Guinea coup leaders begin transitional government talks

Week-long consultation with political, religious and business leaders under way in Conakry.

Colonel Mamady Doumbouya(4R) and his Special Forces leave the Peoples Palace after the first session of talks between the Colonel and current Guinean political parties in Conakry
Colonel Mamady Doumbouya (fourth right) and members of the special forces leave the Peoples Palace after the first session of talks with political leaders in Conakry [John Wessels/AFP]

The military heads behind last week’s coup that removed Guinea’s President Alpha Conde have begun a week-long consultation with political, religious and business leaders that they say will lead to the formation of a transitional government.

The dialogue on Tuesday is expected to lay out the framework of a promised government of national unity that would lead Guinea back to constitutional order. It is expected to define the duration of the transition, what political and institutional reforms are needed before elections, and who will lead the transition.

The meeting with the leaders of the main political parties will be followed by talks with representatives of regional governments, then religious organisations.

Civil society groups, diplomatic missions, heads of mining companies and business leaders are also scheduled for meetings with the coup leaders throughout the week.

“We are going to return to our respective staffs and alliances to try to formulate in writing our vision, our proposals that we will submit to the new authorities,” main opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo, who ran unsuccessfully against Conde three times in successive presidential elections, said following the session.

However, proceedings were marred by a chaotic and crowded registration process which took up much of the allotted discussion time, Reuters news agency reported. Some smaller political parties were unable to get access.

‘Wait-and-see game’

The September 5 coup, led by Guinea’s special forces and helmed by Mamady Doumbouya, has been condemned by Guinea’s partners and regional bodies.

West Africa’s main political and economic bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) which suspended Guinea from its decision making bodies, has called for a short, civilian-led transition.

Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris, reporting from Conakry, likened the situation in the capital to a “wait-and-see game”.

“People expected faster developments with the military government … to chart a transitional course … but after 10 days, nothing has happened,” he said.

Idris said the military was finding itself in a “tight spot” as it keeps Conde detained despite calls by the international community to release him.

“This is a man who still has a significant number of followers in this country,” he said.

In a televised statement on Monday evening, the coup leaders announced they would be reopening all of the nation’s land borders starting Wednesday.

Some had been shut after the coup, while other borders had been closed, officially for security reasons, before elections last year in a move that had caused diplomatic tensions with neighbouring countries.

Supporters of coup leader, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, near the Peoples Palace in Conakry [John Wessels/AFP]


Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies