News / Africa

UN Mission in West Africa Encouraged by Guinea Vote Preparations

The United Nations Secretary General's Special Representative for West Africa says he is encouraged by preparations for elections in Guinea that are meant to return the country to civilian rule.

With three months to go before elections to end military rule in Guinea, U.N. Special Representative Said Djinnit says preparations for the vote are going well. "Really, overall the situation is quite positive. I think things are moving on the right track so far honestly," he said.

Djinnit heads the United Nations Office for West Africa. In an interview with VOA following his meeting with Guinea's acting military leader General Sekouba Konate, Djinnit says the current transitional government is a model of power sharing.

"We have on the one hand a general who is the head of state and the leader of the transition who is very committed to returning the country back to democracy and to the rule of law. On the other hand, for the first time in the history of that country, force vive and the opposition forces are in charge of the country during the transition. They have been calling for a quick return to constitutional order. Now they are in charge of making it happen," he said.

As part of the regionally-backed transition plan, neither General Konate nor civilian Prime Minister Jean-Marie Dore or any other member of the interim government is eligible to run in elections scheduled for June 27.

The vote is meant to return the country to civilian rule after a December 2008 coup. Captain Moussa Dadis Camara took charge of the military government. One year later, he was shot in the head by the former chief of the presidential guard who accused the captain of trying to blame him for the killing of opposition demonstrators.

With Captain Camara still recovering from his wounds in Burkina Faso, General Konate is leading this transitional authority. And he has made clear to the army that he will not tolerate any threat to a return to democracy, warning anyone who uses ethnicity or tries to make trouble that they will be wiped out without hesitation.

Djinnit says the international community understands well how fragile the situation in Guinea remains. "General Konate himself stated that there are still some elements within the army who might have different opinions on the transition. And we know the background from which the country is emerging, so it is not difficult to believe that," he said.

While most of the much-needed security sector reform in Guinea will come after the election, Djinnit says there are some things that should be done now including a reorganization of the military and improvements in basic equipment and facilities including barracks to show soldiers that the international community is committed to help transforming the army.

"General Konate has made it his priority because he knows very well his army, he is one of them, and he is quite clear on what needs to be done during the transition. And he would like to make sure that the new president is elected safely, peacefully, and democratically. That will lead the country forward," he said.

General Konate met with Djinnit here in Senegal where he also held talks with President Abdoulaye Wade and met with members of the Guinean community in Dakar. It is part of the military leader's outreach to both Guineans abroad and regional heads of state that included talks in Bamako last month with Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs