Guinea suspended by ECOWAS as relative calm returns after coup

2021-09-08 22:38:20
Guinea suspended by ECOWAS as relative calm returns after coup

Relative calm has returned to Guinea after Sunday's coup that overthrew President Alpha Conde, even as the Economic Community of West African States announced the suspension of the country’s membership.

Elite soldiers who stormed Guinea's presidency and seized 83-year old Conde have promised to set up a transitional government but have not given details of what form the transition would take, or the duration

Guineans in the capital Conakry have been trying to get back to their normal lives amid discussions on the political crisis in the West African country.

Many hoped that Guinea's landmark 2010 election would finally give the West African country a democratic leader after decades of corrupt dictatorship.

Instead, Conde decided to stick around for a third term, modifying the constitution so that the term limit no longer applied to him.

His plan to extend his rule prompted violent street protests in Conakry last year — and ultimately sealed Conde's fate as vulnerable to the kind of military coup that many hoped was becoming a thing of the past.

Guineans celebrate

Jubilant Guineans were celebrating the change in the streets, but the real test could be whether forces loyal to the ousted president accept the coup led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya.

The soldiers have tightened their grip on power with the installation of army officers at the top of Guinea’s eight regions and various administrative districts.

Coup leader Mamady Doumbouya, a former officer in the French Foreign Legion, has promised a “new era for governance and economic development”. But he has not yet explained exactly what this will entail, or given a timeframe.

“The government to be installed will be that of national unity and will ensure this political transition,” he wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

Opposition ready to join transition

Meanwhile, Guinea's main opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo, a long-standing rival of deposed president says that he and his party were open to participate in a political transition following Sunday's military coup.

"We would send representatives, why not, to participate in the process to bring the country back to constitutional order," Diallo said, adding that he was surprised by the coup from an army showered with funds by Conde.The junta has said it would start a broad consultation before the formation of a transitional government. "At the moment, I have not been invited," Diallo said.

Elsewhere, The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has suspended Guinea's membership following the military coup that overthrew President Conde, Burkina Faso's Foreign Minister Alpha Barry said on Wednesday.

The leaders of the bloc also demanded Conde's release from military custody, and will send a high-level delegation to Guinea on Thursday, said Alpha Barry, speaking to the media after a video summit of ECOWAS leaders.

West African coups

Over the past year, West African the militaries in Chad, Mali and most recently Guinea – have grabbed power in a worrying trend.

ECOWAS and many the African Union condemned the Guinea coup, as they did a year ago and again in May for Mali.

The words have been the same: restore constitutional order, free detainees, set a timeline for elections.

But a year later, Mali's military remain in command, with doubts growing over their promise to return the Sahel country to civilian rule through elections in February 2022.

In Chad, after Idriss Deby Itno died fighting rebels on 20 April, his son seized power.

Analysts say the way these recent coups in Chad and Mali were accepted, even validated, by some Western powers has probably created a favorable climate for what happened in Guinea.

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