EXCLUSIVE Guinea: Alpha Condé ​​‘would rather be killed’ than resign

In depth
This article is part of the dossier: Guinea Coup – the Fall of Alpha Condé

By Jeune Afrique

Posted on Tuesday, 14 September 2021 15:44, updated on Thursday, 16 September 2021 11:14
Deposed President Alpha Condé remains under arrest. (Twitter/AFP)

In what state of mind does Guinea's deposed president find himself? Under what conditions might he hope to be released? An ECOWAS mission was able to meet with Alpha Condé on 10 September. We've got this exclusive report from that meeting.

On 10 September in the Guinean capital Conakry, a mission from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) composed of Foreign Ministers Robert Dussey (Togo), Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey (Ghana), Alpha Barry (Burkina Faso) and Jean Claude Brou, President of the ECOWAS Commission, met with Condé.

During this meeting, the coup plotters were represented by Colonel Balla Samoura, the regional director of the gendarmerie in Conakry, who has become the junta’s number two. This delegation then publicly declared, without offering further detail, that Condé was “doing well”.

According to our sources, the former Guinean president is still being held in the special forces branch in a wing of the People’s Palace, at the entrance to Kaloum, and more precisely in the suite where Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya once lived. It was in this same room (and not at the Sékhoutouréya Palace) that the now famous photo of Alpha Condé, sitting on a sofa surrounded by soldiers, was taken shortly after his arrest.

‘Alpha is not IBK’

Alpha Condé has at his disposal a bedroom, a living room and a bathroom, but has no access to his telephones or to the radio. The television, which he was able to watch for a while, has been taken away from him because, according to his guards: “He gets angry every time he sees Lieutenant Colonel Doumbouya on the screen and this affects his health”.

The former strongman of Conakry has his meals delivered by his Togolese butler Jeremy. Forced to remain inactive, he complains a lot about not being able to go to the gym.

READ MORE Guinea Coup – the Fall of Alpha Condé

During the same interview, the ECOWAS mission raised the issue of the resignation letter that Condé refuses to sign. “I would rather be killed than sign my resignation,” he said. The junta and the ECOWAS delegation thus agreed to give up on the letter.

In terms of his release, Doumbouya and his men, who continue to express a certain deference for Condé (“He is our dad, the father of Guinea, we mean him no harm,” they assured the delegation), have made several demands: Condé will have to remain in the background, like Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, and not make any statements, either about the junta or the country’s political life.

This kind of guarantee will be difficult to obtain, according to our interlocutor, for whom “Alpha is not IBK”.

Work computer

A week after being overthrown, Alpha Condé still seems to struggle with the realisation that he is no longer leading the country. According to our sources, he is still asking for the return of his work computer, which contains “a hundred or so documents” that he was supposed to sign in order to conclude agreements with Guinea, the IMF and the World Bank. He also recalls that he was expected to speak on behalf of Guinea at the UN General Assembly on 23 September and worries about who will take his place.

To the few interlocutors with whom he was able to speak, Condé confided that personally, he had never wanted to run for a third term. Rather, he says, it was “the women of Guinea” who sought out his candidacy and “financed” his campaign.

According to Condé, the junta does not want to release him because such a move would force it to take into account the importance of  his “popularity among Guineans and especially Guinean women”. Condé believes he was overthrown due to his “relentless fight against corruption” and “budget cuts” made within the army.

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