Since Tuesday 22 March, the Guinean president of the transition, Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya, has kicked off the national conference. Called “Days of Truth and Forgiveness”, these meetings are mainly aimed at reconciling Guineans and will last six weeks.
These days are held from 22 March to 29 April throughout the country with all the nation’s active forces. In Conakry, in the Mohamed V room of the Palace of the Republic, various personalities gathered to listen to the solemn speech of the President of the Transition. The latter, who initiated these meetings, wants to bring people together. “I wanted to organise these national meetings called “Days of Truth and Forgiveness” to give Guineans a unique and historic opportunity to look each other in the eye and speak frankly and openly this time,” said Colonel Doumbouya in his opening speech.
Thus, according to the ruling junta, all issues that hamper the country’s development will be addressed. In fact, two years after the disputed double election of 22 March 2020, Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya invites all Guineans to turn the page and think about the development of the country. “Each of us here in this country has suffered brutality, the wounds are there, gaping. It’s time to clean them up, to put bandages on them,” he said.
The Guinean opposition boycott
In addition, several political parties have decided to boycott the conference. Considering that there was not enough information about these meetings. On 18 March, a dozen NGOs and Guinean civil society actors warned the authorities about these meetings. Given the lack of clarity in the concept of the National Conferences,” the document states, “and the imprecision of its terms of reference by those who are instituting it, we express our legitimate fears as to the success of a true and sincere reconciliation through the National Conferences as recommended by its initiators. Not wishing to serve as guarantors by associating ourselves with events with undefined and imprecise objectives, we wish to express the demands that we make for our effective participation in these Conferences,” notes their statement.
An event that has been criticized quite a bit. To this end, it is true that the President of the Transition had announced in his New Year’s speech that these meetings would be held “at the end of the first quarter of 2022”. However, it was only less than a fortnight ago that the government announced that they would open on Tuesday. Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya said: “The national conference is above all political, ethnic and religious considerations of our nation”, added the president of the transition, calling on political, cultural and religious actors to get involved in the conference process “to give this event the success it deserves.
Meetings are planned within the framework of these meetings in all the country’s prefectures under the supervision of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, which is leading the event.
Furthermore, it should be remembered that this is not the first time that governments have undertaken reconciliation meetings in the country. But so far, they have never been successful. In 2016, President Alpha Condé created a provisional commission to reflect on national reconciliation. The recommendations of the conference were published in a 243-page report in June 2016.
It should also be noted that on 5 September 2021, the country experienced a coup d’état, when an elite of the Guinean army, the Groupement des Forces Spéciales (GFS), seized the presidential palace and captured President Alpha Condé, who had been in power since 2010. From then on, a military junta took power under the name of the National Committee for the Rally for Development (CNRD), chaired by Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya.