News / Africa

Guinea's New Cabinet Another Step in Political Transition

FILE - Guinea's President Alpha Condé.
FILE - Guinea's President Alpha Condé.
Jennifer Lazuta
Guinea’s President Alpha Condé has issued a decree naming a new government without any opposition members.  Although Guineans have had mixed reactions to the announcement, analysts say the reshuffle could be a promising next step in the country’s transition to democracy.  

Guinea’s President Alpha Condé named a new 34-member Cabinet this week, just a few months after long-delayed legislative elections finally established a National Assembly.

In total, 15 ministers were replaced, while 19 others were either reappointed or named to other positions within the government.  The former prime minister kept his post.

The International Foundation for Electoral System’s chief representative in Guinea, Elizabeth Coté, said the president's move was not that surprising.

“There had been a decree a few weeks ago where the president had asked the prime minister to resign, and all the members of his government, and it’s something that is often seen in francophone countries when there is a new National Assembly.  It’s a time for reshuffling the government, and everybody was actually rooting for an even more intense reshuffle. If anything, they were surprised by the mildness of it," said Coté.

Coté said while the Cabinet has no members from the opposition coalition, most of the president's choices come with strong track records and good reputations.  

“I think it's a little bit more professional now, I would say, and less a government of paying back to friends, longtime militants - more of a government, as they call it, of 'mission.'  One could then try to define what that mission is, but that mission is for sure to keep the [ruling] party in place for a second mandate.  But it also will be taking care of business, because I think they do realize as well that they have to show something for this re-election," she said.

President Condé is up for re-election in 2015.  The country has been on a rocky transition to democracy ever since a December 2008 military coup that followed the death of authoritarian President Lansana Conte.

Politics in Guinea, which has a long history of ethnic tensions and human rights violations, has been plagued by violent and often deadly protests, along with allegations of corruption.

Legislative elections, originally supposed to take place by June 2011, were finally held in September 2012.  The creation of a National Assembly was considered by many to be the final step in the transition to democracy, but the country still has a long way to go.

Corinne Dufka is a senior researcher in the Africa division of Human Rights Watch.

“The new government has a lot of work set out for them.  Guineans remain desperately poor and the judiciary remains weak.  The police, which underscores the rule of law, remain very weak, and there are increasing reports of corrupt and non-transparent practices.  So all those issues need to be addressed, and there has to be a strong rule of law for development to happen in Guinea," said Dufka.

Dufka said that the hope is that even without any opposition representation in the new Cabinet, their strength in the newly-elected parliament will allow healthy debate to take place on the issues that matter.

She added that the National Assembly will also help to reduce some of the concentration of executive power over the last several years.

Guineans say they hope that the reshuffling of the government is a sign that the country is finally ready to move forward.  

Miriama Sylla, a teacher in Conakry, offers her views.

"People were hoping for a more representative and unified national government, but the most important thing is that the opposition are represented in the parliament.  Hopefully now the debate can leave the streets and continue in the assembly, where both parties exist, and they can work together to bring about change,"said Sylla.

Guinea’s next political test will likely come when the electoral commission holds local and community-level elections, which are supposed to take place during the first term of 2014.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs