News / Africa

Veteran Politician Chosen as Guinea's New Prime Minister

Acting military leader Gen. Sekouba Konate approves that choice, following talks in Burkina Faso with the country's injured military leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara.

Guinea's acting military leader has chosen a veteran politician to be the country's new prime minister, as part of a transitional government leading to elections in June.

General Sekouba Konate has named veteran opposition politician Jean-Marie Dore to help lead a transitional authority.

Mr. Dore is the head of the Union for the Progress of Guinea party and will serve as the country's interim prime minister, ahead of elections planned for June.

Mr. Dore told reporters in Conakry that he is the consensus choice by the opposition coalition of political parties, civil society groups and trade unions and he has accepted their nomination to become the new prime minister.

General Konate approved that choice, following talks in Burkina Faso with the country's injured military leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara.  Like Captain Camara, Mr. Dore is from one of the ethnic minority groups in Guinea's Forestiere Region.

Under terms of a regionally-backed power-sharing agreement, General Konate and Prime-Minister-Designate Dore will jointly lead a 101-member interim authority organizing new elections to return Guinea to constitutional rule, following the military coup that brought Captain Camara to power 13 months ago.

Everyone in that transitional authority and in the current ruling military council will be barred from running in that election. There will also be foreign civilian and military observers in Guinea to help ensure the security of the transitional authority.

Those are key parts of the plan that were rejected by Captain Camara's allies last month, leading some to suggest that he was forced into this plan, in part, because of his poor health.

In a nationwide address calling for calm and reconciliation, Captain Camara asked the sons and daughters of Guinea to give General Konate all the necessary support for the cause of democracy.

He says he willingly agreed to the transitional authority and asked soldiers to set aside personal considerations and ethnicity, because there is nothing to gain from further confrontation.

Captain Camara was shot December Third, by the former chief of the presidential guard who says Captain Camara was trying to blame him for the killing of opposition demonstrators in September.  A United Nations inquiry into that violence says there are sufficient grounds for presuming that Captain Camara has direct criminal responsibility for that killing.

Corinne Dufka heads West Africa operations for Human Rights Watch.  As the transition begins, she says justice for the victims of September 28 must not be forgotten.

"Remember, the crisis in Guinea was not just a constitutional crisis created by the coup d'etat, a little bit over a year ago," said Dufka. "There is also a long-standing crisis of impunity in great part which lead to the events that we saw in September -- that is the silencing of opposition voices, the killing of over 150 peaceful demonstrators and the raping of numerous women. So the importance of ensuring that those who are most responsible for that violence be held accountable must remain front and center."

A Human Rights Watch report into that violence says Jean-Marie Dore's home was ransacked the night of September 28.  Mr. Dore told investigators that he believes soldiers came to kill him, but he was not at home.  He was at a clinic being treated for wounds suffered when he was beaten by the presidential guard outside the stadium where the protest was being held.

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