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conceptual mapping >  building peace  > Guinea : change or chaos

International Crisis Group

Guinea : change or chaos

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> Africa Report n°121, 14 February 2007

The 12 February 2007 declaration of siege and establishment of a permanent curfew and martial law by President Lansana Conté after three days of renewed violence has brought Guinea to the verge of disaster. Towns throughout the country rallied to the general strike launched on 10 January, turning it into an unprecedented popular protest against the Conté regime. The repression of the demonstrations - over 100 dead in total since January - and the nomination of Eugène Camara, a close Conté associate - as prime minister have shown the regime will do anything to ensure its survival. The international community, which has been largely quiet and absent, needs to react urgently to help produce real change if chaos that could well spread beyond Guinea’s borders is to be prevented.

Weakened by illness, Conté clings to his privileges, showing more interest in his extensive agricultural estates than the fate of the country. Receiving conflicting advice from sycophants obsessed by presidential succession and safeguarding their own material interests, he has responded to the rebellious trade unions with a mixture of carelessness, clumsiness and violence. His consent on 27 January to delegate powers to a prime minister who would be head of government and the decree he issued four days later setting out the powers of that office do not mean he will actually withdraw and that the system of rule Guineans have rejected will end soon. Nor do they remove the question of responsibility for the January and February slaughter of unarmed demonstrators.

document de référence rédigé le : 1 February 2007

date of on-line publication : 5 April 2007

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