On Saturday 30 April, the head of the military junta in Conakry addressed the Guinean nation. On the occasion, he announced that he had opted for a transition period of “39 months” before handing over power to civilians. Mamady Doumbouya thus challenge the regional organisations that are asking for a shorter deadline.
While ecowas’ ultimatum to Guinea and Burkina to present an acceptable transition timetable to return power to civilians expired on 25 April, Guinea’s lieutenant colonel announced on Saturday that the duration of the Guinean transition is set at 39 months.
“From all the consultations undertaken at all levels (…), a median proposal of a consensual duration of the transition of 39 months has emerged,” said Colonel Mamady Doumbouya in a televised address to the Nation on Saturday 30 April.
The head of the military junta in power said at the end of political consultations boycotted by many parties: the so-called national reconciliation conference and an inclusive consultation framework, both of which ended on Friday. Consequently, the government will submit to the National Transitional Council (CNT), “which takes the place of Parliament, this proposal which is the result of broad and patient consultations,” said Colonel Doumbouya.
A highly criticised decision
Furthermore, the decision to set the duration of the transition at 39 months is strongly criticised and even rejected by the Guinean opposition. Indeed, a communiqué of the deposed president’s party, published on Sunday, states that “The RPG and allied parties inform the national and international community that its coalition as well as other political parties, representing regularly more than 92% of the votes cast in local and national elections in our country, were neither closely nor remotely associated with the process that led to the development of this timetable.
Other coalitions such as the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) have joined Alpha Conde’s party. Thus, the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) indicated that the process mentioned by Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya, from which his decision derives, was “selective, partial and piecemeal”. This is why they demand an inclusive dialogue framework under the coordination of regional bodies. “The RPG and allied parties reject the said timetable and demand the establishment of an Inclusive Dialogue Framework with the participation of a mediator appointed by the international community, to define a consensual timetable in accordance with Article 77 of the transition charter,” the former ruling party wrote on Sunday.
Furthermore, considering that the duration of 39 months was taken unanimously and by consensus, Colonel Doumbouya recalled in his speech “It is the will of the majority that resolves the contradictions, just as the will of the sovereign people is intended to rally all and impose itself on all.
Is ecowas disappointed?
Since 5 September when the military took power after a putsch, ecowas had called for a transitional timetable to return power to civilians through elections. But nothing has been done since then by the junta in this sense. On 25 March, ECOWAS, which was impatient with their refusal to comply, had summoned the Conakry authorities to present “by 25 April at the latest” an “acceptable” transition timetable, on pain of an extension of the economic sanctions decided against the country after the coup. The ultimatum having expired, the junta had asked to “have more time in relation to the 25 April deadline”, in order to “allow consultations to continue”, according to an ECOWAS communiqué published on Wednesday 27 April.
Until then, we await the decision of the regional organisation. In any case, Guinea and Burkina Faso (since the authorities in Ouagadougou have stated that they do not intend to shorten their three-year timetable for returning power to elected civilians) are likely to join Mali.