Viewing cable 08CONAKRY16
Title: YOUTH SAY STRIKES ARE A BAD IDEA

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
08CONAKRY162008-01-08 05:57:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Conakry
VZCZCXRO6623
PP RUEHPA
DE RUEHRY #0016/01 0080557
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 080557Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY CONAKRY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2021
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CONAKRY 000016 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/07/2018 
TAGS: PGOV ELAB KDEM GV
SUBJECT: YOUTH SAY STRIKES ARE A BAD IDEA 
 
Classified By: POL/ECON CHIEF SHANNON CAZEAU FOR REASON 1.4 B AND D 
 
¶1.  (C) SUMMARY.  According to a Conakry youth leader, 
Guinea,s young people do not support the unions, plan to 
resume a nationwide labor strike on January 10, which could 
prematurely escalate political tension.  Many of Conakry,s 
youth reportedly do not think that the prime minister has 
effectively delivered the change they demanded in early 2007 
and does not warrant the support a nationwide strike would 
demonstrate.  At the same time, some youths are hesitant to 
boycott the strike since they do not want to be seen 
supporting the president.  According to contact, many youth 
feel that the best possible solution to Guinea,s current 
political problems would be a coup d,etat.  END SUMMARY. 
 
¶2.  (C) Poloff met with Thierno Balde, a Stanford University 
educated local youth leader, on January 7.  Balde has been 
working with youth associations in Conakry in recent months 
in order to encourage unity and develop a concrete strategy 
for advancing the interests of Guinea,s young people.  He 
also has plans to bring together youth associations from 
other parts of the country in order to work towards forming a 
national forum for youth.  Balde lives in Hamdallaye, which 
is almost always one of the first of Conakry,s districts to 
erupt into violence when things heat up politically in the 
capital.  Balde said that a group of approximately 25 youth 
leaders met on January 5 to discuss the current political 
situation and have additional meetings planned for January 7 
and 8. 
 
¶3.  (C) According to Balde, there are basically two schools 
of thought on the current political situation among 
Conakry,s youth.  The first group thinks that a nationwide 
labor strike is a bad idea.  Balde said that many in this 
camp are simply disappointed with Prime Minister Kouyate and 
feel that he has done nothing to address the problems 
critical to youth:  unemployment and lack of economic 
opportunity.  Furthermore, Balde said that this group is not 
willing to  go into the street and get killed, for Kouyate. 
 Balde said that there is also a contingent within this group 
which is not interested in the strike because it is being 
paid to support one faction or another (COMMENT.  He did not 
specify which faction.  END COMMENT). 
 
¶4.  (C) The second camp, Balde said, does not fully support 
the idea of labor strikes, but feels that people must 
demonstrate support for the unions because if they do not, 
they will be tacitly supporting President Conte.  According 
to Balde, for this group it is a matter of choosing the 
lesser of two evils ) they are not happy with Kouyate, but 
Conte is intolerable. 
 
¶5.  (C) Balde said that the youth believe that young people 
paid the price the last time around since most of the blood 
shed was that of Guinea,s youth.  Balde added that they are 
not willing to pay that price this time around unless they 
are certain that it will result in real political change. 
 With Kouyate,, Balde said,  there is no role for the 
youth and even if the crisis is resolved, there still will be 
no role for youth., 
 
¶6.  (C) According to Balde, Conakry,s youth are envisioning 
three possible scenarios in relation to resolving current 
political tensions.  The first scenario involves Conte firing 
Kouyate, which Balde said may not be problematic for the 
youth as long as Conte appoints an acceptable replacement. 
The second scenario is that the strike moves forward on 
January 10, of which Balde said no one has a clear idea of 
how that may develop or what impact it will have.  The third 
scenario would be a military coup, and that, Balde said, is 
what most of the youth are hoping for. 
 
¶7.  (C) Balde emphasized that whatever happens, the youth 
want a clear solution; they want to see a clear path leading 
toward change.  According to Balde, the youth see Conte as 
the main problem and his removal would clear the arena and 
enable a new leader to start over.  However, Balde said, if 
there is a coup, whoever takes control needs to focus on one 
thing:  organize legislative elections and then immediately 
hand power over to the new National Assembly. 
 
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COMMENT 
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¶8.  (C) Balde,s comments suggest that the youth may be both 
impatient and naive concerning the current political context 
- impatient in the sense that they expect change overnight 
and naive in the sense that their proposed solution, a coup 
d,etat, would bring the change they are looking for.  Balde 
said the youth did not have any clear idea of who would take 
 
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power in a coup situation, nor of how they would influence a 
new government that forcefully seized power.  Balde seemed 
confident in his ability to keep the youth out of the streets 
during the upcoming labor strike.  He said that if he tells 
them to stay home during the strikes, not as a demonstration 
of support for the unions, but as a way to avoid violence, he 
thinks they will.  However, Guinea,s young people remain an 
unknown variable ) no one knows exactly what they will do or 
who or what they will ultimately support.  This is the group 
that has little to lose and much to gain, and they are the 
ones who have been calling for change the loudest. 
CARTER