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Guinea has a long history of coups: here are 5 things to know about the country

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Members of Guinea’s special forces are seen outside the Palace of the People in Conakry, Guinea, Sept. 6, 2021.
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Guineans have experienced military rule before, and they know that the consequences can be dangerous.

On September 5, officers of an elite special forces army unit overthrew the 83-year-old Guinean President Alpha Condé in a coup. The nation of 13 million is now under the control of junta leader Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, who has dissolved the government and made a series of pronouncements. These include an assurance of calm to the vital mining sector.

The coup was greeted by celebrations on the streets. It has also received the backing of opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo. But there is a lot of uncertainty as to what happens next.

Here are five things that observers should know about Guinea as events unfold.

1. Guineans were frustrated with Condé’s presidency. But their frustrations go beyond him.

Condé became president in 2010 in what was widely regarded as Guinea’s first democratic presidential election. The election was not itself without problems, including allegations of fraud and episodes of violence. A longtime political opposition party leader, Condé had spent decades exiled in France and had even served part of a prison term in Guinea accused (probably falsely) of trying to overthrow the government.

When Condé was elected, infrastructure was poor. Running water and electricity were scarce, roads were poorly maintained and schools and hospitals were under-resourced. Employment opportunities were few, and those that paid a living wage were almost nonexistent. Police and military forces reputedly extracted bribes from the population rather than protecting it. Political dissent was met with violence.

He pledged to boost the economy and bring much-needed improvements to the national infrastructure.

But results were mixed. Large-scale mining projects have failed to benefit most citizens. A dam intended to expand access to electricity has displaced thousands of people. And political dissent has continued to be repressed. A common critique of the government is that little has been accomplished since independence.

Still, Condé was reelected in 2015. And instead of leaving office at the end of his second term in 2020, he held a referendum on a new constitution in 2019, resetting the clock on his two-term limit. He ran for and won a third term in 2020.

From 2019 to 2020, Guinean security forces responded to popular demonstrations against the referendum and the controversial elections with lethal violence, killing scores of civilians and wounding many more. Protesters and opposition leaders were also arrested in large numbers.

2. Guineans are celebrating the coup, but still fear the military.

Videos of Guineans dancing in the streets and cheering as pickup trucks full of soldiers parade through Conakry have made the rounds on social media. But Guineans have experienced military rule before, and they know the consequences can be dangerous.

When president Sekou Touré died in office in 1984, a group of army officers staged a coup d’état. Their leader was Colonel Lansana Conté, who declared himself president and remained in office until he died in 2008. The later years of Conté’s rule saw multiple instances of military violence against civilians, most notoriously during a series of popular demonstrations in 2007.

As soon as Conté died, yet another junta took power. This one was led by Captain Moussa “Dadis” Camara. Dadis was initially popular for his public condemnations of the Conté administration’s abuses, but he began to lose support when he hinted that he intended to remain in power.

When political opposition party leaders organised a rally in Conakry’s national stadium to protest the junta’s continuing hold on the presidency, soldiers barricaded the stadium and fired into the crowds, killing at least 150 people and brutally raping dozens of women.

Dadis was removed from power and multiple military and international actors collaborated to organise the democratic transition of 2010, in which Condé was elected president.

3. Guinea is rich in resources, but that hasn’t helped most Guineans.

Guinea’s economy is built on its mineral wealth. It has the world’s largest known reserves of bauxite, the ore used to produce aluminium. The country also has significant deposits of iron ore.

The economic uncertainty following the coup has led to spikes in bauxite and aluminum prices on global markets.

Condé made the mining sector a high priority, and Guinea’s bauxite production increased massively during his presidency. But while mining accounts for some third of the nation’s economy, most Guineans haven’t benefited from it. Instead, many have experienced its impacts on land and water as actively harmful to their agrarian livelihoods.

4. Guinea is ethnically and linguistically diverse. New leaders might seek to manipulate these differences.

One of the legacies of Guinea’s post-independence socialist period, where the government emphasised national unity above all, is that Guineans were hesitant to prioritise ethnic identity over national identity. Guinea’s ethnic groupings are complex and include the Peul people (also known as Fulbe), the Malinke (also known as Maninka), the Susu, and the Forestier people. Forestier is a collective term referring to members of many smaller ethnic groups in Guinea’s Forest region.

However, this shifted significantly with the 2010 presidential elections, when Condé, who was from the Malinké group was pitted against Cellou Dalein Diallo, a Peul.

The population split its allegiance between the two candidates along ethnically defined boundaries. Condé’s repeated victories over Diallo at the polls in 2015 and 2020 resulted in a polarisation between their parties — which rely on ethnically cultivated bases.

Colonel Doumbouya seems for the moment to have attracted the support of Guineans across ethnicities. He has not framed the military takeover in ethnic terms, speaking instead of carrying out the will of “the people”.

But as events unfold, he and other figures in the military (where Fulbe are under-represented) may try to play on ethnic loyalties and differences to consolidate their power. Leading political opposition figures may do the same, given the opportunity.

5. Guinea has never had a war. But its people have endured tumultuous times, and more may be imminent.

Guinea has never had a war, though it has many of the common predictors for one. These include conflict in neighbouring countries, severe poverty, ethnically polarised politics, and a history of oppressive governments.

Conflict in Guinea would have dire effects on the West Africa region. But even if the country continues to avoid war, Guineans may well find themselves in increasingly tenuous positions during the current military takeover and a future transition to a civilian government.

