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

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Music Brings Generations Together

When musicians over the age of 50 headline a rock concert, you expect to see baby boomer fans in the audience. Boomer rock stars have boomer fans. Millennial rock stars have millennial fans. But this isn’t always the case. Take the Lockn’ Music festival which took place in mid-September in rural Arrington, Virginia. Here, Jacquelyn de Phillips discovered two generations of people who are considered quite different in the outside world, spending 4 days together in music-loving harmony.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs