Guinea’s transitional assembly holds first session

Guinea is one of three West African countries where the military seized power in the last 18 months, along with Mali and Burkina Faso.

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Guinea’s transitional assembly, which is tasked with organising a return to civilian rule after the military overthrow last year of president Alpha Conde, held its first session Saturday. All 81 members of the national transitional council, known by its French acronym CNT, were present for the inaugural session in parliament buildings in the capital Conakry, AFP journalists said.

The session lasted several hours and was opened by CNT president Dansa Kourouma and in the presence of transitional prime minister Mohamed Beavogui, a development expert.

“The radical change in the mechanisms that bring elites to power and allows them to remain in power almost indefinitely (is a problem that) must be definitively resolved,” Kourouma said in his speech. 

He called for a constitution to be drawn up “that will not be easily modified”, a reference to Conde, who had sparked fury by changing the constitution in order to run for a third term.

“Our path will be strewn with all sorts of pitfalls that we are called upon to overcome from now on, until the installation of the future National Assembly, at the end of credible and transparent elections that will be organised to put an end to the transition,” Kourouma added.

Conde, who was Guinea’s first democratically elected president and had been in power since 2010, was deposed on September 5 last year at the age of 83. 

‘Work starts today’

Colonel Mamady Doumbouya in the middle

Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, who led the coup, was sworn in as interim president a month later, promising to “refound the state”. He also vowed to fight corruption and reform the electoral system in order to hold “free, credible and transparent” elections.

The CNT, whose members were chosen by Doumbouya from lists submitted by political parties and associations, is tasked with drafting a new constitution and suggesting a date for a return to civilian rule.

In the meantime, the government and other institutions have been dissolved and ministers, governors and prefects replaced with administrators and soldiers.

The US ambassador to Guinea, Troy Fitrell, congratulated the country on the new CNT.

“Work starts today to return democracy to the Guinean people,” he wrote in a tweet. “The challenge is to do it in 2022.”

Guinea is one of three West African countries where the military seized power in the last 18 months, along with Mali and Burkina Faso.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has suspended both Guinea and neighbouring Mali from the bloc and imposed sanctions over the coups.

In a mark of defiance, the president of the transitional council of Mali and former junta member Colonel Malick Diaw attended Saturday’s inaugural session of Guinea’s assembly. 

“With the political transition under way in Mali and Guinea our two countries are at a crossroads,” Diaw said, insisting the end goal was “political normalisation.”

ECOWAS demanded that Guinea hold elections within six months of the coup, which would fall in mid-March.

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