Guinea: the military launch a crucial consultation for the reestablishment of civilian power

The soldiers who took power in Guinea on Tuesday opened four days of all-out consultations to define the content of a transition supposed to bring civilians back to the head of the country, on a date still unknown.

The participants came out of the first sessions at the People’s Palace, seat of the dissolved Parliament, without any details on the architecture or the duration of this transition.

“The only valid calendar is that of the Guinean people who have suffered so much”, declared the head of the junta, Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya on national television, the only one authorized to film the meetings behind closed doors several hours before.

He expressed his desire for an “inclusive” approach consisting of collecting proposals from as many people as possible and involving them in the transition.

He also chastised the political class present for what he called the “mistakes of the past”, including the army in his reproaches.

“There are some among us in this room who were already ministers, prime ministers, senior executives, etc., even though most of the victims (of violence) in recent years were not even born yet,” a- he thundered. “We will not tolerate any calendar, no individual political agenda […] We will not tolerate any individual or partisan political calculation. “

The junta will not accept either “any overflow, any disorder in the proceedings”, he warned.

In a large room entirely surrounded by his hooded men, automatic weapon in hand, the commander of the special forces, seated on the platform in front of another row of soldiers, listened to the interventions of religious dignitaries, nodding his head and taking notes, without engaging in dialogue.

Men in civilian clothes kept tight surveillance on the assistance and on any cell phones left on, despite instructions, to break the closed door.

“We are in a large flight (long-haul) plane piloted by Colonel Doumbouya, so he asked us as religious leaders, as fathers, as old men, what we think he (must) do for Guinea without derailment […]. We promised to go and consult with us, Muslims and Christians, ”to make proposals to the new authorities, said the Grand Imam of Conakry, Hadj Mamadou Saliou Camara, when he left.

After the party leaders and religious leaders will follow one another with the putschists until Friday, civil society, foreign diplomats, bosses of mining companies and unions.

Several participants found Mr. Doumbouya “unifying” and attentive, but reported that he had not given any details on the coming transition.

“” Inclusion “, he insisted a lot on this word”, underlined the ex-Prime Minister Sidya Touré, one of the leaders of the opposition to the ex-president Alpha Condé. Mr. Touré spoke of a “beginning that can be accepted”.

“It was a first contact, and it must be taken as such”, abounded a former minister of Mr. Condé, Papa Koly Kourouma, estimating that other meetings would be necessary to lead to “more consistent proposals” .

International attention

This crucial phase opens in complete uncertainty about the junta’s plans and its ability to overcome a multitude of major obstacles, whether it is the dilapidation of the political system, the multiplicity of particular interests, possible resentment. or even reputedly pervasive corruption.

The putsch, which swept away in a few hours, at the presumed price of ten or twenty deaths, the regime of Alpha Condé, aroused scenes of jubilation among Guineans exasperated by poverty, the grabbing of the incomes of vast mineral resources, patronage and repression of freedoms.

The junta dissolved the government and institutions, abolished the Constitution, replaced ministers, governors and prefects with administrators and soldiers.

She freed dozens of prisoners of conscience, removed roadblocks in neighborhoods favorable to the opposition, pledged to crack down on abuses by security forces and appointed a general governor of Conakry. She promised to refrain from any political “witch hunts”.

Lieutenant-Colonel Doumbouya has so far said nothing about the possible content of this transition, its duration, what role the military would play in it, or how elections would be organized.

The international community, worried about the stability of Guinea and the contagion of accomplished military facts, after a putsch under similar conditions, in neighboring Mali in August 2020, is closely following this consultation.

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