Almost a year after joining the East African Community, DRC remains mired in a conflict with the M23 rebel faction. Between diplomatic gridlock, ... ongoing fighting, and, and regional force tensions, the Congolese head of state has few options.
“The de-facto group Front National pour la Défense de la Constitution (FNDC) has been dissolved.” The government announced the FNDC’s dissolution in a decree issued by territorial administration minister Mory Condé on 8 August, which argued: “Since its creation, […] the movement has always been known for violence against people, degradation and destruction of public and private property, and acts of incitement to hatred or discrimination against people due to their origin or ideology”.
For the FNDC, this announcement is a non-event. “The movement was created on 3 April 2019 and not on 14 October 2019,” as mentioned in the minister’s dissolution order, said FNDC communications chief Abdoulaye Oumou Sow, with irony. “It is therefore obvious that he is talking about another FNDC.”
Demonstrations planned for 17 August
Proof that they are not worried by the decree, Sow and other FNDC leaders contacted say they remain focused on the demonstrations they plan to organise throughout the country on 17 August. This date is nearly three weeks after the 28-29 July demonstrations, limited to the capital, Conakry, which resulted in five deaths, injuries and property damage, as well as a hundred arrests, including that of FNDC coordinator Oumar Sylla, alias Foniké Menguè.
The movement, launched in 2019 to oppose a change in the constitution paving the way for a third term for then president Alpha Condé, announced on 8 August that it will also organise a “peaceful demonstration of citizens” on 14 August in Brussels. Its slogans remain unchanged: denounce the “unilateral management” of the transition and demand a rapid return to constitutional order.
Questioning its legal existence
To justify his decision, territorial administration minister Condé put forward a series of grievances, including “the organisation of violent and armed demonstrations”. The FNDC “does not appear on the list of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the Republic of Guinea, nor on the list of collective associations, and even less so in the directory of approved NGOs”, he added. In short, the organisation, which Condé called a “de-facto group”, has no legal basis to exist.
“They can arrest us, as Alpha Condé did, but they will not be able to defeat the determination of Guineans for a return to constitutional order,” Foniké Menguè, FNDC national coordinator, told us on 28 July, a few hours before his arrest. “Thousands of other Foniké Menguès will continue the struggle.”
Some observers have also ironically questioned the legitimacy of a coup d’état government dissolving a movement on the grounds that it has no legal basis to exist. Others pointed out that the military had, as soon as it came to power, officially recognised the FNDC by granting it audiences or sending it invitations by official mail. And Mory Condé was, until his appointment to the government, secretary general of the Organisation Guinéenne de Défense des Droits de l’Homme – a member organisation of the FNDC.
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