The Church in Guinea Conakry is appealing for political dialogue after street protests and unrest that resulted in nine deaths. Oppositon and civil society suspect President Alpha Condé of planning to run for an unconstitutional third term in 2020.
“The struggle for democracy in Africa must not be the struggle of a single people, but that of the whole of Africa, of all the African peoples without distinction,” said Fr. Donald Zagore, a Côte d’Ivoire leading theologian and member of the Society of African Missions.
Impunity among African politicians disrupts peace and development
Fr. Zagore continued, “It is a struggle for peace, therefore for development. People in Africa are thirsty and hungry for development. People suffer because of the impunity of African politicians who remain intent on protecting their political powers,”
Fr. Zagore says elections must not be a curse for Africa and the continent must not be turned into humanity’s grave, he insists.
Activists defied ban against demonstrations
Guinea’s government banned street protests a year ago citing threats to public security. Last week, security forces cracked down with excessive force on nationwide protests by citizens demanding the right to protest. Activists opposed to a new constitution led the unrest and demonstrations.
A new constitution to allow the President to run again
Guinea’s new constitution will probably allow President Alpha Condé, to run for a third term in the 2020 presidential elections. The President has been in office since 2009.
In Guinea, there are several ethnic groups, but the two main ones are the Malinké and the Peuhl, often protagonists of clashes due to political reasons. Most of the security forces are of Malinké ethnicity, and this means that the significant clashes take place in fact between the police (Malinké) and the civilian population of Peuhl ethnicity.
Opposition and civil society leaders given jail terms
Reuters reports that five opposition and civil society leaders in Guinea were convicted and sentenced to prison on Monday for organising the protests against a possible change to the constitution that could let President Alpha Conde seek a third term.
Abdourahmane Sanoh, a former government minister and an organiser of the demonstrations last week, received a one-year jail term for inciting civil disobedience, the judge in the case said.
The 81-year-old Conde, whose second and final five-year term expires next year, has refused to rule out running again and asked his government last month to look into drafting a new constitution.