea and former President Condé’s Rally of the Guinean People.
Interim govt rejected calls to reopen inter-Guinean dialogue outside country amid ongoing stifling of dissent.
Conakry ruled out possibility of resuming dialogue abroad. Col. Doumbouya’s interim govt 12 Jan rejected efforts by West African regional bloc ECOWAS to relaunch dialogue between interim govt and political and civil society groups outside country to include main opposition actors (who boycotted so-called inclusive inter-Guinean dialogue held in late 2022), said “there is no reason to hold talks abroad” as dialogue “has been wrapped up”. Meanwhile, UN Deputy Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel Giovanie Biha 18-20 Jan visited country, met with PM Bernard Goumou and reaffirmed UN’s “commitment to support the ongoing transition… in accordance with the 10-point timetable for a rapid return to constitutional order”.
Harassment of opposition persisted. Authorities 17 Jan blocked Fodé Oussou Fofana, VP of opposition Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea, from travelling abroad; 21 Jan arrested Mamadou Billo Bah, prominent member of outlawed civil society platform National Front for the Defence of the Constitution, in capital Conakry, later accused him of taking part in “illegal gathering” and “destruction of property”.
Regional leaders insisted two-year transition to civilian rule must end in Oct 2024, while national dialogue concluded despite boycott by main opposition groups.
ECOWAS clarified transition timetable, national dialogue concluded. West African regional bloc ECOWAS 4 Dec said 24-month transition to civilian rule must start “immediately”, understandably referring to Oct 2022 when transition timetable was agreed upon, and not in Jan 2023 as Interim President Col. Doumbouya is advocating for. Meanwhile, PM Bernard Gomou 14 Dec castigated main opposition coalition’s “express refusal” to take part in national dialogue; dialogue’s participants 21 Dec presented conclusions and final recommendations to Doumbouya, including introducing 75-year age limit for presidential candidates and maintaining ban on street protests until transition ends. Opposition coalition 30 Dec rejected dialogue’s conclusions as unilateral.
Authorities targeted President Condé-era figures in anti-corruption drive. After public prosecutor’s office 2 Dec blocked former PM Ibrahima Kassory Fofana’s conditional release for fourth time since his April arrest on corruption charges, ECOWAS leaders 4 Dec expressed concern over Fofana and other former ministers’ continued detention. Doumbouya 11 Dec and 28 Dec retired over 2,000 public servants and 22 magistrates, respectively. Justice ministry 12 Dec sought proceedings against president of Guinean Financial Information Processing Unit and security forces 15 Dec detained former Constitutional Court president, both on corruption allegations. Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury 9 Dec imposed sanctions, including asset freeze, on Condé for alleged human rights abuses by govt forces in 2020.
Former junta leader accused Condé of 2009 stadium massacre. In long-awaited testimony in trial of 2009 massacre of over 150 people in Conakry stadium, then-junta leader Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara 12 Dec said former Presidents Condé and Konaté (at the time opposition leader and defence minister, respectively), planned massacre as part of “plot” to outset him; also accused former aide-de-camp, Lt. Aboubacar Sidiki “Toumba” Diakité, of “executing” plan; Diakité’s lawyer immediately denounced “conspiracy theories”.
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.
Ruling junta and West African regional bloc agreed on two-year transition to civilian rule as crackdown on opposition protest once again turned deadly.
Military junta agreed to restore civilian rule in two years. Under pressure from West African regional bloc ECOWAS to agree to shorter transition timeline by 22 Oct or risk more sanctions, Col. Doumbouya-led junta 17-21 Oct held series of talks with ECOWAS officials in capital Conakry. Doumbouya and ECOWAS mediator, Benin’s former President Boni Yayi, 21 Oct announced agreement on 24-month transition starting in Jan 2023, down from 36-month period proposed by junta in May.
National dialogue remained stalled amid ongoing repression of opposition. Opposition Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG), former President Condé’s Rally of the Guinean People, and outlawed coalition National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) 3 Oct rejected govt-led dialogue framework, denouncing “unilateral” process. Police 17 Oct arrested prominent UFDG official Cellou Baldé in Conakry on undisclosed charges; released him 24 hours later. FNDC 20 Oct held demonstration in Conakry despite nationwide ban on protests, demanding quick return to civilian-led govt and release of all prisoners detained for political reasons; clashes between security forces and protesters left at least three protesters killed, while 20 people suffered gunshot wounds, and many others were detained. Protesters 28 Oct disrupted traffic in Conakry, denouncing death of protesters during 20 Oct demonstration. Meanwhile, Paris-based news website Africa Intelligence 7 Oct reported that France would provide military support to junta to help securitise Mali-Guinea border and prevent expansion of jihadism, sparking rumours of French troop deployment in country; FM Morissanda Kouyaté 11 Oct denied claims.
Trial over 2009 massacre of over 150 people continued. During trial of several former military and govt officials accused of responsibility in 2009 massacre of over 150 people in Conakry stadium, court 10 Oct denied then-junta leader Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara’s request to be released to house arrest. Camara’s former aide-de-camp, Lt. Aboubacar Sidiki “Toumba” Diakité, 24 Oct accused Camara of having planned and ordered massacre.
West African leaders imposed gradual sanctions on military junta over slow transition and opposition protest again turned violent. Junta faced sustained domestic and regional pressure to speed up transition. On first anniversary of Col. Doumbouya’s coup, coalition of civil society groups and political parties National Front for the Defence of the Constitution 5 Sept led anti-military protest in capital Conakry. Sporadic clashes erupted between protesters and security forces, with govt claiming ten police officers and one civilian wounded; several also detained for allegedly causing “public disorder”. FNDC next day accused authorities of using “weapons of war” during protest; 8 Sept filed legal complaint against Doumbouya, who has French citizenship, in France’s capital Paris, accusing him of being complicit in “homicides and torture” allegedly committed during anti-junta protests in July-Aug. West African regional bloc ECOWAS 22 Sept announced gradual sanctions on military junta to pressure it to agree to reasonable timetable for return to civilian rule; sanctions include asset freezes and travel bans against individuals and groups.Doumbouya sought extradition of deposed President Condé from Türkiye. Doumbouya 7 Sept reportedly threatened to halt activities of Turkish company Albayrak, which operates autonomous port of Conakry, in bid to obtain return of Condé, who has resided in Türkiye since May. Police 12 Sept forced general manager of Albayrak’s Guinean subsidiary and three of his associates to leave their offices, but port continued to operate.Trial of security forces’ members over 2009 stadium massacre began. Trial of 11 individuals accused of responsibility in 2009 Conakry stadium massacre, including then-junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara, launched 28 Sept; security forces loyal to Camara accused of killing at least 156 people and raping over 100 women who had gathered in stadium for political rally.
Under mounting street pressure and lack of agreement with regional body ECOWAS over transition’s duration, ruling junta dissolved main opposition coalition, replaced PM and revamped cabinet. Following several anti-junta protests since June, Justice Minister Charles Wright 2 Aug directed public prosecutor’s office to begin legal proceedings against coalition of political parties, trade unions and civil society groups, National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), on charges of “defamation”, “dissemination of false information likely to endanger public peace and security”, and “complicity of murder”. Interim govt 6 Aug dissolved FNDC by decree, citing threat to “national unity, public peace and cohabitation”. Despite regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) 15 Aug dispatching official to meet with FNDC in effort to appease tensions, some clashes 17 Aug erupted between law enforcement and youths on outskirts of capital Conakry, reportedly leaving two dead, a few dozen injured or arrested. ECOWAS-appointed mediator, Benin’s former President Boni Yayi, 21-27 Aug visited capital Conakry to rekindle negotiations with junta leaders on transition’s duration and facilitate political dialogue between junta, political parties and civil society; upon departure, Boni said parties will continue discussions “in order to agree on a timetable and content for the transition that is accepted by all”. At ECOWAS’ request, FNDC 26 Aug reportedly suspended protests scheduled in Conakry for 29 Aug and 4 Sept, but maintained nationwide demonstration planned on 5 Sept. Meanwhile, PM Mohamed Béavogui, who has been in Italy since mid-July, 12 Aug said he would return to Guinea once his medical condition improves. Amid rumours that his absence stems from disagreements with interim President Col Doumbouya over transition timeline, latter 20 Aug appointed acting PM Bernard Gomou to permanently fill PM position as Béavogui’s replacement. Doumbouya same day also reshuffled cabinet ahead of first anniversary of 5 Sept putsch that overthrew former President Condé.
Main opposition forces boycotted second round of national dialogue and held several anti-junta protests; and West Africa’s regional bloc set 1 August deadline for revised transition timetable. Govt 1 July launched second round of national dialogue initiated in June; prominent political party Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea and civil society coalition National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) did not attend, however, demanding terms of dialogue be reset. Meanwhile, authorities 5 July arrested three FNDC leaders, including prominent pro-democracy activist Foniké Mengué, for alleged “contempt of court” over comments criticising Prosecutor’s Office and military-appointed parliament. As videos showing leaders’ brutal arrest circulated on social media, protests 5-6 July erupted in capital Conakry; clashes between police and youth groups reportedly left at least 17 police officers injured. All three activists released 8 July after Dixinn court same day found them not guilty. FNDC, joined by deposed President Condé’s Rally of the Guinea People and other opposition forces, 28-29 July defied ban on protests and held anti-junta marches in Conakry; clashes with police reportedly left at least two dead and many injured on both sides, while police said 85 people were detained 28 July. FNDC 30 July said two senior officials, including Foniké Mengué, arrested previous night; also said it was calling off protests for one week following request by Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to give mediation a chance. Earlier in month, ECOWAS 3 July rejected 36-month transition proposed by interim authorities, required latter to submit revised transition timetable by 1 August or face economic sanctions. ECOWAS heads of state same day appointed Benin’s former President Boni Yayi as mediator for Guinea; Yayi 19 July arrived in Conakry for series of meetings with govt officials, including interim President Col Doumbouya. ECOWAS chair, Guinea-Bissau’s President Sissoco Embaló, 28 July said junta had accepted two-year transition, which Conakry refused to confirm.
Security forces brutally suppressed protest, leaving one dead, and junta initiated talks with political opposition and civil society; West Africa regional bloc postponed decision on sanctions until July. In capital Conakry, demonstration against fuel price increases held 1 June despite protest ban imposed in May; security forces cracked down on protesters, leaving one young man dead, 7 June announced arrest of five police officers in connection with killing. Civil society organisation National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) 23 June cancelled march against interim President Col Doumbouya’s three-year transition plan scheduled for same day, gave govt until 30 June to initiate dialogue, prompting PM Mohamed Béavogui to convene talks 27 June; FNDC and political coalition built around political party Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) participated, but former presidential party Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) boycotted event to protest ongoing detention of party leaders. Meanwhile, gendarmes 7 June detained special forces officer who was key to Sept 2021 coup, Commander Aly Camara, on unknown charges for second time since coup. Amid concerns that deposed President Condé, who junta allowed in May to seek medical treatment in Türkiye, may try to evade judges investigating crimes committed under his presidency, Sec Gen of Presidency Col Amara Camara 8 June said “Condé will come back home”. Regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) 4 June reiterated request for “acceptable transition timetable”, without giving more details, and urged govt to initiate dialogue with political and civil society stakeholders to “ease socio-political tensions”; FM Morissanda Kouyaté 24 June visited Côte d’Ivoire as part of regional tour to lobby against potential commercial sanctions that ECOWAS could approve during next meeting set for 3 July.
