News / Africa

Guinea Suffering From 'Gridlock Fatigue'

Anti-riot policemen deploy across Conakry to separate rival gang fighters, March 1, 2013.Anti-riot policemen deploy across Conakry to separate rival gang fighters, March 1, 2013.
x
Anti-riot policemen deploy across Conakry to separate rival gang fighters, March 1, 2013.
Anti-riot policemen deploy across Conakry to separate rival gang fighters, March 1, 2013.
Nancy Palus
The political deadlock in Guinea shows little sign of easing, as the government and opposition trade accusations and violent street clashes once again eclipse all other agendas. On Monday, opposition leaders opted out of a meeting the government says was a bid to tackle disputes about much-delayed legislative elections.

The meeting came days after a clash involving opposition protesters, security forces and pro-government youths in the capital, Conakry, left at least three people dead and many more injured. Each political faction says the other is not serious about fixing the problem, and many citizens doubt the politicians can.

The government says it has launched a dialogue process that should lead to transparent legislative elections. Skeptical Guineans are watching and waiting.

The main opposition coalition, which sent a spokesperson to Monday’s meeting, denounced the government’s convening of a broad spectrum of political parties rather than having direct talks as the opposition has long demanded.

Charges, counter-charges

Mouctar Diallo, a former government minister and a member of the main opposition coalition, said the government is simply trying to cast an image of itself as an honest broker and buy time for its fraudulent agenda. He said President Alpha Condé and his party have never been open to meaningful dialogue.

The opposition says the government is bent on rigging the election and has laid out a list of demands, including changing the company selected to revise electoral lists.

The question among Guinea watchers is whether the opposition’s grievances are valid or simply the intransigence of political leaders whose followers have never accepted Condé as president. Some also question why the Condé government has not yet held elections and what is stopping it from reaching out to the opposition if it would help move things forward.

For its part, the government says the opposition has been unreasonable and must demonstrate a will to find common ground.

Government spokesman Damantang Albert Camara maintains the opposition has said that as long as the government does not cede to every last one of their demands, the demonstrations will continue. It is a stance, he said, that seems a bit extreme. It is time for all sides to be reasonable, he said, to show good faith and make an effort.

Citizens express frustration

Meanwhile one Guinea specialist in Conakry says a sort of “gridlock fatigue” has set in internally and among international actors.

Many Guinean citizens, regardless of their political leanings, say they are extremely tired of the deadlock and its impact.

Commerce has yet to return to normal following yet another cycle of violence in Conakry, where countless people depend on daily, menial trade to feed their families.

Aboubacar Sayon Fofana, a university student in Conakry, said no one wants to invest where there are street clashes every other day. He said he wants to get a decent job, get married and get on with his life, and that Guineans should not have to wait for politicians to get their act together.  

Abdourahamane Sano, former government minister and head of a national civil society coalition, said the space for moderate voices might be small in Guinea and these voices are not as widely heard as the politicians, but they are there.

He said, at the local level, people are talking and educating one another on keeping the peace - something not seen among the politicians. He said the political class appears bent on maintaining a combative approach, which he said is completely unacceptable.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More