Guinea: Friends, advisers, mentors… Who does transitional leader Doumbouya rely on?

By Diawo Barry, Marième Soumaré
Posted on Friday, 28 January 2022 15:00

The networks of Guinea's leader Mamadi Doumbouya.

Mamadi Doumbouya, the president of Guinea’s transitional government, has a circle of loyal and discreet people whom he can rely on. These are the figures who are on the country’s front line.

Mamadi Doumbouya

More than four months after the Mamady Doumbouya-led 5 September coup, the exact list containing the members of the Comité National du Rassemblement pour le Développement (CNRD) – the first body that the transitional government established, as per the charter that came into force on 28 September – has still not been revealed. All we know is that it is ‘composed of members of the defence and security forces’.

Nonetheless, some CNRD members are familiar faces to Guineans. These soldiers, who stand alongside the junta’s number one at official events and disseminate communiqués, represent an important element of the colonel’s apparatus.

Other figures, civilians and much more discreet people tend to exert their influence in secret. Some observers are even worried about how much the president is being influenced by these people behind the scenes. Whether they have official status within the army or government, or have simply gravitated towards the palace, they have the ear and trust of Doumbouya; and they could certainly play a crucial role in the future.

Amara Camara

The two men know each other from their time spent in the Guinean army. In the early hours of the 5 September putsch, he appeared alongside Doumbouya. He then read the junta’s second communiqué as the CNRD’s spokesperson, before later handing over the post to Aminata Diallo.

He is the son of General Diarra Camara, the Guinean army’s last chief of staff under Lansana Conté. The Moussa Dadis Camara-led junta made his father and 20 other generals retire. As a result, Amara Camara’s studies in Morocco were interrupted. He was also imprisoned and then released by Sékouba Konaté, the transitional government’s interim president. A key figure in the army, he was a ‘brilliant student’, notably at Koulikoro’s Inter-Arms Military School in Mali, according to a source close to the CNRD.

Currently, as the presidency’s secretary-general, he scrutinises all decisions and even validates press releases before their publication. Considered a ‘sanguine’ by some, the transitional president feels that he often assumes the wrong role. Those in power have resented some of his undiplomatic positions.

Aboubacar Sidiki Camara, known as ‘Idi Amin’

This minister delegate for national defence was the mentor of Doumbouya, who was able to return to Guinea and join the army thanks to him. He came home just after the 13 September coup. He was close to Alpha Condé, but the latter, who was worried about his rise to power, had removed him by appointing him as ambassador to Cuba in 2019.

His role in the transition government began as soon as he arrived in Conakry. The general participated in discussions regarding Prime Minister Mohamed Béavogui’s selection, before he was appointed to the government. He had previously been retired by Doumbouya, who can now claim to have a 100% civilian government.

Respected in the army, highly educated and cultured, ‘Idi Amin’ does not ‘have any baggage’, as one of his close friends put it, and he takes a certain pride in this. In 2008, he played a major role as permanent secretary of the Conseil National pour la Démocratie et le Développement (CNDD) and the army’s deputy chief of staff under Moussa Dadis Camara.

Djiba Diakité

He is a long-time friend of the transitional president. Their relationship goes back to when Doumbouya, then a legionnaire, was living in France. He was the third person appointed by the latter, after the prime minister and Amara Camara. He now occupies the strategic position of minister director of cabinet at the Presidency.

Dansa Kourouma

On 22 January, Doumbouya appointed him as president of the Conseil National de Transition (CNT). This legislative body is now made up of 81 members and has been tasked with deciding how long the transition period should last. A close associate of former Prime minister Ibrahima Kassory Fofana, he previously headed the Conseil National des Organisations de la Société Civile (CNOSC).

This forensic doctor, who trained in Conakry and Dakar, is putting his knowledge of constitutional and electoral issues at the transition government’s service. Since 2010, all those who have chaired the Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante (Ceni) have come from the platform he led.

He shares his expertise with Doumbouya, particularly with regard to ministerial and administrative appointments. He is thus responsible for studying potential candidates’ files.

Sadiba Koulibaly

At the end of August 2019, he was appointed as commander of the Centre d’Entraînement aux Opérations de Maintien de la Paix. On 12 October, Doumbouya finally promoted the colonel. He has now replaced General Namory Traoré as the Armed Forces’ general chief of staff.

This friend of Dansa Kourouma, who shared the same bench with him in medical school, met the president of the transition government while serving in the army. He is highly qualified and has notably passed through the US army’s War College.

Aminata Diallo

The only known female member of the CNRD, this lieutenant-colonel has evolved within the military commissariat. She holds two positions on behalf of the committee. Firstly, she was appointed deputy director of military pensions and veterans. Then, on 13 January, she was also named spokesperson, a position she had de facto held for several months.

Balla Samoura

The former regional director of Conakry’s gendarmerie replaced General Ibrahima Baldé as head of the Haut-Commandement de la Gendarmerie Nationale and the Direction de la Justice Militaire.

Doumbouya’s close friend, who has been described as a ‘man of the field’, was seen at the former legionnaire’s side in the early hours of the coup. Their friendship began long before the coup started.

Bachir Diallo

The minister of security and civil protection is considered to be close to ‘Idi Amin’ and drafted him into the army. Despite being Sékouba Konaté’s former cabinet director, he was one of the military officials who was arrested and detained for several months in prison, after Kipé allegedly raided Condé’s private home in 2011.

This purge was, at the time, led by ‘Idi Amin’, who mainly targeted officials and soldiers close to Konaté. A former military attaché at the Guinean embassy in Algiers, this retired general became one of Doumbouya’s most trusted men. Doumbouya appointed him to head the inter-ministerial commission in charge of recovering state property.

Mohamed Béavogui

This development specialist represents the junta internationally and at Ecowas. Furthermore, he has already had to swallow a few things as he is supposed to share his knowledge with Doumbouya and his list of contacts outside Guinea.

Rumours of his resignation were certainly rife when he publicly criticised the CNRD’s decision to name Conakry’s international airport after Sékou Touré, but the head of government seems ready to ‘swallow his rancour’ and continue in his role.

Mory Condé

At 36, the youngest minister in the Béavogui government is from civil society. Kourouma’s ‘protégé’ inherited the ministry of territorial administration. He helped establish the CNT on Doumbouya’s behalf.

In regular contact with political parties and civil society organisations, he coordinated the appointments of the 81 board members. From the day after the putsch, he closely followed the president of the transition government and acted as the head of protocol. The two meet regularly.

Ousmane Doumbouya

The president of the transition government apparently met Ousmane Doumbouya during his trip to Europe, before he settled in France and joined the Foreign Legion.

Ousmane Doumbouya met the head of the Special Forces while working as a local agent in charge of general services at the Guinean embassy in London. Recruited in the 2010s, he remained in this position for several years. Close to the head of the CNRD, the businessman returned to Conakry on 5 September.

Papa Fofana

His real name is Fodé Amadou Fofana and he has been friends with the transitional president for a long time. For a while, he was being considered for the post of the presidency’s minister director of cabinet, but was later ruled out during the selection process. The two men’s friendship remains intact.

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