Three-year timeline to elections sparked local outcry as rift widened between military authorities, on one hand, and political parties and civil society, on the other; ruling junta announced armed forces reforms. After interim President Col Doumbouya late April proposed to extend transition by 39 months, interim legislative body, National Transitional Council (CNT), 11 May approved slightly shorter 36-month timeline to elections. Revised timeline endorsed despite condemnation hours earlier by G58 umbrella group of opposition parties of Doumbouya’s “authoritarian governance” and alleged attempt to “confiscate power”. Meanwhile, National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) civil society coalition immediately denounced CNT decision, threatened street protests. Ruling junta 13 May banned demonstrations; FNDC immediately said they “would not comply” with “illegal decision”, vowed to send complaint to UN Human Rights Office, which 30 May urged transitional authorities to revoke ban. Three-year transition to constitutional rule also prompted international reactions. UN Sec Gen Guterres 1 May urged junta to operate “swift transition”, while EU 4 May called for “truly inclusive dialogue” over roadmap to defuse tensions. Doumbouya 5 May appointed Lt Col Ismael Keita to lead military intelligence services with Lt Col Oumar Barou Yombouno as his deputy. Defence Minister Aboubacar Sidiki Camara 23 May unveiled military reforms with stated aim of improving working conditions of rank-and-file soldiers, combating clientelism and factionalism within armed forces. Public Prosecutor Charles Alphonse Wright 4 May announced investigations against former President Condé and 26 of his collaborators, including former PM Kassory Fofana, former Defence Minister Mohamed Diané and former National Assembly Speaker Amadou Damaro Camara, on charges of “murder, torture, kidnappings and rape” in relation to repression of anti-third term demonstrations in 2020.
Special court charged former President Condé-era officials with financial crimes, while interim military authorities proposed 39-month transition to civilian rule. Court for economic and financial crimes (set up by ruling junta in late 2021) placed former govt officials and members of former ruling party Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) in detention on several charges, including corruption, embezzlement of public funds and money laundering: PM Ibrahima Kassory Fofana and former Defence Minister Mohamed Diané jailed 6 April; two other former ministers, Albert Damantang Camara and Ibrahima Kourouma, held in custody 21 April; former National Assembly Speaker Amadou Damaro Camara and former Electoral Commission President Loucény Camara also sent to prison around 28 April. In response, RPG 14 April suspended participation in national dialogue. On interim President Doumbouya’s orders, former President Condé 8 April returned to Guinea after receiving medical treatment in United Arab Emirates since Jan; ruling military junta 22 April announced Condé freed from house arrest. Meanwhile, Territorial and Decentralisation Minister Mory Condé 15 April unveiled ten-step electoral roadmap without set deadlines. Country 25 April missed regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) deadline to present “acceptable timetable” for return to civilian rule. ECOWAS 27 April announced it would send mission to country to determine next steps. Doumbouya 30 April proposed 39-month transition to civilian rule; RPG and other opposition groups immediately denounced move.
Tensions over management and duration of post-coup transition persisted as civil society and political opposition threatened protests against ruling military junta. Prominent civil society coalition National Front for the Defence of the Constitution 1 March asserted authenticity of document circulated late-Feb on social media detailing President Doumbouya’s alleged plan for four-year transition; also called for protests to “oppose with determination any idea of a long transition”. Coalition of 58 political formations, including main opposition parties Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) and Union of Republican Forces (UFR), 9 March threatened protests over Doumbouya’s “unilateral” management style and urged regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to appoint special envoy to arbitrate political process; demanded transparency over composition of junta – whose members transitional charter bans from competing in forthcoming elections; and stressed “socio-political stakeholders in concert with the junta” (but not legislative body National Transitional Council as Doumbouya argues) should set transition’s duration. UFDG leader Cellou Dalein Diallo 5 March said authorities’ move in Feb to confiscate his and UFR leader Sidya Touré’s residences in capital Conakry as part of corruption cases reflected “desire to harm and humiliate political leaders”. Authorities 22 March launched National Conference bringing together some political parties, youth groups, women’s organisations, traditional leaders and civil society organisations to discuss “new institutional framework”; opposition coalition including Diallo and Touré’s parties however boycotted talks, citing lack of consultation on conference’s agenda. During summit in Ghana, ECOWAS 25 March said it will impose “immediate economic and financial sanctions” on Guinea should authorities fail to propose “acceptable transition timetable” by 25 April.
Tensions ran high between political class and military over transition’s trajectory. Legislative body National Transitional Council (CNT) 5 Feb met for inaugural session and 7 Feb held first plenary session in capital Conakry. Coalition of opposition parties Forum des Partis Politiques, which includes former PM Sidya Touré’s Union of Republican Forces, 10 Feb decried as “inappropriate” population’s hearing tour planned by CNT President Dansa Kourouma and peers. Amid rumours that transition’s President Doumbouya wants CNT to set age limit for presidential candidates, septuagenarian Touré 12 Feb urged Doumbouya to “abstain from excluding political leaders” from upcoming elections. New Prosecutor Alphonse Charles Wright 3 Feb referred embezzlement case against prominent politician Cellou Dalein Diallo to newly created Court for the Repression of Economic and Financial Crimes; Diallo 5 Feb painted move as “another manoeuvre to harm him”. Wright 13 Feb launched investigations into crimes committed under former President Condé between 2010 and 2020, including killings. Meanwhile, regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) 3 Feb voiced renewed concern over lack of electoral calendar to restore constitutional rule. Joint ECOWAS-UN delegation 27 Feb landed in Conakry to discuss electoral schedule with transitional authorities.
