- At last, Guinea's consensus Premier, Lansana Kouyaté, appointed a new cabinet on Wednesday. Interestingly, the new line-up is without a single minister from the former regime headed by the bed-ridden Guinean President, indicating Mr Kouyaté had great freedom in forming his cabinet.
According to Guinea national television, the consensus Prime Minister endorsed the appointment of 19 new ministers and three secretaries of state.
Mr Kouyaté said the new government is dedicated to public service, protection of national interest as well as upholding democracy. Believing that justice and respect for the rule of law are the basis of harmony, the Guinean PM said this will be the guiding principle of the new regime.
The appointment of a new government has been a key demand of the unionists and opposition strikers in Guinea. But the question that now arises is whether this will seal the country's numerous social, political and administrative problems from proliferating.
While the opposition greeted the news with delight, unionists prefer to remain economical in their comments, arguing that they will not hesitate to remove the new Kouyaté-led regime from office if they fail to meet their expectation.
The good thing about the new government is that it contains Guinea's premier league of economists and technocrats capable of bailing out the country from plunging further into economic or administrative crisis that bred weeks of deadly strikes by the civilian population.
And the appointment of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Coordinator for Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, Ousame Dore, to the rank of Finance and Economic Affairs Minister clearly speaks for itself that Mr Kouyaté means business.
But the uphill task of his government is to win the war against poverty by creating jobs, reduce the high cost of living and basic services for its citizens. Prime Minister Kouyaté, a charismatic career diplomat and administrator who sailed the leadership ladder after a proposal by the unions and opposition leaders, said his main priority has to do with the creation of jobs.
Sensitive to the increasing spate of entrenched officialisation of corruption in the country, the Guinean government has created the Economic and Financial Control, Ethics and Transparency Ministry purposely to wage crusade against the menace that is eating the coffers of a country that has huge deposits of the world's bauxite.
The Guinean PM stressed the prevalence of transparency, honesty and discipline in the country because his government's first duty is to face the reality. He said the biggest challenges that the 19 newly appointed ministers will face is to promote good governance, social justice, peace and unity, among others issues.
"The catastrophic situation facing the country demands us to commit ourselves a new approach based on a radical break with old political practices," he said. Mr Kouyaté also paid homage to over hundreds of strikers killed during nationwide strikes in January and February this year.
Guinean unionists have already gone abroad with their country's crisis. They are currently in Brussels, Belgium, where they held meetings with their counterparts of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) on Tuesday. The meeting agreed a national conference whose theme would be reconstruction and reconciliation in Conakry in May this year. Stakeholders, development partners and officials from the AU, ECOWAS, EU, among others, are to attend the conference.
"The unions' success in securing the appointment of the Prime Minister last month is an important step forward in the reconstruction of the country. But the work is not yet finished and it is essential that the largest numbers possible mobilise to ensure a definitive end to the crisis that has been devastating Guinea for far too long," the ITUC scribe, Guy Ryder, declared in a statement today.
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