República de Guinea

Relatives of victims of the September 2009 massacre gather inside Conakry's new courthouse on 28 September 2022, for the opening of the trial. © Cellou Binani / AFP

On 28 September 2009, when opponents gathered peacefully in the stadium of Guinea’s capital Conakry to demonstrate against the presidential candidacy of Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, the security forces brutally repressed the gathering. Among other abuses, 156 people were killed, 109 women were raped and sexually assaulted. The trial for these crimes did not start in Guinea until 13 years later, on 28 September 2022, involving former military and government officials of the then junta, the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD).

The decision to hold the trial was taken in July 2022, two months before it was due to begin, by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, the country's new strongman who overthrew President Alpha Condé in a coup d'état on 5 September 2021.…  Seguir leyendo »

A sunglasses seller walks past a billboard showing coup leader Col. Mamady Doumbouya in Conakry, Guinea, on Sept. 11. Doumbouya’s special forces seized President Alpha Condé in a Sept. 5 coup, promising to form a unity government. (John Wessels/AFP/Getty Images)

Less than a year into his controversial third term in office, Guinea’s president, Alpha Condé, was ousted last week in a military coup. Citing rising corruption and poor economic performance, coup leader Col. Mamady Doumbouya, once a confidant of the president, promised a “national unity government” and a “new era for governance and economic development.”

Doumbouya’s pledges suggest he may have been listening to the complaints of ordinary Guineans. An Afrobarometer survey in November/December 2019 signaled that Guineans were increasingly unhappy about mounting corruption and economic mismanagement in their country.

But the findings also show that Guineans are resiliently pro-election, pro-democracy and anti-authoritarian.…  Seguir leyendo »

Côte D’Ivoire president Alassane Ouattara (right) and Guinean counterpart Alpha Condé at the opening of the 2017 International Conference on the Emergence of Africa. Photo by SIA KAMBOU/AFP via Getty Images.

It was not so long ago that West Africa appeared close to setting a region-wide limit of two consecutive presidential terms of office, as a major testament to its vibrant multi-party political culture, diverse media, and almost universal adherence to the fundamentals of genuine political choice.

As the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) became increasingly confident and professional in monitoring electoral registers and the other technical essentials of democracy, the underlying resilience of West African political pluralism came to the fore - but now an outbreak of presidential ‘third-termism’ is putting all that progress at risk.

Through a much-criticised referendum, Guinea’s constitutional rules were successfully changed by its president Alpha Condé so he could seek a third successive stint in power - and with a longer term of six years instead of five.…  Seguir leyendo »

Police officers walk toward demonstrators during mass protests after preliminary results were released in Conakry, Guinea, on Oct. 23. (John Wessels/AFP via Getty Images)

Some Americans may be wringing their hands about the possibility President Trump might refuse to leave office if he loses the election. While that scenario would be unprecedented in the United States, Africa has some experience with presidents who refuse to cede power — like the current election standoff in Guinea.

Contested elections in Africa at times erupt into bloodshed. Presidents who reach their term limits step down only about half the time without trying to change the constitution — those who attempt to stay in power nearly always succeed, despite public outcry. Governments tend to respond to electoral protests with violent repression — as was the case in Burundi and Congo in recent years.…  Seguir leyendo »

L’année en cours aura été une année électorale chargée en Afrique de l’Ouest. Après le Togo et le Nigeria, la Guinée et la Côte d’Ivoire ont organisé des élections présidentielles en octobre dernier. Le « coup KO » annoncé dans les slogans de campagne a eu lieu, et les présidents sortants ont été largement réélus dès le premier tour : Alassane Ouattara en Côte d’Ivoire avec 83,6 pour cent des voix, et Alpha Condé en Guinée avec 57,8 pour cent.

Pays aux trajectoires politiques différentes, la Guinée et la Côte d’Ivoire font aujourd’hui face aux mêmes défis. Bien qu’ayant connu des élections meurtrières par le passé, ces deux voisins ont connu cette fois-ci des scrutins calmes ou avec des violences limitées.…  Seguir leyendo »

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.…  Seguir leyendo »

El brote de ébola que comenzó el año pasado en Guinea, Sierra Leona y Liberia, tres de los cuatro países de la Unión del Río Mano, es el más grave registrado desde que en 1976 se diagnosticó esa enfermedad por primera vez en el África central. Las consecuencias de la epidemia han sido devastadoras y han puesto en entredicho los importantes avances socioeconómicos de nuestros tres países después de decenios de conflictos e inestabilidad.

