Guinea’s military leader Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, who led last month’s coup in the country, was sworn in as interim president on Friday, promising to respect all the West African State’s international commitments, as also international ones.
Col Doumbouya, who led the coup that ousted President Alpha Conde on September 5, was sworn in by Supreme Court head Mamadou Sylla, for a transition period that is of unspecified length. Recent sanctions by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), against the junta, meant no regional leaders were going to attend Friday’s ceremony at the presidential palace.
During his swearing-in, the new interim president expressed his “commitment” to ensuring neither he nor any member of the junta would stand in any future elections that the military have promised to organize after the transition period. He said his administration’s mission is to “refound the state” by drafting a new constitution, fighting corruption, reforming the electoral system and then organizing “free, credible and transparent” elections.
A “charter” unveiled on Monday by the military government vows that a new constitution will be drafted and “free, democratic and transparent” elections held, but does not spell out how long the transition will last. The document says the transitional president will be “head of state and supreme chief of the armed forces” with the power to name and fire an interim prime minister. However, the charter states that the president will be barred from being a candidate at the elections that will take place after the transition. The “transitional charter” is meant to steer the country back to civilian rule.
A September 5 coup led by Col Doumbouya last month, saw the overthrow of 83-year-old president Alpha Conde. Doumbouya later said his soldiers had seized power in Guinea because they wanted to end rampant corruption and human rights abuses.
President Condé had been re-elected for a controversial third term in office last year amid violent protests. The veteran opposition leader was first elected in 2010, in Guinea’s first democratic transfer of power 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, a move that sparked mass demonstrations in which dozens of protesters were killed; Conde won re-election but the political opposition maintained the poll was a sham.
Doumbouya will serve as transitional president until the country returns to civilian rule. Aged 41, the military leader now becomes Africa’s second-youngest head of state. He is expected to form a government in the coming weeks; meanwhile, the region’s bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is demanding that elections be held within six months, as also Conde’s release.