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Guinea Needs Consensus on Poll Position if Election Race is to Pass Peacefully
Guinea Needs Consensus on Poll Position if Election Race is to Pass Peacefully
Report 195 / Africa

几内亚湾:新的危险区

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在过去的十年内,几内亚湾已成为世界上最危险的海域之一。海事不安全是一个重要的区域性问题,会影响这一战略经济区的发展,短期内会威胁海上贸易,长期来说将威胁沿海国家的稳定。这个问题最初让该地区各国政府措手不及,现在各国政府已经意识到了这个问题,联合国也正在就此组织一次首脑峰会。在东部非洲海岸,暴力跨国犯罪造成了海洋经济和沿海国家的不稳定。要避免类似问题,几内亚湾国家必须填补其领海的安全真空,并携手应对危险。几内亚湾国家必须敦促中部非洲国家经济共同体(中非经共体,ECCAS)和西非国家经济共同体(西非经共体,ECOWAS)进行动态合作,带头促进安全并采纳一种既提高安全又改善经济治理的新方式。

最近在几内亚湾发现的海上油气储量提升了该地区的地缘战略重要性。在长期忽视其领海事务之后,几内亚湾国家现在意识到了这一弱点。国际方面,除了西方国家对该地区重新产生兴趣外,新兴国家也产生了类似兴趣。在这种情况下,海上犯罪活动的加剧使得各国对该地区的集体关注度上升,而在过去几十年中,该地区有关主权和领土控制的问题仅限于在陆面上。

尼日利亚的尼日尔河三角洲地区是最初的海上犯罪中心。几十年来,尽管该地区出产石油,却反而很贫困。随着社会紧张和环境污染的加剧,石油收入在很大程度上仅仅只让中央政府、石油公司和地方精英获利。被排除在体制外的民众开始诉诸暴力进行反抗。为了获得哪怕是一小部分的石油财富,他们被迫绕过国家,组织非法活动,包括抽取原油,秘密提炼燃料并进行非法交易。石油产业的价值不断上升,使得这类非法活动频发,经济犯罪蔓延。

几内亚湾国家的海洋政策很薄弱且总体而言不完善,加之他们彼此之间缺乏合作,使得犯罪网络从事的犯罪活动更加多样化,并逐渐从尼日利亚沿海扩展到了公海。犯罪活动不仅影响着石油行业,而且形式也越来越多样化,包括了海盗活动以及越来越大胆的、精心策划的海上袭击。犯罪集团学习得很快,他们趁着该地区的社会政治形势充满问题,将犯罪踪迹扩大到喀麦隆、赤道几内亚、圣多美和普林西比、贝宁和多哥等国家的沿海。

几内亚湾国家和西方国家已经摆脱了最初的措手不及的状态,正在探索处理这个问题的最佳方式,以防止造成更大范围的不稳定。各国和区域性组织纷纷采取了特别行动,并制定策略来提高安全。那些受影响最严重的国家打算成立海军和增加沿海警务资源,希望以此来震慑犯罪分子。

在区域层面上,中非经共体在其和平与安全政策的框架内建立了一个区域海事安全中心,还组织了联合训练演习。然而,各国却发现要组织联合出资或者协调行动不是一件简单的事。海事政策才刚刚起步,还只具有象征性,各国也无法在海上保持持续的存在。就西非经共体而言,海事合作仍处于起步阶段,政治紧张局势和邻国对尼日利亚的不信任都对合作造成了阻碍。

在跨区域层面上,中非经共体和西非经共体之间的合作将允许地区巡逻队跨越海上边界实施追捕权。然而,区域间关于合作的讨论才刚刚启动,政治紧张局势对促进务实合作的努力又造成了障碍。与此同时,在该地区有经济利益的西方势力(美国,法国,英国)和新兴国家(巴西,中国,印度,南非)为协助区域行动而提供了财政支持和安全方面的专业知识。

区域合作的制度化和国际社会的倡议增多并不能掩盖一个事实,那就是几内亚湾犯罪活动增多主要是由于治理不善。该地区的大多数国家已经无法控制在其海域以及国际水域的经济活动,也无法保证其沿海的发展。这种集体性的失败为犯罪网络创造了一个重要机会,当地群众的需求和怨恨成为了滋养它们的温床。扭转这一趋势需要采取一系列紧急措施:要实施改革以提高经济和安全部门的治理,实行全面有效的海洋公共政策,以及进行实际的、不仅仅只是意向声明的地区合作。长期的应对措施是必要的,因为尽管海盗活动是最近才在该地区出现,但是其根源却非常深。

达喀尔/内罗毕⁄布鲁塞尔,2012年12月12日

Op-Ed / Africa

Guinea Needs Consensus on Poll Position if Election Race is to Pass Peacefully

Originally published in The Guardian

Guinea’s history of electoral violence may not be over. Tension is building around the presidential poll scheduled for this October and the local elections planned for early next year. The opposition – principally Cellou Dalein Diallo's Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea and Sidya Touré’s Union of Republican Forces – is concerned about possible fraud. Threatened protests should be taken seriously: in 2013, about 100 people died during electoral unrest.

