CrisisWatch Guinea

Unchanged Situation

Junta kept tight control over political parties and media, while forcing aside former military ally; Russia sought further influence over Conakry.

Junta tightened control over political parties and media. Govt 19 June began evaluation of political parties’ compliance with rules on their activities including financing, only one year after last assessment; in lead up, opposition Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) VP Fodé Oussou Fofana 6 June described process as “way of keeping busy, of distracting, of finding alibis to avoid getting to essential issues” and voiced fears govt might ban main opposition parties, while UFDG leader and former PM Cellou Dalein Diallo same day expressed doubts about junta’s intention to restore constitutional order. Media regulatory body 13 June suspended two of its commissioners after they accused President Col. Doumbouya of giving money to media owners to gain favours; latter same day filed defamation complaint against suspended commissioners. Against backdrop of restrictions on press freedom, Guinean Social Forces Forum, comprising civil society actors, 22 June called for civil disobedience and strike action until restoration of media rights and release of jailed journalists.

Authorities imprisoned former army chief of staff Sadiba Koulibaly, who later died. Military court 14 June sentenced Koulibaly, previously prominent Doumbouya ally, to five years in prison for “desertion and illegal possession of weapons” and removed him from army; junta same day dismissed 40 officers and non-commissioned officers for desertion. Govt 25 June announced Koulibaly had died in prison of cardiac arrest, but lawyers’ union 27 June called for independent investigation as much remained unclear about circumstances surrounding death. Case raised speculation that ruling elite may be concerned about internal discord and threats to Doumbouya’s position.

Govt enhanced ties with Russia. Russian FM Lavrov 3 June began Africa tour with visit to capital Conakry, meeting Doumbouya and FM Kouyaté; both sides expressed commitment to strengthening security, diplomatic and economic cooperation, although Doumbouya also said “Guinea remains an open, sovereign country that cooperates with everyone”.

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