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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs