Guinea: Can Doumbouya lead the country in a peaceful transition?

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

By The Africa Report

Posted on Wednesday, 22 September 2021 08:33
Children walk past a giant poster of Military junta Col. Mamady Doumbouya, on the street in Conakry, Guinea Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/ Sunday Alamba)

Guinea's Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya is launching consultations as mining companies fret and fears grow of a new military era in the region.

Guinea’s latest military junta, led by former French legionnaire Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, is looking to form a united national government. However, no date has been set for any elections that will allow a return to civilian rule.

Doumbouya’s Comité nationale de rassemblement et du développement (CNRD) began discussions with politicians, civil society leaders and diplomats on 14 September.

“With President Alpha Condé detained and reportedly willing to die rather than resign, the CNRD has started talking to opposition leaders, including former prime ministers Cellou Dalein Diallo and Sidya Touré. Both men cautiously welcomed the coup and said they would join a unity government,” reports Africa Confidential. 

Does the junta have popular support?

  • When Condé was ousted, citizens were on the streets in droves to celebrate, but some of this might have been orchestrated.
  • CNRD needs to say when elections will be held, or support could quickly evaporate.
  • The coup did, however, have the support of the army.
  • The Bataillon autonome de sécurité présidentielle (the presidential guard) was defeated on the day of the coup.

Doumbouya’s support internationally

Although it was rumoured that the coup was a reaction to Condé permitting Chinese companies to gain such a large slice of Guinea’s bauxite and iron ore reserves, there is little evidence to support this. That said, Beijing, normally staying out of Africa’s internal politics, has strongly criticised the coup and called for the immediate release of Condé.

The US was said to be involved after New York Times reporters exposed the fact that Doumbouya and his fellow military men were on a training course with US Green Berets at a base on Guinea’s west coast on the night they overthrew the government.

Beijing promoted the view that video footage to this effect proved US involvement, but this is unlikely, especially as US officials have condemned the coup.

ECOWAS has suspended Guinea and was meant to hold a special summit about the crisis on 16 September – unfortunately, its authority has been weakened by three military overthrows of governments in West and Central Africa over the last six months. However, sanctions seem unlikely.

France, along with the EU, has not said more than calling for Condé’s release and a return to constitutional rule. It says it will follow ECOWAS’ lead in the situation.

Bottom line

Although Doumbouya has promised a national unity government, this idea is not yet a concrete one as no elections have been planned to that effect. He will have to make good on this promise in order to keep popular support.

The full version of this article is available on Africa Confidential.

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