Guinea’s military junta wants to stay in power for three more years
The head of Guinea’s military government, General Mamady Doumbouya, has set a 39-month timetable for the transition to civilian rule and the restoration of constitutional order. Last December, the West African Economic Community ECOWAS had called for Guinea to return to constitutional order and hold free elections within the next six month (CW 50/2021). Guinea’s military government has now decided to disregard this deadline. Originally, the timetable for the transfer of power to a civilian government was to be worked out within the framework of a national reconciliation conference organised by the military and involving the former government. However, the former government, as well as all other important political groups in the country, refused to participate. ECOWAS had also demanded then that former President Alpha Condé be released. After this demand was originally met at the end of April, the military junta is now revising this again: On Thursday, court proceedings were ordered against Condé and 26 other former members of the government, among other things for aiding and abetting murder. The military around General Doumbouya had taken power from Alpha Condé, Guinea’s first democratically elected president in 2010, last August (CW 36/2021). Due to a constitutional amendment that would have allowed Condé to be elected president a third time and an increasingly authoritarian style of government, he had lost popular support in 2021. Some of the numerous protests against Condé turned into riots. The military used these to seize power, which it justified with accusations of corruption. After Guinea was already suspended by ECOWAS in September 2021, further political and economic sanctions are now likely. Besides ECOWAS, the United Nations, the EU and the US had also condemned the coup in Guinea, which is one of the Compact with Africa countries. During his visit to West Africa, UN Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated the call for a swift return to civilian rule in Guinea.
UN Secretary-General visits West Africa
The annual visit on the occasion of Ramadan took UN Secretary-General António Guterres to West Africa this year. The countries of Senegal, Niger and Nigeria were deliberately chosen to recognise their progress in the fight against terrorism. Before the traditional breaking of the fast with Senegalese President Macky Sall, Guterres began his trip on Sunday by calling on rich countries to increase their investments in Africa. This is urgently needed due to the food, energy and financial crises, which have been exacerbated by the Ukraine war and the Corona pandemic. To this end, he had also set up a Global Crisis Response Group to mobilise the United Nations and other international institutions and organisations to respond to this “triple crisis”. Other demands on the Global North included support for Africa in dealing with Covid-19 pandemic and more effective action against climate change, which affects the continent more than most other regions. The Secretary-General also called on the current ruling military juntas in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso to accelerate their transition to democracy and return to constitutional order as soon as possible. During his stopover in Niger on Monday, Guterres also spoke to refugees in Quallam after his meeting with President Mohamad Bazoum. He expressed full solidarity with the local people and promised to do everything in his power to improve their living conditions. Further, he appealed to the international community to support the Nigerien military with equipment and training in the fight against terrorism and to provide financial support for development cooperation. Finally, in Nigeria on Tuesday, he expressed his full support for projects to reintegrate former Islamist fighters. Reintegrating these people, he said, is an immanently important step toward achieving sustainable peace in the country.
In other news
Along with two other African countries, Uganda is currently researching its own Covid-19 vaccine. A Ghanaian research team is in the stage of basic research and in Egypt a vaccine candidate is already being clinically tested. The Ugandan scientists have developed three different vaccine variants that will be tested in preclinical animal trials by the end of June. If these tests produce positive results, the next step will be to conduct clinical trials on humans. The Ugandan government’s original plan to replicate international vaccines was discarded due to patent rights, whereupon research on a proprietary vaccine was started. Alongside the development of the Covid-19 vaccine, the aim is simultaneously to build capacity to respond effectively to future pandemics and health issues.
From 20 to 21 June, Germany’s largest international and interdisciplinary media conference, the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum (GMF) will take place in Bonn and also hybrid online. For interested participants there is an early bird discount until Tuesday here. The GAF is a partner of the panel Shaping the next generation of journalists, where Gwen Lister, Chairperson of the Namibia Media Trust, will speak. Gwen Lister will be awarded the Honorary Award of the German Africa Foundation in the beginning of June.