- Guinean authorities have been warned to work for a democratic transition alongside civil society and political parties and get more international help to avoid a counter-revolution in the country.
A report "Change on Hold," issued by the International Crisis Group examines the risk of violent confrontation and new bloodshed in a country that is as fragile as ever.
After two months of bloody but popular rioting, Guinea's bed-ridden leader Lansana Conté bowed down and agreed to surrender some of his powers by appointed an independent Premier in the person of Lansana Kouyaté [a seasoned diplomat and administrator] in February this year.
But the Crisis Group warns that the popular movement that brought Kouyaté to power is splintering. It fears that it might give the "discredited President Conté and his clan opportunity to regain control."
The Guinean Premier is asked to urgently demonstrate his seriousness about changing the operations of the government by working with civil society and political parties within the country.
He also needs help from the regional economic grouping [ECOWAS], donors and two states with ties to the unreformed army, France and the U.S.
"Initial enthusiasm for Kouyaté has been replaced by doubt over the capabilities and will of the new government to break with the Conté system and seriously tackle the daily economic difficulties", observes Carolyn Norris, Crisis Group's West Africa Project Director.
Armed Guinean soldiers killed closed to 183 people and wounded over 1,500 others in January and February uprisings. The protestors felt they had won a significant victory when Conté agreed to name an independent Prime Minister, but they are disappointed about Kouyaté's failure to demonstrate to break away from the governing style of the past.
The Crisis Group has accused Conté of exploiting popular disappointment to divide the revolution's main actors in an effort to regain full power. Since he remains the constitutional leader, he can easily block Kouyaté and stall government action, Norris concurs, calling the organisation of a credible legislative elections in the next six months as a first step to dismantle Conté's system through democratic means.
Kouyaté is advised to broaden his government's base by setting up a national dialogue to agree on the reform agenda, restructure his cabinet, ensure his actions are transparent and publicly explain his priorities.
Guinea is urged to ensure the funding for an independent commission of inquiry into the violent protests, which will bring an end to impunity. It must also open dialogue on security reform in order to contain the army.
The Kouyaté regime is asked to contact ECOWAS to support with security forces in support of the commission of inquiry and a military mission to observe Guinena security forces during the elections. While the donor community is asked to provide additional funding for the polls, the group appels to France and the U.S. to help train the police and gendarmerie as well as supply them with equipment.
"Without such measures Guinea's political crisis will not end, and increased violence could set the stage for the discredited Conté regime to be fully restored, or a coup", says François Grignon, Crisis Group's Africa Program Director.
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