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Guinea demonstrations trigger an “avoidable political crisis”

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The demonstrations taking place in Guinea since Monday, 14 October 2019, have triggered “a perfectly foreseeable and avoidable political crisis,” Beninese political analyst, Gilles Yabi, said on Wednesday, 16 October 2019.

“We are in a situation that was provoked by the intention to change the constitution without really understanding the arguments that could justify this, other than President Alpha Conde’s rumored willingness to prolong his stay in power,” his second term ending in a year’s time, Gilles Yabi, a former journalist at the weekly magazine, Jeune Afrique, explained.

On Monday, the opposition reported five deaths, while the government said only two people were killed, including a gendarme, following demonstrations launched across the country by FNDC to denounce what they consider an attempt by Alpha Conde to seek reelection.

For Gilles Yabi, “Casualties have caused a dangerous situation.”

Alpha Conde is expected to speak to his compatriots on Tuesday, following Monday’s deadly clashes. But his speech will only sway “widespread protests” if he gives up his referendum project, said Mr. Yabi, the founder of Wathi, a multidisciplinary think tank on West African dynamics.

“The content of the message will be decisive if it deals with giving up this project. But if it’s about simply taking note of the demonstrations and reminding that the government will tolerate no excesses, it will not change the situation and the protests will go on,” he warned.

However, Gilles Yabi does not lose hope in the sense of responsibility of Alpha Conde, saying that “we have to wait for (the) message (tonight). Maybe it will convey an awareness of the gravity of the situation and that will have an announcement perhaps unexpected.

“We’ve witnessed various cases of constitutional change in Africa that was limited to a mere desire for the incumbent president to stay in power. So I think that today, in Guinea, everyone is well aware that this is the most likely hypothesis.

Even though “the current constitution controls a number of articles including those relating to the number of terms,” the president of Wathi went on, insisting that “many mysteries and suspicions” still weigh on the draft of Guinea’s new constitution.

-APA

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