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Nomination Of Prime Minister Sparks Violent Protests

Violence has erupted in Guinea following president Lansana Conte’s nomination of his close allay Eugene Camara as prime minister. The violence appears to have been sparked by President Lansana Conte’s unpopular choice of Mr. Camara who has been in government for several years and working as the minister for presidential affairs.

The nomination was to meet the deadline set by the trade unions to avoid strikes. But the unions and the people who want a change in leadership have rejected the president’s choice.

Dore Mory is the Vice Chairman for the Guinea Association for the promotion of Democracy. He told VOA reporter Douglas Mpuga that the people of Guinea could no longer trust Mr. Conte.

He said “it was no surprise that instead of Lansana Conte doing what the people of Guinea had expected him to do, he did exactly the opposite by nominating a prime minister who has been his minister for presidential affairs; ‘he did not change anything, he did not respect or honor anything that he had agreed with the unions.”

Mr. Mory said the tide of change in Guinea is irreversible, “the downfall of Lansana Conte is a long process that began in March 2006 with the first demonstrations of workers”. This was the last chance he was given to choose a prime minister totally independent and with more power and that way he would prepare for his retirement.

But Mr. Conte didn’t see it that way and we definitely believe the street will win, workers are going to win”.

He said the trade unions’ deadline is Monday (February 10, 2007) but the people have lost patience and trust in the president and hence the early protests. “the strike started yesterday (Friday) and its going to be countrywide. He (Lansana Conte) lost the country already. He only has Conakry because of soldiers around him,” he noted.

Mr. Mory also dispelled fears of a civil “I think we are blessed in that regard; some people think Guinea will be plunged into civil war. We don’t see it that way because it is Lansana Conte on one side and ten million people on the other.” He added, “We only have to manage the change smartly and called on the international community to lean on Conte to leave power.”

The unions and other civil society organizations are demanding that the president steps down. President Conte who seized power in a 1984 coup but has since won three elections is in ill health.