Guinea’s military government has unveiled a “transitional charter” that it says will steer the country back to civilian rule.
The document, read out on national television late on Monday, set down a series of tasks, including the drafting of a new constitution and holding “free, democratic and transparent” elections – although it does not clarify how long the transition will last.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc has demanded that elections be held within six months, as well as the release of 83-year-old President Alpha Conde, who was detained on September 5 by troops led by a special forces colonel, Mamady Doumbouya.
Conde became Guinea’s first democratically elected president in 2010 and was re-elected in 2015. But last year, he pushed through a controversial new constitution that allowed him to run for a third term in October 2020.
The move sparked mass demonstrations in which dozens of protesters were killed. Conde won re-election but the political opposition maintained the poll was a sham.
The new charter identifies four institutions or figures that will be in charge of the transition.
They are the National Rallying Committee for Development (CNRD) set up by the military government and headed by Doumbaya; the president of the transition, who will also serve as the head of the CNRD, head of state and armed forces chief; a government headed by a civilian prime minister; and a legislative body called the National Transition Council or CNT.
No member of these institutions will be allowed to take part “in either national or local elections, which will be organised at the end of the transition period”.
The duration of the transition “will be set down by joint agreement among the living forces of the nation” and the CNRD, according to the charter.
Guinea’s ambassador to the United Nations told the UN General Assembly on Monday that the electoral rolls would be revised and the new constitution would be drafted in advance of new elections.
The CNT, comprising 81 members drawn from political parties, civil society, trade unions, employers, the security forces and other bodies, will be tasked with drawing up the new constitution.
No members of Conde’s government or the institutions of the former government can be named to it.
The FNDC coalition, which spearheaded the protests against Conde, on Friday called for 100 people to be excluded from the transition process, including former ministers, judges, governors and other politicians.
Doumbouya, meanwhile, visited the Bambeto cemetery in the suburbs of the capital, Conakry, on Monday to pay respects to those killed during the crackdown on protests against Conde’s third term.
The FNDC welcomed Doumbouya’s visit to the cemetery, calling it a “highly symbolic act”.
It said it hoped the visit “will be followed by the organisation of a fair and equitable trial so that those responsible for the violence can be held accountable for their actions, therefore putting an end to impunity” in Guinea.