Less than a year since Guinea’s Junta led by Col Mamadi Doumboya took over the country in a military coup in September, 2021, protests returned to the streets of Conakry on Wednesday 6 July 2022, following the arrests of the leaders of the Front National for the Defence of the Constitution on Tuesday afternoon.
Mamadou Billo Bah, Oumar Sylla AKA Fonike Mengue and rapper Alpha Madieu Bah AKA Djani Alpha were violently wrestled and dragged into pickup trucks by security forces as they hold a press conference at their headquarters in Bonfi-Kipe, in the Commune de Ratoma area of Conakry.
Their detention and the manner in which they were manhandled by security forces, sparked anger and protests on Tuesday night and Wednesday in many parts of the capital. Security forces spent their day firing tear gas, chasing youths up and down in some suburbs of Conakry as they burnt tyres, blocked the main road (Route De Prince) and forced shops to shut down.
The trio’s detention was condemned by many political parties and civil societies in the country including the two main opposition parties, the Union for Democratic Forces in Guinea and the Union of Republican Forces led by former Prime Ministers Cellou Dalein Diallo and Sydia Toure. They have asked for the immediate release of the three men and the return to constitutional order as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile, the FNDC has suspended all dialogue with the military junta and has demanded the immediate release of their colleagues without any conditions. But on Wednesday, Guinea’s prosecutor general, Alphonso Charles Wright said the three men were arrested because of their plans to destabilize the country by calling for protest. He lamented that the trio’s hidden agenda is to support a “candidate to get to power.”
This all comes amid economic hardship and plans by the FNDC and other political parties in the country to organize a nationwide protest to highlight what they described as Col. Mamadi Doumbouya and his Junta government’s plan to prolong the transition inorder to stay in power. The FNDC had called for a protest on Thursday, 23 June, 2022 but this was canceled after Prime Minister Mohamed Biavogui called for a “meaningful dialogue,” with all parties involved.
A dialogue meeting between the Junta, the FNDC and many political parties in the country was held on Monday, 27th June 2022. But after the meeting many of those who attended said they were not wasting their time to return for any further dialogue until the junta changed its strategy to a realistic one because the meeting they had attended was a window dressing by the Junta to avoid sanctions from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
However, if that was the case, the Junta were successful this time as they escaped ECOWAS sanctions at least for a month, when a summit was held in Ghana’s capital Accra on Sunday 3, July 2022 to discuss the current political crisis in Guinea, Mali and Burkina Faso respectively.
At the summit, former president, Yayi Boni of Benin was appointed as the new mediator between ECOWAS and Guinea, replacing Mohamed Ibn Chambas of Ghana, whom many Guineans had accused of being biased during his mediation between former president Alpha Conde and the opposition. Col. Doumbouya’s government was also granted a month to start a meaningful dialogue between all parties involved and also to reduce the length of the transition from 36 months to a maximum of 24 months or face economic sanctions and other bilateral agreements in the region. At the time of publishing this article, Mamadou Billo Bah, Oumar Sylla and rapper Alpha Madieu Bah were still not not charged to court.
By Baillor Jalloh