Amid concerns over slow transition and junta’s interference in judicial sphere, military set up legislative council in charge of defining timetable for elections. Junta late Dec-early Jan dismissed and replaced Justice Minister Fatoumata Yarie Soumah after she criticised junta’s intrusion into judiciary and disagreed with Presidency’s Sec Gen Col Amara Camara over her department’s inner workings. Over 120 opposition parties 3 Jan formed new coalition Collectif des Partis Politiques around main opposition party Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea with view to proposing electoral schedule. Following consultations between govt and political party leaders 11 Jan, junta 22 Jan set up 81-member National Transitional Council (CNT) to serve as legislative body; CNT includes number of civil society representatives, 15 political party representatives and nine security forces representatives, with prominent civil society activist and election expert Dansa Kourouma appointed CNT president. Interim President Doumbouya 24 Jan dismissed nine senior public officials, accusing them of embezzlement of public funds and forgery, including Head of National Anti-Corruption Agency Sékou Mohamed Sylla. Meanwhile, West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS 9 Jan maintained sanction regime against junta, including travel ban and asset freeze, regretted transition’s “slow progress” and “absence of electoral calendar”. Junta next day refused to enforce new ECOWAS sanctions on Malian junta citing “pan-Africanist vision”. Following late Dec request, deposed President Condé 17 Jan flew to United Arab Emirates for medical reasons.
Transitional govt continued to display firmness toward defunct regime and pursue appeasement policy toward opposition; ECOWAS reiterated request for elections in March. As part of declared anti-corruption effort, ruling junta National Rally and Development Committee (CNRD) 2 Dec created Court for Repression of Economic and Financial Crimes. Justice Minister Fatoumata Yarie Soumah 4 Dec said body does not seek to “settle scores” with deposed President Condé’s govt officials, but mismanagement that tainted Condé’s rule makes them potential targets. Interim President Doumbouya 7 Dec dismissed Central Bank President Louncény Nabé, who had served under Condé for almost a decade. Security forces 11 Dec used tear gas and arrested dozens of Condé’s followers protesting in capital Conakry to call for his release; same day prevented another pro-Condé protest in Kindia prefecture (north east). Meanwhile, former President Sékouba Konaté 18 Dec and former President Moussa Dadis Camara 22 Dec came back from ten-year exile, after CNRD late Nov authorised their return as part of appeasement policy. PM Mohamed Mohamed Béavogui 25 Dec presented interim govt’s program to Doumbouya without specifying transition timetable, while civil society coalition 29 Dec proposed 24-month transition period. Govt 31 Dec authorised Condé to leave country for one month for medical reasons. West Africa regional bloc ECOWAS 12-13 Dec regretted lack of clear electoral roadmap and reiterated demand that Guinea hold elections by March. AU Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat 5 Dec visited Guinea and promised to “accompany the transition” in soft statement contrasting with ECOWAS’s firmness.
Interim President Doumbouya continued to assert control over security forces, while unclear duration of transition fuelled tensions. Newly appointed PM Mohamed Béavogui 5 Nov unveiled cabinet of 27 ministers after weeks-long consultations with ruling military junta National Rally and Development Committee (CNRD): new govt includes two retired generals from Doumbouya’s inner circle as defence and security ministers, and three politicians who took up positions without approval from their respective parties. Leading figure of junta, Col Amara Camara, appointed same day presidency’s sec gen. Doumbouya continued to consolidate his control over security forces, notably retiring 1,000 soldiers 1 Nov and 537 police officers 9 Nov, including controversial head of National Police Ansoumane Baffoe Camara. Doumbouya 4 Nov also promoted younger officers close to junta to strategic positions and 12 Nov appointed 22 new army commanders to strategic regional battalions. Tensions increased between junta on one hand, and political class and foreign partners on the other amid rumours that Doumbouya contemplates three-year transition. Notably, former PM Lansana Kouyaté 8 Nov called on CNRD to “start working” and organise elections by late 2022. West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS 7 Nov upheld sanctions on junta members, including travel bans and asset freezes, and country’s suspension from all ECOWAS governing bodies “until constitutional order is restored”; also reiterated call for deposed President Condé’s “unconditional release”. ECOWAS same day appointed former head of UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel Mohamed Ibn Chambas as special envoy to Guinea. In response, Doumbouya 14 Nov said it was up to legislative body National Transitional Council to determine transition’s duration and Condé’s fate was in the hands of justice; also rejected external mediation, but welcomed international electoral assistance. Doumbouya 29 Nov announced Condé’s transfer to his wife’s home in Conakry suburbs, yet did not specify whether deposed president under house arrest or subject to other restrictions.
Junta leader sworn in as transition’s president and civilian PM appointed. Mamady Doumbouya, leader of military junta that overthrew President Condé in Sept, sworn in 1 Oct as president of transition; in inaugural speech, Doumbouya committed to “reforming the Guinean state”, “fighting corruption” and holding “free, credible and transparent elections” to pave way for return to civilian rule; transitional period’s duration however remains unknown. No head of states from regional body Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) attended inauguration ceremony. Doumbouya 6 Oct appointed civilian Mohamed Béavogui as PM; choice of political newcomer with roots in both central and southern Guinea could help overcome population’s defiance toward politicians and transcend deep-rooted ethno-regional cleavages, but Béavogui’s lack of political clout could hinder his ability to carry out reforms. In move to consolidate his control over armed forces, Doumbouya 12 Oct removed 42 army generals, including some close associates of Condé, and filled in strategic military positions with allies, notably appointing junta’s second-in-command Col Sadiba Koulibaly, as armed forces chief of staff. Meanwhile, in first worrying signs for press freedom since coup, authorities 8 Oct reportedly prevented several privately-owned TV channels from covering Béavogui’s inauguration as PM and special forces that ousted Condé 9 Oct raided private media outlet Djoma Média, allegedly to look for missing state-owned vehicles, leaving two injured including security guard. Union of Private Press Professionals of Guinea 12 Oct accused junta of attempting to “stifle” media. ECOWAS delegation 28 Oct arrived in capital Conakry for third visit since Sept coup.
Military coup against President Condé opened period of great uncertainty. Special forces 5 Sept captured Condé after brief skirmishes in capital Conakry’s govt district; fighting reportedly left at least ten killed, mainly Presidential Guard soldiers. In following hours, hundreds gathered in Conakry’s suburbs and Labé city (centre north) to celebrate Condé’s ouster, particularly but not exclusively in strongholds of main opposition party Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG). Coup leader Col Mamady Doumbouya same day announced govt’s dissolution and suspension of country’s constitution, said military junta National Rally and Development Committee (CNRD) now in charge; also called for national unity, reconciliation, good governance and vowed to fight corruption and respect rule of law. Junta next day consolidated takeover by naming military governors, prohibited govt officials from leaving country and reportedly arrested several politicians, said there would be no “witch hunt” against former govt officials. UFDG leader Cellou Dalein Diallo 7 Sept qualified coup as “patriotic act”, said his party was “open to work” with CNRD; CNRD same day took benevolent measures toward opposition, notably releasing around 80 political detainees. CNRD 14 Sept opened four-day series of consultations with political and civil society figures, as well as foreign diplomats, to map out framework for transitional govt. CNRD 27 Sept unveiled “transitional charter”, saying it will return country to civilian rule without clarifying how long transition will last; Doumbouya to run country as transition’s president, along with govt headed by civilian PM and 81-member National Transitional Council to serve as parliament; charter bans all those taking part in transition from running in next national and local elections. Coup drew widespread international condemnation. Notably, Economic Community of West African States 8 Sept suspended Guinea’s membership, demanded return to constitutional order and immediate release of Condé; 16 Sept imposed sanctions on CNRD members, including travel bans and asset freezes, and called for presidential and legislative elections within six months. African Union 10 Sept also suspended Guinea.
Authorities continued to stifle dissent, and renewed clashes erupted between gold miners and locals in north west. Authorities 9 Aug ordered main opposition party Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea prominent leader Abdoulaye Bah to return to prison for allegedly violating conditions of his release after he questioned President Condé’s legitimacy on social media; Bah, who was detained in Nov 2020 on public disorder charges, had been released on parole in July. Police 15 Aug arrested Bogola Haba, from opposition coalition National Alliance for Change and Democracy, over civil disobedience accusations. Judicial authorities 25 Aug announced international arrest warrant against Sékou Koundourou, senior figure of civil society platform National Front for the Defence of the Constitution, for alleged involvement in violence during popular protests against Condé in March-Oct 2020. In north west, clashes between gold miners and local population 10 Aug left at least one dead in Kounsitel town, Boké region; tensions have been running high since discovery of gold mine in area earlier this year.
Authorities faced pressure to continue releasing political prisoners, and opposition remained divided. After authorities in past two months released dozens of individuals arrested around Oct 2020 presidential election, National Assembly Speaker Amadou Damaro Camara 5 July exhorted President Condé to grant more presidential pardons; NGO Amnesty International 8 July welcomed recent release of 40 individuals who had been detained in election period, said 57 others including four prominent leaders of main opposition party Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) remained incarcerated; all four granted parole 16 July. UFDG leadership 10 July announced resumption of anti-Condé demonstrations in Aug; party remains divided over strategy toward Condé, with several incarcerated leaders in favour of conciliatory approach while remaining segment of party’s leadership, including its President Cellou Dalein Diallo, maintains anti-dialogue stance.
Authorities continued to restrict space for opposition and civil society, and violence erupted in north west. Several human rights organisations, including Human Rights Watch and International Federation for Human Rights, 1 June jointly denounced “lack of strong reaction” from international community, and France in particular, to “brutal repression” of opposition and civil society since 2019; govt three days later rejected report as biased. Conakry Court of Appeal 10 June sentenced prominent figure of civil society coalition National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) Oumar Sylla, alias Foniké Mengué, to three years in prison on charges of “provocation of an unarmed gathering”, up from 11 months in first instance; FNDC was at forefront of 2019-2020 mobilisation against President Condé’s third term. In apparent appeasement effort, Condé 18 and 22 June pardoned four opposition and civil society figures – sentenced to prison for various crimes – after they presented public apologies. Amid tensions following discovery of gold mine near Gaoual town, Boké region in north west, clashes 22 June erupted between security forces and protesters denouncing authorities’ decision to close down mine, leaving two dead.
COVID-19 restrictions sparked unrest. COVID-19-related ban on collective night prayers during last days of Ramadan 3-6 May sparked violent protests in Siguiri, Kankan and Kérouané cities, Kankan region (east), with demonstrators burning tyres and storming administrative buildings; security forces overnight 5-6 May reportedly killed one demonstrator in Kérouané.
Govt continued to face international scrutiny over human rights record and deadly clashes erupted between gold miners and security forces. Human rights concerns over treatment of opponents continued to emerge. In its annual report, NGO Amnesty International 7 April denounced “human rights violations” in Guinea during previous year, including unlawful killings and arbitrary arrests of opponents, in context of 2020 constitutional referendum and presidential election. AU body African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights mid-April said country’s “legislations restricting fundamental freedoms […] are used against political opponents and human rights defenders”, denounced systematic crackdown on protests. In trial of members of civil society platform National Front for the Defence of the Constitution for alleged involvement in March 2020 deadly electoral violence in N’Zérékoré town (south east), court 9 April sentenced two defendants to ten years in prison, notably on charges of “complicity in murder” and “criminal conspiracy”; all other defendants sentenced to one-year imprisonment on charges of “incitation and participation in illegal protests”. Gold miners and security forces 17 April clashed in Kouroussa town (east), reportedly leaving two dead. Ebola outbreak sparked tensions in east. In sign of growing distrust toward authorities, elderly women early April blocked entrance of medical personnel into Gbakalaye village after cases were detected in area, increasing risk of contaminations.
Authorities continued to stifle dissent, and opposition appeared increasingly divided. Authorities 1 March charged journalist Amadou Diouldé Diallo – detained late Feb after he criticised President Condé in radio broadcast in Jan – with “offence to the president”; NGO Reporters without Borders 17 March called for his immediate release. Court of Appeal in capital Conakry 4 March confirmed Dixinn Court’s early Feb decision to keep main opposition party Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG)’s headquarters closed; offices were shut down in Oct 2020. UFDG 16 March said authorities same day prevented party leader Cellou Dalein Diallo from leaving country and seized his passport. Legal team of five opposition figures imprisoned for over four months on several charges, including “infringement of the fundamental interests of the nation” and “inciting violence”, 12 March lodged complaint with West African regional bloc ECOWAS Court of Justice, citing irregularities in judicial procedure. NGO Human Rights Watch 17 March said four opposition supporters died in detention between Nov 2020 and Jan 2021; NGO Amnesty International had disclosed similar findings in Feb. Meanwhile, Condé 1 March pardoned seven individuals imprisoned for “illegal gathering”, but hundreds of opposition supporters arrested around March 2020 constitutional referendum and Oct 2020 presidential election still in pre-trial detention. Condé next day received Mamadou Sylla, nominally leader of parliamentary opposition, and allowed him to visit imprisoned opponents; prominent figure of civil society coalition National Front for the Defence of the Constitution Oumar Sylla, alias Foniké Mengué, who has been detained in Conakry prison since Sept 2020, 11 March refused to meet him, accusing him of playing into Condé’s hands.
Authorities continued to stifle dissent, and took steps, along with Sierra Leone, to diffuse border tensions. Court in Dixinn, Conakry region, 3 Feb rejected complaint by Cellou Dalein Diallo, leader of main opposition party Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG), against security forces’ occupation of UFDG’s headquarters since Oct; Diallo 18 Feb appealed decision. Dixinn court 8 Feb sentenced blogger and opposition figure Mamadi Condé alias “Madic 100 Frontières”, arrested days after Oct presidential election, to five years in prison for spreading “threats, violence and insults” including messages “of a racist or xenophobic nature”; opposition denounced politically motivated trial. Meanwhile, ruling party Rally for the Guinean People (RPG) faced internal dissension. In press conference, newly formed group of dissatisfied RPG members 12 Feb criticised party leadership for “systematically abandoning” their supporters; days later, group’s leader Ibrahima Doumbouya alleged security forces had followed and threatened him, and vowed to call for protests. NGO Amnesty International 2 Feb said authorities must investigate deaths in detention of at least four people, including three UFDG members, in last two months, and end wave of arrests targeting at least 400 opposition and civil society members across country since Oct 2020 election. After Sierra Leone’s president late Jan accused Guinean troops of regularly entering border village of Yenga, both govts 16 Feb signed framework agreement for cooperation; 18 Feb reopened border, which Guinea had closed ahead of presidential election in Oct 2020. Health Minister Rémy Lamah 13 Feb declared new Ebola outbreak in first such resurgence since 2013-2016 epidemic that left over 2,500 people dead; govt next day held emergency strategy meeting.
Authorities continued to use legal means to suppress dissent, while international pressure to halt repression mounted. Court in Dixinn, Conakry region, 13 Jan sentenced Souleymane Condé and Youssouf Dioubaté, members of opposition and civil society coalition National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), to one year in prison on charges of “production and dissemination of data likely to disrupt public order and safety”; FNDC next day said sentence aimed at silencing dissenting voices, denounced “dictatorial regime”. Mafanko court 28 Jan sentenced prominent FNDC leader Oumar Sylla, alias Foniké Mengué, to 11 months in prison on charges of “participation in an illegal gathering”. Meanwhile, crackdown on dissent drew international condemnation. U.S. 20 Jan expressed concern over govt’s “targeting of political opposition” and recent “death in detention of two opposition members”; move follows death in detention of opposition party Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea members Roger Bamba 17 Dec and Mamadou Oury Barry 16 Jan. EU 21 Jan called for independent investigation into Barry’s death. France 27 Jan called on govt to “shed light” on recent spate of arrests of opposition figures. Following Condé’s investiture in Dec, PM Kassory Fofana 15 Jan resigned along with govt; Condé immediately reinstated him.
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.