To set the stage for a comprehensive dialogue about the voting system, the local elections should be rescheduled for this year, so that they take place before the presidential ballot. International actors, in particular the UN Office for West Africa and the EU, would then need to support that dialogue and ensure its results are implemented.

Unlike other African countries with contentious electoral processes, Guinea’s problem is not one of an incumbent president delaying a vote or trying for an unconstitutional new term. The opposition's quarrel is with the order of the two elections. They are convinced that the local authorities, whose mandate formally expired in 2010, are completely under the president’s control.

These local officials, some of whom have been replaced by administrative appointees in constituencies where the opposition has weight, are said to have been responsible for a variety of disenfranchisement schemes in pro-opposition areas during the 2013 legislative elections. They have also been accused of massaging the vote in pro-government areas.

The opposition fears a repeat in the presidential contest unless earlier local polls give them a better chance to get fair play.

Before agreeing to the 2013 legislative elections, the opposition had insisted that the next round of local elections be held well before the presidential ballot, in early 2014. This was written into an annex of an agreement resulting from the 2013 political dialogue, but the government did not sign the document and now disputes the commitment.

Pro-government politicians do not support the schedule change (and possible delay of the presidential vote), fearing the opposition would claim there was a constitutional vacuum, as some opposition figures have threatened. But contemporary Guinea has experienced many exceptional situations – three- and five-year delays for the legislative and local elections respectively, for example. This would not cause it to crumble. In informal discussions, some opposition leaders said they would agree to a reasonable delay in the presidential election were it necessary in order to hold the local vote first.

The controversy, however, goes well beyond the calendar. The opposition has also repeatedly challenged the electoral registry, the map of constituencies, the composition and functioning of the electoral commission and the constitutional court. Not to mention the conditions for diaspora voting, the neutrality of prefects and governors, and much more. Even the recent population census is disputed: the opposition says the authorities inflated results in pro-government areas, in order to prepare to justify a forthcoming increase in pro-government voters there.

Reliable observation missions (particularly the EU’s) noted a long list of problems in the 2010 and 2013 elections. In 2013, for instance, the number of 18-year-old voters registered was unusually high in some pro-government areas, as was the level of participation and the number of voting stations. The number of polling stations and votes invalidated on procedural grounds was correspondingly low. In the closely disputed swing state of Guinée Forestière, the results from more than 180 polling stations were cancelled without explanation.

Some or all of the opposition claims may be false or exaggerated, but why take the chance over a few months’ change in the electoral calendar? As Crisis Group wrote in December 2014, a consensus on arrangements would offer the best chance to avoid an escalation from local incidents fuelled by political affiliations that function largely along ethnic lines.

Such a consensus would be all the more valuable because worrying rumours and suspicions are being fed by other matters, including the Ebola epidemic and a handful of assassinations and attempted assassinations of politicians and administrators. The opposition’s spokesperson, Aboubacar Sylla, claims he was shot at on 4 April, for example. While President Alpha Condé has done a good job of reining in the military and other security forces, sustained troubles could put these important achievements at risk and further poison relations between the country’s communities.

The government called for dialogue on 26 March. The opposition responded that there had been two such dialogues in 2013-14; the authorities simply needed to implement the conclusions reached then. It is up to the government to take the first step by asking the electoral commission to schedule the local elections before the presidential (with a reasonable three- to six-month interval between them). This would build confidence and could pave the way for a dialogue covering the other pending electoral issues. In turn, the opposition should commit to that dialogue and produce a detailed, realistic and time-sensitive assessment of what it considers essential.

In all this, international engagement is essential. In 2013, European observers stayed several nights at a key tallying centre in Conakry to guarantee results would not be tampered with. That is how tense the situation has been, and why an international presence is so essential.

President Condé initially excluded such missions for this year, but he has changed his position: the authorities have approached the EU for observers, and the UN is due to dispatch a mission this month to review electoral preparations. The new secretary general of the International Organisation of la Francophonie has visited Conakry. These are welcome moves. International partners will need to develop a solid coordinating mechanism, however, to prevent Guinean actors playing them off against each other.