Guinea: A political-judicial duel between Mamadi Doumbouya and Cellou Dalein Diallo

By Diawo Barry
Posted on Tuesday, 7 June 2022 15:38

Mamadi Doumbouya - Cellou Dalein Diallo © JOHN WESSELS / AFP - Vincent Fournier /JA -Montage JA

The opposition and transitional president are not getting along. Cellou Dalein Diallo, who has been summoned to appear before the judge in the Air Guinea case, has found an ally in the RPG, Alpha Conde's party.

He says that he has “all the evidence”. Aly Touré, the prosecutor at the Cour de Répression des Infractions Économiques et Financières (Crief), intends to investigate Cellou Dalein Diallo’s alleged corruption in the Air Guinea case. The head of the Union des Forces Démocratiques de Guinée, then transport minister under Lansana Conté before becoming prime minister a few years later, was at the helm of the national airline’s liquidation in 2002. He is suspected of having sold off some of the national company’s assets and of enriching himself in the process. Diallo absolutely denies this. Last February, he claimed that – although he had indeed signed the documents to liquidate the company – the Ministry of Finance had set the prices. This argument did not convince the Crief’s judges, who summoned the oppositionist to appear before the court on 13 June.

Will he attend this court hearing? Nothing is less certain. Diallo, who left the country in early March, has not returned to Conakry since. On 26 May, while in Banjul where he attended a meeting organised by UFDG activists from the diaspora living in Gambia, he affirmed his “serenity” and called on his supporters to “continue the fight”. After applauding Alpha Conde’s fall and the Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya-led junta’s seizure of power, Diallo, who became one of the new regime’s targets, has caused great disappointment.

Clean slate

On 5 September 2021, when Doumbouya overthrew Conde, Diallo, who was prevented from leaving the country following the post-electoral tensions of the October 2020 presidential election, was stuck in Conakry. The oppositionist thought that his former enemy’s fall would allow him to quickly return to power. However, he had not taken into account Doumbouya’s desire to wipe out the past, including the members of a political class that the new master of Conakry has vowed to demonise.

Diallo, who was expelled from his home in early March, left the country in the days that followed. He first went to Dakar and then to Paris. He thus spent Ramadan and celebrated Eid el-Fitr outside his country, which is quite rare. Furthermore, he denounced the 39-month transition period announced by Doumbouya on the evening of 30 April from Mecca, where he had made his Omra (small pilgrimage).

Prerequisites

To justify the transitional president’s timetable, Mory Condé, the minister of territorial administration and decentralisation, listed in mid-April 10 actions which, in his view, are a prerequisite for returning to constitutional order. In addition to the population’s general census and the establishment of a new electoral file, the minister said it was necessary to draw up a new constitution that would be voted on by the general population…Prior to the election of the future president to whom the junta will hand over power, the government plans to enforce that local and then legislative elections be held.

“We don’t agree!” cried the former opposition leader, from the holy places of Islam. Diallo maintains that the political transition should not last more than 15 months, the line that his party defended during the national consultation that the junta held last September. This period, which Diallo proposed at the height of his “romance” with Doumbouya, cannot be extended, said the oppositionist. He also suggests dispensing with the drafting of a new Constitution and that the 2010 Constitution, whose reform had allowed Conde to run for a third term, be reinstated by referendum.

The same goes for the electoral file. Diallo now feels that the 2020 list is “good”, after Ecowas excluded 2.5 million “problematic voters”. The junta’s spokesman made no effort to hide his surprise at this proposal. “For 10 years, this electoral file has been at the heart of demonstrations and protests,” he said in an interview with Guinéenews on 2 May. “The electoral file is a major problem in our country and it must be rethought to make it more acceptable, consensual and open to Guineans,” he said.

Paradoxically, Diallo can now count on the support of Condé’s party in his battle with Doumbouya. The Rassemblement du Peuple de Guinée (RPG Arc-en-Ciel, the former ruling party) and the UFDG intend to express their opposition to the duration of the transition period that the junta has proposed. Against all odds, on 11 May, a delegation from the RPG participated in a meeting organised by some 40 political parties at the UFDG headquarters. In a joint declaration, all the parties present affirmed their “unanimous” rejection of the “unilateral decision” of the president of the transition government to set it at 39 months. Moreover, the Conseil National de Transition, which acts as a provisional parliament, “is in no way mentioned as a body for validating this agreement”, said the signatories.

“I will not back down”

However, Doumbouya is still determined to wage a merciless struggle against those he describes as “white-collar criminals”, regardless of their partisan origin. “We will stop at nothing. We will do the dirty work, it is necessary: cleaning our country, and fighting corruption in all its forms. All those who are linked to mismanagement will answer to the people of Guinea. Our determination on this issue is limitless,” he said on 15 April at the launch of the “inclusive consultation framework”. Diallo, like a large part of the Guinean political class, had boycotted this ceremony.

Two weeks before, Diallo’s former home in Conakry’s Dixinn district had been bulldozed along with several former ministerial residences. A school will be built where the former opposition leader once lived. And as a sign of the junta’s determination to turn the page on the old world as quickly as possible, Guillaume Hawing, the minister of education, has already laid the future school’s foundation stone on the recently ‘liberated’ land.

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