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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

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