- The looming fatal clashes between striking police and army did not deter Guinea's new Prime Minister, Ahmed Tidiane Souare, from naming a new cabinet to steer the affairs of the crisis-ridden West African country.
President Lansana Conté last month appointed Mr Souare, replacing Lansana Kouyaté whose firing had sparked tensions in Guinea.
According to a Presidential Decree, the new cabinet consists of 34 Ministers and 2 General Secretaries. The composition of the new cabinet was unique in the sense that the Ministries of Defence and Justice have been assigned to the loyal political allies of the aging President who was brought to power in a 1984 coup.
Apart from retaining 10 Ministers of Mr Kouyaté's government, including the Economy and Mining, 3 opposition officials were also for the first time appointed as Ministers of National Reconciliation, Solidarity and Institutional Relationships. The opposition also filled the Ministry of Animal Protection.
Some opposition parties doubted the competence of the new cabinet, which according to them, was filled with a "bunch of incompetent people."
Over the years, Guinea had been known for making international headlines on violent protests over soaring prices of goods and basic services. Last year, more than 120 protesters were shot dead by the army during weeks of protests.
The appointment of a consensus Prime Minister in the person of Lansana Kouyaté had brought peace and stability in the country. However, Guinean soldiers were on mutiny over unpaid salary arrears as soon as Kouyaté was removed from office last month.
The government had compromised with mutinous soldiers by paying their salary arrears. But it has now got another battle to conquer with police and teachers unions who also staged strike over pay and bad working conditions.
Two people were killed and seven others sustained gunshot wounds during clashes between striking police and the army last week. During the clashes on Tuesday at a police camp was precipitated by the arrest of two soldiers on Monday. Two soldiers were killed in the exchange gun fire involving the two sides.
Despite endowed with huge natural resources, majority of Guineans still below the poverty line mainly because of rampant official corruption and embezzlement.
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