Hasta ahora, esa región ha registrado un total de 25.791 casos y 10.689 muertes, casi diez veces el número de muertes de todas las epidemias de ébola combinadas.…  Seguir leyendo »

La epidemia de ébola en el África occidental está destruyendo vidas, diezmando comunidades y dejando huérfanos a niños a un ritmo que no se había visto desde las brutales guerras civiles de esa región que se acabaron hace más de un decenio. En Liberia, el 60 por ciento de los mercados están cerrados ahora; en Sierra Leona, sólo una quinta parte de los 10.000 pacientes de VIH que están en tratamientos antivirales siguen recibiéndolos y el Gobierno de Guinea está comunicando un desfase financiero de 220 millones de dólares debido a la crisis. Si no se contiene pronto el brote, la mayoría de los beneficios económicos y sociales logrados desde que se restableció la paz en Liberia y Sierra Leona y desde que se inició la transición democrática de Guinea podrían perderse.…  Seguir leyendo »

Less than seven months ago I was invited to the G8 in London by David Cameron to make the case for tackling corruption through transparency. I participated because it was clear the world's wealthiest leaders finally understood that to deal with this complex problem, an international response was needed. Cameron said: "We need to make sure that mineral wealth in developing countries becomes a blessing, not a curse. So at the G8 I will push for greater transparency alongside more open trade."

Few countries have experienced that curse more than Guinea. For generations, internal corruption and a lack of governance and democracy allowed a few predator companies to steal the assets of our people with impunity.…  Seguir leyendo »

Revelations about the hotel housekeeper who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault suggest that she embellished claims of abuse to receive asylum, fudged her tax returns, had ties to people with criminal backgrounds, had unexplained deposits in her bank account and changed the account of the encounter she gave investigators. Yet those who would rush to judge her should consider the context.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s accuser is from Guinea, also the home country of Amadou Diallo, the street peddler who was shot to death in the doorway of his Bronx apartment building by four New York City police officers in 1999. Guineans leave their country in large numbers, partly because of grinding poverty; 70 percent live on less than $1.25 a day , despite the fact that Guinea has almost half of the world’s bauxite (from which aluminum is made), as well as iron, gold, uranium, diamonds and offshore oil.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le 28 septembre 2009, vers 14 heures, aux alentours du stade de Conakry, des dizaines de femmes, adolescentes, mères de famille ou femmes âgées, erraient telles des zombies, totalement nues, dégoulinantes de sang, de sperme, de boue. Elles faisaient peur : l'air hagard, elles marchaient avec difficulté, tant leurs hanches, leur bas-ventre et leurs jambes n'étaient que douleur. Elles crevaient de soif. Elles fuyaient sans savoir pourquoi, puisqu'elles étaient intimement convaincues d'être déjà mortes.

Un grand nombre d'entre elles ont été recueillies par les habitants des quartiers Dixinn et Sig Madina, qui les ont cachées plusieurs jours durant. Ils les ont lavées, nourries, mais, avant toute chose, leur ont fourni un pagne pour couvrir leur nudité.…  Seguir leyendo »

En ce début d'année, la Guinée a une chance historique de sortir de la spirale infernale imposée par le système autocratique instauré sous le général Lansana Conté et qui s'est perpétué, de façon alarmante, jusqu'aux massacres de civils et viols collectifs de femmes sans défense perpétrés le 28 septembre 2009.

Force est de constater qu'un an après avoir suscité un réel espoir en prenant le pouvoir, sans effusion de sang, dans un contexte de vide constitutionnel, le Conseil national pour la démocratie et le développement (CNDD) n'a tenu aucun de ses engagements démocratiques. Il a plutôt jeté le pays dans le chaos, et l'a mis au ban de la communauté internationale.…  Seguir leyendo »

La tentative d'assassinat jeudi 3 décembre sur le capitaine Dadis Camara par son aide de camp Aboubacar "Toumba" Diakité illustre clairement l'implosion qui menace l'armée guinéenne et le risque de chaos qui pèse sur le pays, et qui pourrait affecter la région tout entière. La médiation Compaoré doit immédiatement reprendre les pourparlers avec le nouveau chef de la junte à Conakry pour négocier le transfert du pouvoir à une autorité civile, qui devra être soutenue par une mission militaire régionale.

Ces dernières années, l'Afrique de l'Ouest semblait se diriger vers la stabilité. Au Liberia et en Sierra Leone, la sortie de crise semble acquise.…  Seguir leyendo »

Encore une fois, l'armée a tiré sur la foule à Conakry ! Les journaux n'en feront pas leurs gros titres : là-bas, du sang dans les rues, ce n'est pas une information, juste une anecdote, pour ne pas dire une manie. Eh bien non, les balles qui crépitent sur le corps de mes compatriotes méritent d'être entendues. Les images des blessés et des morts, les photos des jeunes filles violées méritent d'être vues.

Le drame de mon pays ne doit pas rester sans visage, sans nom, sans sens, sans trace. Il doit gronder, enfler, et se soulever comme les ouragans de chez nous pour réveiller cette satanée "conscience collective" si prompte à se voiler la face et à ronfler dès que l'odeur de la tragédie dépasse certaines frontières.…  Seguir leyendo »

Guineans were relieved when there was a bloodless coup last December after the death of the longtime president, Lansana Conté. Not only had the feared battle for succession among army factions been averted, but the coup leader, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, vowed to root out corruption and hold elections within 60 days. Better yet, he promised not to run. "I have never had the ambition of power," he said at the time.

When Dadis recently reversed his promise not to run in the presidential election, now set for January, people began to take to the streets. On Monday thousands of people, who had lost hope in Guinea's long-repressive government, protested in the West African capital of Conakry.…  Seguir leyendo »