News / Africa

Guinea's Acting Military Leader Calls for Opposition Prime Minister



Guinea's acting military leader says political parties should immediately choose a new prime minister to help lead the country to free elections. He says the life of the country's military chief is not in danger, more than a month after he was shot in an apparent assassination attempt.

Facing the threat of nationwide strikes, General Sekouba Konate has given the most authoritative report to date on the condition of military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, who has been in a Moroccan military hospital for more than a month after being shot in the head by the former chief of the presidential guard.

By the grace of God and fervent prayers, Konate says, Captain Camara's life is not in danger.  But he says it will take time, patience, and additional medical care before he fully recovers.

In a televised address, Konate says he went to Morocco to help revitalize a transition that began when the military took power in a coup one year ago.

During that visit, Konate met with U.S. and French diplomats to discuss the political crisis and its impact on regional stability. The United States and France both want a civilian-led transitional government to organize free elections, and both say that is more likely if Captain Camara does not return to Guinea.

Konate says he and Captain Camara spoke frankly about the country's expectations in what he calls "these critical times of our history." He says the ruling military council must restore confidence between the government and its citizens, through mutual respect, while ending Guinea's international isolation by returning quickly to democratic values.

Konate says breaking with the past can only be achieved by opening a new moral, political, and social contract with the support of all political parties, civil society groups, and international partners to begin a new transition process that is fair and transparent.

So Konate says Guinea's ruling military council has decided that its opponents should immediately choose a new prime minister who will be appointed after consulting with other social groups to form a new transitional government.

Opposition politicians have refused previous power-sharing proposals because they say the military would have too much authority, especially as the army is rejecting international calls for foreign civilian and military observers to protect a transitional government.

Konate says the military "solemnly and firmly" pledges to guarantee the security of opposition leaders with joint security units from the gendarmerie, the police, and the army.

Konate says these units will be under the minister in charge of presidential security to ensure the protection of opposition leaders at all times during the duration of the transition.

Since taking charge following Captain Camara's shooting, Konate has repeatedly called for military discipline and respect for civilians after the killing of at least 157 opposition demonstrators in September.

A U.N. investigation says that violence amounts to a crime against humanity that is directly attributable to the military government, including Captain Camara. The inquiry is calling on the  International Criminal Court to take action against Captain Camara and other members of the ruling council for what it calls "systematic" and "organized" killing.


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