Tension persisted between govt and opposition over results of municipal elections held in Feb, but violence decreased. Security forces 10 Dec and 13 Dec dispersed opposition protests in capital Conakry demanding better governance and justice for people killed in recent protests. President of opposition party Union of Republican Forces (UFR) Sidya Touré 11 Dec resigned as high representative of President Condé, saying he had not achieved his ends. Security forces 3-4 Dec used tear gas in Conakry to disperse students protesting against teachers’ strike and paralysis of education system. Students demonstrated again 18 Dec in Conakry. Villagers of Massala and Fanafanfakö in Siguiri area 16 Dec clashed over ownership of gold mine, at least eleven injured.
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