Guinée: Incertitudes Autour d’une Fin de Règne / Guinea: Uncertainties at the End of an Era

Rumours about the president's health and the prospective early end of his time in office have placed Guinea in a state of alarming uncertainty. Its government and its political elite must now work closely with the international community in order to stabilise the country in the mid-term if it is not to risk the same fate as its West African neighbours and drift into civil war. While no one doubts that President Lansana Conté will be reelected on 21 December, it is high time for Guinea to prepare for a political transition through its first transparent and democratic elections as soon as Conté leaves office. The population is suffering heavily from the social and economic crisis, and the leadership continues to suppress critical voices through intimidation and state violence. Despite a heritage of voter apathy closely related to the history of police violence in the country, public passivity should no longer be taken as given. The more the government suppresses popular discontent, the greater the risk of radicalisation. Guinea and its international partners have to keep the country out of West Africa's volatile regional crisis in order to minimise the danger of a possible civil war. The present report warns of the danger of a drift toward violence, including because of the government's involvement in the Liberian conflict, and provides recommendations to reduce these risks.