Something significant has been happening in Guinea, the people have decided that there must be political change. To get the change they want, they have been out in the streets demonstrating a new resolve that even the President must respect the Constitution. The demonstrations took a more determined form from October of 2019 till date, when, hundreds of thousands of citizens would put on their OPPOSITION scarlet t-shirts, effectively forming a red river through the streets of Conakry and other cities. The continued protests were against a potential constitutional change that could let President Alpha Conde seek a third term in office.
These protests have been sustained through the months since, in spite of brutal attempts to suppress them from the gendarmerie and other security forces. So far, over 30 unarmed civilians have been killed. Undaunted, the protestors have continued to demonstrate their determination to defend the constitutional order and frustrate the determination of their 82-year old President to rule forever. Under pressure from determined citizens and the pushback from La Francophonie, AU and ECOWAS following doubts on the integrity of the voter register, President Conde was forced to postpone the referendum on the Constitution and parliamentary elections in February. Despite ECOWAS’ firm recommendation to remove 2,438,992 voters registered without supporting documents on March 10th, the Government and CENI have decided to hastily call for the polls without adequate time for political actors to confirm implementation of the measure. The tragedy of Alpha Conde is that he struggled for democracy for decades but abandoned democratic principles as soon as he obtained power. He has been steadfast in refusing to establish the conditions for free and fair elections in the country and rejected opposition proposals for the establishment of a level playing ground for elections. The positive element of the story is that the people remain determined to keep the spirit and practice of democracy alive in Guinea.
Guinea’s nascent democracy currently hangs in the balance with the country on the verge of falling into generalised violence. As the Constitution stands, President Conde is only allowed to serve two five-year terms. The only way that can change would be through a constitutional reform that changes the presidential limit. As African citizens, we cannot sit and watch President Alpha Conde dismantle constitutionalism and democratic rule in Guinea.
We salute the courage and determination of democrats in Guinea who are sacrificing their lives to sustain the democratic order.
We call on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union to come out boldly to challenge the anti-democratic practices of the Conde regime and support the struggle of the Guinean people against tenure elongation.
We call on President Conde himself to seek a dignified exit from his self-succession plot, retire from politics and spend quality time with his grandchildren.
Abuja, 18th March 2020
Idayat Hassan – Centre pour la Démocratie et le Développement
Jibrin Ibrahim – Centre pour la Démocratie et le Développement
Fode Sanikayi Kouyate
David Dosseh – Front Citoyen Togo Debout
Abdulazzez YZ – CITAD
BADIANE Abdoul Aziz
Auwal Musa Rafsanjani — CISLAC
Djibril Aziz BADIANE Chevalier – l’ONDH du FOSCAO et de la FENALE
Abbé Gustave SANVEE
Ganda Oumar Camara
BADIANE Abdoul Aziz