Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Guinea News Bulletin: Jean Marie Dore of Forces Vives Appointed Prime Minister

Wednesday, January 27, 2010
06:11 Mecca time, 03:11 GMT

Guinea appoints civilian PM

Camara signed a pact agreeing for an interim government to hold democratic elections

Guinea has sworn in a civilian prime minister as a transitional government has taken power in the latest step towards democratic elections in the West African country.

Jean-Marie Dore, said he wanted to lead the transition administration to "free, transparent and credible elections" and would seek an overhaul of the military, which took power in a coup after the death of the president in 2008.

"[Democratic elections are] indeed the required path for our country to attain stability," Dore said at an inauguration ceremony on Tuesday.

He called on General Sekouba Konate, the president of the transition government, to "reorganise and restructure the military with the support of the international community".

Dore's appointment as prime minister comes less than two months after Moussa Dadis Camara, the Guinean military leader that led the coup, was badly wounded in an assassination attempt.

Earlier this month, Camara agreed to stay in neighbouring Burkina Faso and not return to Guinea while he recuperates after being shot in the head by a former aide.

Konate, the defence minister, assumed control of the country after the attempt on Camara's life.

Military coup

Camara's National Council for Democracy and Development [CNDD] sparked a political crisis when it took power in a military coup.

He promised to hold elections within the year and address rampant corruption in the desperately poor country.

However, suggestions that Camara did not intend to step down sparked public protests which culiminated in a brutal crackdown by the presidential guard on one demonstration in the capital Conakry.

More than 150 people were killed in the massacre for which the UN said Camara was responsible.

Dore, who helped lead the demonstration, had his skull cracked when he was beaten by soldiers loyal to Camara.

Source: Agencies

Interim PM takes office in Guinea

By Caspar Leighton
BBC West Africa correspondent

The new interim prime minister of Guinea, who is charged with organising elections that will see the end of military rule, has taken office.

Jean Marie Dore was appointed by the general in charge of Guinea, Sekouba Konate, after the military government agreed to step down.

He made a brief speech setting out some big objectives. Reforming Guinea's armed forces was top of the list.

But it is no small order in a country controlled by the military for decades.

The current government took power in December 2008 after the death of Lansana Conte, himself an army man who staged a coup 24 years earlier.

Mr Dore said he would organise elections and prioritise the economic revival of Guinea, which is the world's largest exporter of bauxite and is rich in other minerals.

Huge task

Still to be formed is the transitional government that Mr Dore is in charge of.

It is meant to have 20 members drawn from political parties and civil society and 10 members from the military.

Mr Dore said he hoped that the transitional authority would be in place by the end of the month.

The task ahead is huge.

Guinea has never had a democratically-elected government and the goal is elections in six months.

The international investors in Guinea's massive mineral wealth are still in place, even if output has dropped amid the chaos of the past year.

Convalescing in Burkina Faso is the man technically in charge of the military government, Capt Moussa Dadis Camara.

He has been incapacitated since an assassination attempt in December.

Though sidelined by events, he is still an influential figure and is one of a group of soldiers that the United Nations holds responsible for the shooting of more than 150 opposition demonstrators in September last year.

The new government will have to negotiate a treacherous path between creating a stable present and seeing justice done for crimes in the past.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2010/01/26 20:41:49 GMT

January 20, 2010

Guinea Junta Picks Opponent as Premier on Path to Civilian Control

New York Times

DAKAR, Senegal — Guinea’s military leaders appointed a veteran opposition figure as prime minister on Monday, a critical step in the transition to elections and civilian government later in the year, officials and news agencies reported.

The opposition figure, Jean-Marie Doré, was the choice of both a coalition of opponents of the military government, and the current military junta itself.

Mr. Doré, in his 70s and the leader of the opposition coalition, which is called the Forces Vives, is from the same ethnic group as the country’s military dictator, Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara. Soldiers from that group are thought to have played a leading role in the massacre, beatings and rapes of regime opponents in a stadium in the capital, Conakry, on Sept. 28. The ethnic group, from Guinea’s remote forest regions, is considered a particularly volatile element in the country’s armed forces, and Mr. Doré’s new role is considered a potentially peacemaking one.

“It was the Forces Vives that proposed Jean-Marie Doré. We are satisfied,” said Oury Bah, vice president of the political party Union of Democratic Forces in Guinea. Late last week Guinea’s military leaders and the coalition agreed to establish an interim government together, while Captain Camara, wounded in an assassination attempt early in December, announced that he would go into exile.

The deal caps a period of deep unrest in this West African country of 10 million people, a leading bauxite exporter whose people are among the world’s poorest. Captain Camara took over in a coup 13 months ago and ruled in an increasingly arbitrary way from his army-base headquarters. The September massacre, in which at least 156 people were killed by soldiers, resulted in intense pressure on the junta as both the United Nations and the International Criminal Court spoke of potential crimes against humanity.

Captain Camara, shot by one of his own guards, flew to Morocco for treatment while power was assumed by his deputy, Gen. Sékouba Konaté. The general, regarded as more flexible than the wounded autocrat, took part in the negotiations that led to last week’s deal.

But whether the troubled country finds peace in the months leading up to the elections is an open question. Mr. Bah, for one, was sharply critical of the proposed composition of the new government, which will have 10 ministers each from the military junta, the opposition and the different regions of the country.

That arrangement will effectively handcuff the prime minister, he said. “It’s as if the prime minister has no real power. We can’t accept this in the transition,” he said.

The army’s future role is also unclear. There is a strong possibility that it will remain “the power behind power,” said Mike McGovern, a Yale anthropologist and an expert on Guinea.

Mr. Doré has long been on the political scene in Guinea as an unpredictable opponent of the country’s military rulers. He has publicly proclaimed his friendship with the Liberian warlord Charles Taylor, according to Mr. McGovern, but was among those beaten at the stadium in September.

In an interview shortly after Mr. Doré produced the bloodstained clothes he was wearing at the time, he said, “With violence they forced me to my knees.”

He was strongly critical of the military government. “The country is in a trap,” he said. “There’s a disjunction between the work that must be done, and the people doing it. The competencies at hand are not up to the job.”

Mr. McGovern said that Mr. Doré had “oscillated over time from being something of a gadfly in Guinean politics to being over the last year a pretty solid, level-headed spokesman for the Forces Vives.”

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