the duration of the transition worries the political class

Eight months after the coup in Guinea, Transition President Mamady Doumbouya estimates the transition will take 39 months before the state regains constitutional order. A proposal that will be submitted to parliament, but which is already arousing the ire of the country’s political parties.

If the Guinean press is to be believed, Mamady Doumbouya has “succeeded in the enterprise of uniting once irreconcilable parties against him”. Carried by a people tired of the failures of Alpha Condé, of the coup of Mamady Doumbouya and of the passage that followed from last September, he is now at the head of the band. Today, the military chief of the National Rally Committee for Development (CNRD) is struggling to rally.

A drop in popularity of the leader of the Transition in Guinea which takes on impressive proportions after deciding last Saturday to finally propose a transition calendar. And the latter, 39 months, will have a hard time convincing, both on the side of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), of the United Nations, but also, and above all, of the populations, political parties and civil society.

A decision also awaited. “Mamady Doumbouya wants to draw parallels between the Guinean and Malian transition and exploit the popularity of the latter. But the contours of the Guinean transition are not those of the Malian transition, and Doumbouya will find it hard to convince even his first members to accept such a long transition period ”, complains a Guinean diplomat.

Reactions are much more stormy within the political parties in Guinea. From the former ruling party – but very timid after the fall of Alpha Condé – to the opposition parties that defended the coup, the dissidence is total.

How did we get here?

Recall that Mamady Doumbouya had succeeded in her coup last September with the help of her unit, the Special Forces Group (GFS) and the support of part of the army. With President Alpha Condé under control, he quickly established himself as the leader of the country, aided by the growing unpopularity of his predecessor, himself due to an ever-worsening socio-economic situation.

Unsurprisingly, the Doumbouya coup was denounced by the international community. However, popular jubilation over Condé’s fall, coupled with support from the opposition and much of Guinean public opinion, quickly tipped the scales in favor of the junta.

Since then Mamady Doumbouya and her advisers have organized several meetings with the political class and on some occasions received representatives of the international community to reassure them. And it must be said that, contrary to his habits, ECOWAS was quite indulgent with the new occupant of Sékhoutouréya.

But while Doumbouya reiterated that it “will not be dictated” to a transitional calendar, the junta’s announcement comes shortly after passing the April 25 deadline suggested by ECOWAS. The transition period of 39 months chosen, finally, would aim to be “a happy medium” among the proposals of the participants in the National Conference.

The minister of territorial administration and decentralization, Mory Condé, pointed out, at the end of the consultations, that the duration of the transition should be between 18 and 52 months. But with the massive boycott of consultations by political parties, are these figures really representative?

“Making love” in Guinea

For Doumbouya, at first glance it was almost impossible to satisfy ECOWAS. But there was still hope for national support from civil society and political parties. Until last Saturday.

For the moment, ECOWAS has not yet expressed itself on the proposal of the Guinean Head of State. From Dakar, for his part, the secretary general of the United Nations, António Guterres, asked for “a return to constitutional order as soon as possible”.

The former ruling party, the People’s Rally of Guinea (RPG), rejected Doumbouya’s decision, calling for a “consensual timetable” for the transition.

But it is above all on the side of the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), which brings together about twenty opposition parties that have campaigned against Alpha Condé, that the surprise was created. The influential movement issued a press release considering a 39-month transition “inadmissible, inconceivable and unacceptable”. The political formation was, however, among the supporters of Mamady Doumbouya. “The attitude of the authorities poses a threat to national unity,” said the FNDC.

Read: Guinea: What will the National Conferences be for?

Some parties of the FNDC, and a large part of civil society, had boycotted the national assemblies at the end of April in a context of poor preparation. And the political class’s dissatisfaction with the junta’s choices is not new. Because it manifested itself during the establishment, by the CNRD, of the Office for Monitoring Presidential Priorities (BSPP), a sort of shadow government with extended powers, controlled by the junta.

But, also, the statements of the leader of the transition to the advent of his coup. Mamady Doumbouya had declared: “We no longer need to rape Guinea, we just have to make love, simply”. If his statements were then without context, today they take on their full meaning. Has Mamady Doumbouya become indefensible?

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