Guinea\’s junta launches anti-corruption driveOn 06/30/2019 by admin
Guinea\’s new military leader promised to renegotiate mining contracts and crack down on corruption as he met with local people, keen to consolidate his bloodless coup.
Guinea, the world\’s top bauxite exporter, will renegotiate all mining contracts and freeze gold extraction until further notice, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara said.
“We have blocked the mining sector,” he told around 1,000 representatives of civil society at the junta\’s base in Conakry. “There will be a renegotiation of contracts.”
“In gold mining areas, the decision has already been taken: no more extraction until further notice,” he added.
Strategic local forum
The representatives of political parties, trade unions, religious faiths and civil associations had been summoned to the open-air meeting at the Alfa Yaya Diallo camp near Conakry\’s international airport.
Those present included the speaker of parliament, Aboubacar Sompare, who under the constitution should have succeeded as acting head of state following the death late Monday of President Lansana Conte.
Sompare had contested the legitimacy of the coup leaders who seized power within hours of Conte\’s death, but was undermined on Thursday when prime minister Tidiane Souare and his government pledged loyalty to Camara.
Camara pledged to root out corruption in the mineral-rich country, warning that “anyone who has misappropriated state assets for his benefit, if caught, will be judged and punished before the people.”
Calls for support and change
The coup leader said that under Conte\’s 1984-2008 rule, Guinea had suffered a “great embezzlement” of public funds. However, he absolved Conte personally of corruption, describing him as “honest” and called for a minute\’s silence in memory of the late dictator.
But he said “there are ministers who surrounded the head of state who looted the country, who constructed buildings, and had bank accounts everywhere.
“At a time when the president was tired, all the people who surrounded him filled their pockets,” he added.
Announcing an action plan to clean up the government, Camara lambasted “the irresponsibility and notorious incapacity” of the parliament and the corruption of the government he toppled this week.
Trade union leader Rabiatou Serah Diallo, a fierce opponent of Conte\’s regime, welcomed the speech, particularly Camara\’s promise to punish those guilty of corruption. “The fight against impunity must become a reality in Guinea,” she said.
Almost all Guinea\’s trade unions and opposition parties have refrained from condemning the coup.
During his speech, the captain was flanked by Lieutenant-Colonel Sekouba Konate, the third highest-ranking member of the military junta who later Saturday was named its defence minister.
The junta, in a statement read on national radio, was supposed to hold another “informational meeting” with the diplomatic community later Saturday but postponed it to next Tuesday because the public meeting called for 1000 GMT had overrun.
Mixed international response
The coup has been largely condemned abroad and the African Union said it would continue to oppose it as unconstitutional.
However the junta on Friday was backed by regional heavyweight Senegal, whose President Abdoulaye Wade said Camara was an honest young man who had taken power to fill a dangerous vacuum.
The military leadership said Saturday it was lifting a curfew on the capital Conakry after a military source said soldiers had used the measure to extort money or property from civilians.
Soldiers who sought to profit from the country\’s political uncertainty and “violate” the curfew would be “severely sanctioned,” according to the announcement on state radio.
More than a third of the world\’s bauxite reserves are located in Guinea, making it the second-largest producer internationally after Australia and the world\’s biggest exporter.
It also has large reserves of gold, diamonds, iron and nickel, while uranium deposits were found at various sites in 2007.
Despite its vast natural resources, the West African nation ranks 160th out of 177 in the UN\’s development scale.