Two Guinean ministers quit government after crackdown


Two Guinean opposition ministers have resigned from President Alpha Conde’s government after their party decided to break ties with the ruling party following a violent crackdown of opposition protest, a letter seen by Reuters showed on Saturday.

The mineral-rich west African nation has struggled to complete a transition to civilian rule since 2010 because the final step in the process — parliamentary elections — has been repeatedly delayed by disputes between rival political camps.

Conde’s opponents question his will to hold genuinely free elections and have taken to the streets in a series of protests which have triggered violent clashes with security forces.

The latest protest last Monday saw the arrest of over one hundred opposition demonstrators in the world’s biggest bauxite exporter. Guinea also has massive untapped iron ore, gold and diamond reserves.

According to the letter dated August 27 and addressed to Prime Minister Mohamed Said Fofana, Planning Minister Souleymane Cisse and Aboubacar Sidiki Koulibaly, minister of Economy and Finance, both of the PEDN party, said they were resigning from the government.
“We have been informed by the PEDN of its decision to withdraw its members from the administration,” the letter said.
“Taking note of this decision and in strict observance of the discipline and moral values that govern all organisations, we want to notify you of our decision to … terminate our participation in government,” the ministers said.

Conde’s government has not commented on the resignation, but a source at the president’s office confirmed that the two ministers have resigned.

Tensions have been rising in Guinea between Conde’s administration and the opposition, which has accused him of attempting to consolidate power by pre-rigging the legislative polls in his favour.

Wrangling over how to organise the vote has caused the date of the poll, initially meant to come on the heels of Conde’s election in late 2010, to backslide repeatedly, worsening simmering political and ethnic tensions.

Guinean opposition parties have also said they will no longer participate in the National Transitional Council, which serves as an interim parliament, and will also boycott the national electoral commission.

Guinea’s donors including the European Union, have said they will only resume full cooperation with the country after the legislative election, which was meant to complete its transition from military rule to a civilian government.