Guinea’s ruling junta faces a difficult decision: keep ousted President Alpha Conde imprisoned, ignore international pardon, or free a powerful leader who could take revenge.
A recent military coup ended Conde’s rule to the West African country that came after months of tensions over its decision to seek a third term last year.
Special forces led by Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya rebelled on September 5, stormed the presidential palace and captured 83 . one-year-old Conde.
They quickly dissolved the government and installed a military junta, citing the human rights violations under Conde.
But the coup sparked widespread diplomatic outrage and led to demands Conde’s immediate release, including from the United Nations, the African Union and the West African bloc Ecowas.
Guinea’s ruling military has promised to protect the former leader, but their plans for Conde are unclear.
The ex-president’s political opponents seem to want him to stay. Yes, under lock and key – on the lookout for his reputation and close ties to some African leaders.
“We think that Mr. Alpha Conde should stay with the junta for security reasons – for Guinea, but also for himself, “said Abdoulaye Oumou Sow, a spokesman for the opposition collective FNDC.
” We all know the friendship he is with some heads of state heads in the sub-region. We know he is rich and has all the means to return to power, “he added.
Former Prime Minister and opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo also said Conde’s release could be problematic .
“Since I know Mr. Alpha Conde, I’m not sure he can stay calm,” he said.
In principle, free of charge
Ecowasenvoys, sent to Guinea’s capital Conakry after the coup, saw Conde on Friday and reported that he was in good health.
It was the first message from the former president since the day of the coup that a video showed one crumpled- Conde sits on a sofa, in jeans and a partially unbuttoned shirt, surrounded by troops.
After the visit of the delegation of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), Guinea’s Deputy Foreign Minister Fanta Cisse spoke of a ” fundamental “agreement to release Conde.
She said it was “difficult to answer a request immediately” to free the ex-president, but “the principle is recognized”.
The subject is sensitive and raises the question of what will happen to Conde after his release will happen and whether he will stay in Guinea.
An official close to the Ecowas delegation said Conde had insisted that he be “still the president”. and that he must be reinstated.
Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the United Nations special envoy in the region, was in Guinea on Monday, according to a UN official who asked for anonymity.
< h3> ‘settling the bills’
Conde became the first democratically elected President of Guinea in 2010 and was re-elected in 2015.
But last year Conde pushed through a new constitution that allowed him to stand for to run for a third term in October 2020.
The move sparked mass demonstrations in which dozens of demonstrators were killed. Conde won the elections, but the political opposition thought the poll was a sham.
Many Guineans blame the former president for the violence.
FNDC Abdoulaye Oumou Sow said it had to “Right to justice, a right to redress.”
Asmaou Diallo, a member of an association representing victims of a 2009 massacre, said she wanted Conde to be brought to justice.
< p> The ex-president abandoned the victims, she said, referring to the lack of investigation into a massacre in which troops led by the former strong man of the army, Moussa Dadis Camara, killed at least 157 demonstrators and raped dozens of women / p>
Conde must “be” held accountable because the impunity must end, “she said.
However, Souleymane Keita, a MP for Conde’s RPG party, warned against a” reckoning ” .
“Of course, MrConde must be released unconditionally. Good governance and justice were the creed of our politics, “he said.