Guarded optimism for new government

Guinea’s junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara on 15 January announced a new transition government. Military officials have been named for several significant posts, including the ministries of defense, justice, health, finance, telecommunications and commerce, but the majority of posts – the remaining 21 – are filled by civilians.

In an address to the nation on 14 January, Camara spoke of the need for social and economic development, the promotion of human rights and an end to corruption. He also reiterated his promise to hold democratic elections but did not mention any specific date.

Camara – who took power in a coup on 23 December – also stressed the need to renegotiate mining contracts for the country’s lucrative bauxite reserves. 

IRIN talked to Guinean citizens and leaders of unions and opposition parties about how they see the new government.

Alpha Condé, president of the opposition Rally of the People Party (RPG)

"We hope the new government directly addresses the problems previous governments have been unable to resolve for the past 50 years. But I will never participate in a government that is not voted in in a democratic election.”

Ousmane Bah, president of the Union for Progress and Renewal party

"We have new faces in this new government and I hope they can give this country what it needs. The most important objective for the transitional government and for all Guineans is to respect the need to hold elections. In this regard we respect the speech made by President Dadis and hope that elections really do take place.”

Hadja Rabiatou Sérah Diallo, Secretary General of the National Confederation of Guinean Workers

"We will be on the front lines to applaud or denounce the actions of the new government. Guineans no longer have any time to lose.”

More on Guinea
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 State of suspended development after 50 years of independence
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Mamadouba Otis Sylla, electrician, Sandervalia section of the capital Conakry

“Neither the president nor his prime minister has appealed to opposition parties, union members or civil society leaders in building their new team. This could mean they are not really serious about building a consensus government. There are also many military members in the team’s ranks. However, in the end, whether they are military or civilian, what is important is that they improve the quality of life of Guineans.”

Kourouma Yalikhatou Bangoura, homemaker, Manquepas district, Conakry

"I noticed there are far fewer women in this government than before – only three out of 30 members. But I think the most important thing today is to have a leadership team that is able to resolve the problems that are currently keeping Guinea in misery. Dadis’s discourse is convincing and if he manages to live up to it, Guinea could take off very quickly.

Soufiane Dabo, economist, professor, University of Conakry

“It is possible the government is considering revising mining contracts to make them more in the interests of Guineans. I fear the mining companies may agree in theory but in reality will delay the procedures because the revisions may not be in their best interests. If the government makes concrete investments in basic services, it could resolve our water and electricity problems.

When it comes to holding elections in 2009 – this could be difficult because the required conditions are not yet in place. The new government must renegotiate with donors whose help we need to finance the elections.”

Soalaye Kourouma: Legal intern at the Ministry of Planning and Cooperation

"The new government seems generally good….The presence of military officers does not particularly worry me because they are university-educated. I think in the end we have to judge the new team on the work they do. Life for Guineans will not change all at once. We will be able to compare whether or not we are progressing in comparison to our neighbours, over time.”