Guinea: “The junta is playing with the clock to stay in power as long as possible”

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Many voices have been raised after the suppression of the latest demonstrations in Guinea. Civil society organizations and political parties expressed their disapproval. But they suspended any march for two weeks, to give West Africa a chance to mediate. What are these organizations asking for? What state of mind are they in? Interview with Étienne Soropogui, one of the leaders of “Forces vives de la nation”.

RFI: The Living Force of the Nation calls for the opening of a constructive dialogue with the junta, the National Rally Committee for Development (CNRD). What are the points you want to discuss with Colonel Doumbouya and his colleagues? ?

Etienne Soropogui : It is important that a framework for discussion be put in place and that we explore many issues to enable a speedy return to constitutional order. This is the particular question of the deadline for the transition, that this deadline can be checked in a joint way by all political and social forces in Guinea, naturally with the military junta in power. When everyone agrees to say that the transition is also intended to return to the constitutional order, it is important that a compromise is found in the nature of the bodies that can make this return, especially those electoral bodies.

Because you currently have the feeling that this framework for dialogue does not exist with the junta?

The one put in place doesn’t seem sincere enough. We have the impression that the junta is trying to play for time to stay in power as long as possible. He’s not trying to open up so that together, working together, we can make the decisions we need to get out of this transition quickly.

You were a part of it opponents detained under Alpha Condé. Seeing Foniké Mengué back in detention, together with the Secretary General of the Union of Republican Forces Saikou Yaya Barry, do you have the impression that the new Guinean leaders are reversing the mistakes of the regime they overthrew?

In fact, I was one of those released the day after September 5 (the date of the coup that led to the downfall of Alpha Condé, editor’s note) from Coronthie prison. But unfortunately, we have the impression that we are facing a remake of everything that was done under President Alpha Condé, which justified the illegal seizure of power. Now most of the freedoms are confiscated, now the civil society leaders, the political leaders have difficulties to leave the national territory because the passports are confiscated, the soldiers return to the level of the main arteries of Conakry. I am talking to you today, I have no guarantee that tomorrow morning, a dozen pick-ups will not come to my house, in front of my children, to take me to a place I do not know- the.

I believe that today, everything is done to tighten the screws of repression, that a certain number of people who are against what is being done will be afraid and stop the struggle. But, of course, people must understand that it is not because we are afraid of dying or because we are afraid of going to prison that we abandon the democratic values ​​that we fought for a time to be trampled. by the soldiers who had just taken power in Guinea.

The demonstrations have been suspended until August 15, 2022 to allow for the mediation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). What do you expect from this mediation ?

We dare to hope that this season will allow everyone to return their goals to a better balance so that we can return to the table. [des discussions]. Unfortunately, based on the deadline given, if we do not get anything, we are obliged, as we said in our statement, to relaunch the demonstrations because that is only to demand the legitimate demands that we have.

Do you know if an approach or visit of the ECOWAS mediator in Guinea, the Beninese Thomas Boni Yayi, is planned or ongoing?

He wants, because of the palpable tension we have now in Conakry, to come quickly so that we can put things in their proper proportion. But from the information we have received, the current authorities do not want to answer his calls.

Also read: Organizations and diplomats urgently call for inclusive dialogue in Guinea

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