Source: (TIA)


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Africa

NIPSS,dRPC Finance ministry, inaugurates TWG to monitor Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) Intervention programmes

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Participants at the TWG inauguration event in Abuja comprising representatives of MDAs and CSOs in a group picture on Tuesday, 21st September 2021
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The National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies in collaboration with the development Research and Project Center and the federal ministry of finance, budget and national planning on Tuesday inaugurates a Technical Working Group (TWG) to monitor and evaluate budgetary implementations for Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) programmes and policies.

The TWG led by Dr Zakari Lawal (mni), which is part of initiatives of the Bill and Melinda Gates’ Partnership for Advancing Women’s Economic Development, PAWED, aims at entrenching accountability in women’s economic advancement policies and programmes and the monitoring group is comprised of 10 MDAs from across Nigeria.

The event which held at the Bolton White hotels, Abuja had in attendance officials and representatives of the federal ministry of finance, budget and national planning, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies(NIPSS), dPRC, MDAs and representives of women associations as well as representatives of Christian women and Muslim women associations

The the terms of reference for the technical working group which was spelt out at the event has as parts of the objectives of the group, the provisions of support in the areas of development and implementation of the pilot monitoring and evaluation framework and to track and rate women’s empowerment project/policies/ interventions at both the national and sub national levels.

The TWG will also support the advocacy for and the dissemination of the WEE Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, support NIPSS, FMFBNP and dRPC WEE outreach and will function under the guidance and oversight of the NIPSS, FMFBNP and dRPC.

In the his address, the DG NIPSS, Brigadier C.J. Udaya, represented by Dr Nasrideen Usman, said that the TWG is constituted to foster the accountability components of the NIPSS strategies and asked that there be more clarity especially in terms of the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholders and, that it should be well articulated and clearly stated so that every stakeholders like the NIPSS, dRPC TWG and the CBN will know what is expected of them and also guide the implementation of the initiative.

He said the TWG is expected to make recommendations to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), the development Research and Projects Center (dRPC) and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMFBNP) on the development of advocacy strategies for the affective implementation of WEE policies.

He further added that the monitoring group would also support NIPSS, FMFBNP & dRPC WEE outreach and engagement activities; submit reports of its activities to NIPSS, FMFBNP & dRPC WEE at regular intervals; and carry out other ad hoc duties as requested by NIPSS, FMFBNP & the dRPC.

He remarked that ‘with women constituting over 44.82% of the labour force in Nigeria, empowering this segment of our population is not only key to achieving economic independence, but also, it is critical in sustaining the nation’s overall economic development’ therefore, the nation stands to gain as it will go a long way in address some of its economic challenges when women are economically and adequately empowered

He concluded by imploring the 20 committee members drawn from the CBN, the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Finance, budget and National planning and other MDAs, to work hard in order to ensure transparency in the implementation of women’s economic empowerment in the country.

In his goodwill speech, Dr Zakari Lawal (mni) Director, Monitoring and Evaluation, Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, stressed the need for strengthening the monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for women’s economic empowerment in the country and gave assurance of the federal government readiness to set in mechanisms to promote transparency in the allocation and implementation of policies in the country.

He expressed gratitude to all the stakeholders and MDAs involved with the the project and urged the would be leaders of TWG to take their responsibilities with all seriousness.

At the end of the inaugural event , Princess Adeshola Ogunleye and Mrs Mary Madu Haman emerged the chair and co-chairpersons respectively .

The TWG will be training participants in techniques and skills for tracking budget allocation and implementation on Wednesday and Thursday at the Bolton White Hotel in Abuja.


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NSCDC dismisses viral video on ‘bandit personnel’

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The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has dismissed a viral video purporting that a member of the corps confessed to being a bandit.

The suspected bandit, Mr Abdullah Saidu, in the viral video called himself personnel of the Corps.

This is contained in a statement issued by the NSCDC Spokesperson, Mr Olusola Odumosu, in Abuja.

Newsmen report that Saidu was arrested in connection to a group of armed bandits terrorising some parts of Koton Karfe Local Government Area of Kogi.

The spokesperson said that the NSCDC has set up a team to investigate the available records to confirm the authenticity of Saidu’s claims that he was the corps personnel.

“The general public shall be adequately briefed on subsequent findings.“Based on the aforementioned, the purported video where the alleged suspect openly confessed to the crime did not in any way give credence to or affirm his membership to the Corps.

“Experience has shown that criminals are fond of impersonating security operatives in order to divert attention, subvert investigation or get away with the crime,” he said.

Odumosu further noted that the NSCDC was saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and property amongst others.

“The Corps will not in any way condone any saboteur of national security or sponsorship of criminals.”He reiterated the Corps’ zeal to discharge its statutory mandates without compromise but with humility and integrity.

He said the NSCDC will continue to synergise with sister agencies to combat crimes in the country.

Source: (NAN)


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Federal government to incorporate NNPC board in six months

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President Muhammadu Buhari
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President Muhammadu Buhari said on Sunday he had appointed a board for the NNPC and directed that it should be incorporated within six months, a move that could allow it to sell shares in the future.

The President signed the petroleum bill into law last month which has been in the works for nearly two decades, aiming to overhaul the sector and turn the state-owned oil company into a private firm.

The new oil law requires NNPC to be incorporated within six months, Buhari said in a statement, appointing Ifeanyi Ararume as NNPC chairman and its current Chief Executive Mele Kyari to lead the firm.

Kyari has said NNPC could consider an initial public offering (IPO) within three years. The incorporation could pave the way for NNPC to sell shares.

Buhari said last month that NNPC made its first profit in 44 years in 2020.

Source:(Global World News)


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