Govt launched wave of arrests as opposition continued to contest President Condé’s re-election. Oct presidential election runner-up Cellou Dalein Diallo and three other opposition candidates 1 Nov appealed against election results before Constitutional Court, citing irregularities including alleged ballot stuffing in Upper and Middle Guinea, harassment of opposition election observers and abuse of proxy voting; court 7 Nov rejected plea over “lack of evidence” and confirmed Condé’s re-election. Condé same day promised to end “disorder in Guinea”. In following days, police launched raids notably in pro-opposition neighbourhoods of capital Conakry, reportedly arresting scores, including Diallo’s Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea VP Ibrahima Chérif Bah and three other party officials 11-12 Nov; Diallo immediately accused Condé of seeking to “behead” his party. Condé 13 Nov denied “witch hunt” against opposition and expressed willingness for dialogue. Govt 22 Nov banned demonstrations, citing COVID-19 concerns. Security forces 25 Nov dispersed hundreds of Diallo supporters in Labé city (centre north), reportedly leaving several injured. Meanwhile, West Africa regional bloc ECOWAS 10 Nov congratulated Condé for his victory, while French President Macron 20 Nov refrained to do so, instead voicing concern over “grave” situation and deploring Condé amended constitution to “stay in power”.
Violence broke out following competing claims of victory in presidential election, leaving at least 21 dead, and could escalate amid post-electoral crisis. After 18 Oct vote went largely peacefully, opposition Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo next day claimed victory. Electoral commission immediately denounced announcement as “premature” and “void” and police 20 Oct blocked access to Diallo’s house in capital Conakry. In following days, violence flared across country. Notably, Diallo’s supporters 21 Oct clashed with security forces in Conakry, leaving at least three dead; same day clashed with incumbent President Condé’s supporters in southern Nzérékoré and Macenta cities, death toll unknown; unrest 23 Oct reportedly killed five in Conakry. Govt 22 Oct deployed troops in several areas. Electoral commission 24 Oct declared Condé winner with 59.5% of votes; Diallo immediately rejected results and vowed to take to street. Joint UN, African Union and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mission 25 Oct arrived in Conakry to mediate crisis; electoral commission VP and other commissioners same day denounced “massive fraud” and called for “resumption of election”. Ten opposition candidates 30 Oct called on supporters to resume demonstrations against Condé 3 Nov, same day vowed to challenge results before Constitutional Court. Prior to election day, ruling party Rally for the Guinean People (RPG) and UFDG supporters 1-4 Oct clashed in Siguiri and Kankan cities (both east), leaving several wounded. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet 7 Oct voiced concern over rising hate speech in lead-up to election and urged parties to refrain from stirring ethnic divisions. Meanwhile, attempted mutinies 16 Oct broke out in two military bases in Kindia city in west, leaving one commanding officer dead; in response, authorities reportedly killed around ten mutineers and arrested several others, and immediately imposed lockdown on Conakry’s Kaloum neighbourhood, where govt headquarters are located.
Tensions ran high over President Condé’s candidacy in Oct presidential election. Coalition of opposition parties and civil society groups National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) 1 Sept decried Condé’s candidacy in presidential election scheduled for 18 Oct as “outrageous and conflict-inducing”. Police same day dispersed anti-Condé meeting in Tanéné village, Dubréka prefecture, near capital Conakry, reportedly wounding 12. Condé 2 Sept reiterated he will run for third term. Rifts widened within FNDC over whether to boycott or participate in election. After leader of main opposition party Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) Cellou Dalein Diallo 6 Sept announced his candidacy, Union of Republican Forces President Sidya Touré 8 Sept said he did not support Diallo’s candidacy and would boycott elections alongside other opposition leaders; FNDC next day said opposition parties taking part in election would be automatically excluded from coalition. Constitutional Court 9 Sept declared eligibility of 12 presidential candidates including Condé, saying early 2020 constitutional reform reset his “term counter” to zero; Diallo’s candidacy also confirmed. After electoral commission 14 Sept published updated electoral register, opposition next day highlighted anomalies, including high number of registered voters in Condé’s stronghold of Kankan. Govt 16 Sept extended COVID-19 state of emergency for one month, banning gatherings of over 100 people, but campaigning kicked off 18 Sept. In address to supporters in Siguiri city (in Kankan region in east), Condé 22 Sept compared Oct vote to “warlike situation” in which all his “opponents have coalesced to fight [him]”. Police 29 Sept fired tear gas to disperse FNDC protesters in Conakry and reportedly arrested prominent FNDC leader Oumar Sylla, alias Foniké Mengué. Ruling party Rally for the Guinean People supporters 30 Sept reportedly attacked opposition UFDG campaign rally in Faranah city. Unidentified assailants same day threw stones at PM Fofana’s convoy near Dalaba city.
Political tensions deepened after ruling coalition nominated President Condé to run for re-election despite year-long protest movement against third term, raising risk of violent escalation ahead of vote scheduled for Oct. Democratic Coalition for Change in Continuity, comprising ruling party Rally for the Guinean People and its allies, 6 Aug nominated Condé to run for third term in presidential election scheduled for 18 Oct. Coalition of opposition parties and civil society groups National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), which over past year has led mobilisation against Condé’s third term, immediately condemned move. Amid rising fears of political unrest, Muslim leaders 7 Aug urged all parties to favour peace over violence; capital Conakry Archbishop Vincent Koulibaly 15 Aug reiterated plea and called for dialogue between stakeholders. U.S. embassy 17 Aug called on all sides to “refrain from violence … and engage in dialogue” and urged authorities to investigate all protest-related deaths since 2019. UN, African Union and regional body Economic Community of West African States representatives mid-Aug reportedly met with senior officials from ruling party, FNDC and electoral commission in Conakry in attempt to mediate between parties. FNDC 24 Aug announced resumption of protests in early Sept. Meanwhile, several opposition figures, including former allies of Condé, announced plans to run for election, while opposition party Union of Democrats for the Renaissance of Guinea 27 Aug said it will not participate, citing anomalies in voter registration. Condé 31 Aug confirmed he will seek third term. Court in Conakry 27 Aug acquitted FNDC activist Oumar Sylla alias Foniké Mengué of charges of “dissemination of false information”; Sylla was arrested in April after he called for protests and accused govt of killings, torture and arbitrary detention.
Amid political tensions over President Condé’s potential bid for re-election, demonstration turned violent and series of protests over living conditions broke out in several cities. Regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), African Union and UN representatives 3 July met with govt delegation in capital Conakry in attempt to break persistent deadlock between ruling party and opposition on framework of presidential election planned for Oct. Condé 8 July stated willingness to hold inclusive political dialogue with opposition. Meanwhile, coalition of opposition parties and civil society groups National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) resumed anti-Condé protests despite govt’s ban in context of COVID-19. Violent clashes between security forces and demonstrators 20 July left at least 20 injured in Conakry; FNDC accused authorities of using “weapons of war” against protesters, while govt blamed violence on “groups of hooligans”. FNDC 29 July called for new protest 6 Aug. NGOs Amnesty International and Tournons la Page (TLP) 17 July jointly called for immediate release of FNDC activists Oumar Sylla and Saikou Yaya Diallo, arrested respectively in April on charges of “diffusion of false information” and May on charges of “assault, violence, threats and public insults”, and accused authorities of trying “to strangle dissident voices” through “arbitrary detention and judicial persecution”; security forces 19 July reportedly summoned TLP coordinator to Conakry central police station. Protests over electricity cuts and lack of access to water turned violent: clashes between protesters and ruling party supporters left several injured in Siguiri city (north east) 14 July; security forces 21 July arrested 22 protesters in Kankan city (east) after govt reportedly deployed army there; following outcry from civil society, all 22 were released 29 July. Authorities mid-July eased COVID-19 curfew in Conakry and reopened air borders, also extended state of emergency into Aug.
Opposition stepped up pressure on President Condé ahead of presidential election, notably over allegations govt altered text of draft constitution after putting it to referendum in March. Coalition of opposition parties and civil society groups National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) 2 June filed complaint with regional bloc West African Economic Community (ECOWAS) against govt’s attempt to amend electoral code through new electoral bill; however, Parliament 18 June started to discuss bill. After lawyer late May revealed significant differences between text of draft constitution subjected to referendum in March and constitution enacted by Condé in April, opposition and civil society early June accused govt of forgery; notably, enacted text stipulates that all election candidates must belong to political party (while draft implied possibility of independent bids), and that state-controlled Supreme Council of the Judiciary will appoint Constitutional Court judges (instead of more independent Association of the Magistrates, as foreseen in initial draft). Constitutional Court 12 June rejected request submitted 4 June by group of 15 MPs to suspend constitution; opposition immediately threatened to bring case before ECOWAS. FNDC 15 June announced resumption of anti-govt protests – suspended due to COVID-19 – 8 July. Under pressure, Condé 19 June sacked Justice Minister Mamadou Lamine Fofana. Electoral commission same day proposed to hold presidential election 18 Oct. Amid COVID-19 pandemic, Condé 10 June denied reports on failing health; Parliament mid-June extended COVID-19 state of emergency for one month.
Deadly protests erupted amid mounting popular discontent over govt’s handling of COVID-19 crisis, while political tensions remained high following contested legislative elections and constitutional referendum in March. Amid COVID-19 outbreak, protests erupted 12 May in Coyah and Dubreka prefectures over alleged police racketeering at roadblocks erected to restrict access to capital Conakry; clashes between protesters and security forces reportedly left six killed. Demonstrators protesting against recurring electricity blackouts same day clashed with security forces in Kamsar area near mining city of Boké, leaving one protester dead. President Condé 15 May announced one-month extension of COVID-19 state of emergency, easing of curfew rules in Conakry, and lifting of curfew in rural areas. Authorities continued to detain members of coalition of opposition parties and civil society groups National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), which opposes new constitution on grounds that it could allow President Condé to run for third term. Authorities 12 May charged FNDC senior official Saïkou Yaya Diallo, arrested 7 May, with “assault, violence, threats and public insults”. Leader of main opposition party Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) Cellou Dalein Diallo 17 May said security forces had arbitrarily arrested eight UFDG officials in Kégnéko town, Mamou prefecture 14 May, and urged population to mobilise against Condé. Authorities 26 May acknowledged for first time that 30 people had died in clashes in south-eastern town of N’Zérékoré following March votes, and blamed FNDC for stoking violence.
Opposition and civil society accused President Condé of exploiting COVID-19 crisis to silence opposition and tighten his grip on power following highly contested constitutional referendum and legislative elections in March. National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), coalition of opposition parties and civil society groups opposed to constitutional referendum, 7 April denounced wave of arrests of political opponents since govt late March announced COVID-19 state of emergency. Notably, authorities 4 April reportedly detained three militants from main opposition party Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) in Koundara area in north west; security forces 5 April reportedly arrested UFDG supporter in capital Conakry. FNDC 7 April threatened to resume anti-govt protests despite its earlier commitment to observe truce amid COVID-19 crisis. FNDC 29 April called on International Criminal Court to open investigation into alleged crimes against humanity by govt in recent months. Electoral commission 1 April announced ruling party Rally for the Guinean People had won 79 out of 114 seats in National Assembly in March legislative elections. After Constitutional Court 3 April said 89.76% voted in favour of constitution changes in March referendum, Condé 6 April promulgated new constitution, which opposition fears could allow him to run for third term. Condé same day announced €340mn emergency plan to mitigate economic impact of COVID-19 crisis amid mounting discontent; notably, taxi drivers late March-early April went on strike in Conakry after govt limited to three number of passengers per taxi. Condé 13 April announced extension of COVID-19 state of emergency until 15 May.