Viewing cable 08CONAKRY79
Title: UNIONS IN KISSIDOUGOU SAY THEY WERE READY TO STRIKE

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
08CONAKRY792008-01-29 12:30:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Conakry
VZCZCXRO3991
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHRY #0079/01 0291230
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 291230Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY CONAKRY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2114
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CONAKRY 000079 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
SENSITIVE 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV ELAB KDEM ASEC GV
SUBJECT: UNIONS IN KISSIDOUGOU SAY THEY WERE READY TO STRIKE 
 
REF:  A) CONAKRY 0007 
 
      B) CONAKRY 0010 
      C) CONAKRY 0029 
 
¶1.  (SBU) SUMMARY. Union officials in Kissidougou saw the events of 
early January (reftels) as a success for the reform movement in 
Guinea.  Though Conakry union leaders postponed the general strike, 
Kissidougou union members said they were ready to mobilize support 
for the consensus government.   While the unions say the pace of 
reform has been slow, they reportedly view the consensus government 
as the only viable vehicle for change in Guinea. The meeting 
suggested that the unions, at least in Kissidougou, are united 
behind their Conakry leaders and ready to support whatever course of 
action deemed necessary.  END SUMMARY. 
 
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Success After a Major Blow 
-------------------------- 
 
¶2.  (SBU) During the course of a four-day visit to central Guinea, 
Conoff met with union leaders in the provincial capital of 
Kissidougou, 650 kilometers from Conakry.  Union leaders included 
Mr. Fantamady Camara, a member of the Confederation National de 
Travailleurs Guineennes(CNTG), and Keoulen Kourouma and Adonis 
Namory Keita, members of the Union Syndicale de Travailleurs 
Guineennes (USTG).  They met with Conoff to discuss the current 
political situation and union plans to resume a nationwide strike on 
January 10, which was called off late on January 9. 
 
¶3.  (SBU) Mr. Camara saw President Conte's dismissal of 
Communication Minister Justin Morel as a major blow to the consensus 
government and a violation of the January 27 Accords.  In his words, 
not only was Morel "one of the best elements in government," but 
"every child on the street knew his name."  All three union 
officials said Conte timed the dismissal to coincide with the 
anniversary of the 2007 strikes.  The dismissal, they said, forced 
Guineans to focus on political turmoil rather than Guinea's lack of 
economic progress.  According to the unions, Conte wants to weaken 
the consensus government before the upcoming legislative elections. 
 
¶4.  (SBU) Nevertheless, the union members said the postponed strike 
was a success. Mr. Kourouma said that Guineans now know that the 
political struggle between Conte and Kouyate is out in the open. 
The people were ready to mobilize, he said, and the strikes were 
only postponed, not cancelled, implying that the unions are ready to 
resume the strike when necessary. 
 
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The Way Forward 
--------------- 
 
¶5.  (SBU) Union members said the consensus government is the only 
viable vehicle for moving the political reform process forward. 
(COMMENT: More than once, however, the members emphasized that "the 
road is long," indicating that they might not be completely 
satisfied with the progress that has been made.  END COMMENT.) 
 
¶6.  (SBU) The group also said that political parties have failed in 
Guinea.  They said that Conte has effectively neutered the parties 
by putting them in ethnic and regional boxes, preventing broader 
coalitions from forming.  For example, they said that when Conte 
travels in Guinea, he is reportedly quick to say that particular 
ethnic groups belong in certain parts of the country, and that they 
should not mix. The unions said that the parties have not made 
education and public outreach a priority, nor have they been an 
effective conduit of political change. 
 
¶7.  (SBU) The unions said that Guinea's youth found their political 
voice for the first time in last year's strikes.  They added that 
the youth movement, however, remains disorganized, and the political 
parties have not offered leadership to the "chest-beaters" and 
"rock-throwers" who take to the streets in times of unrest. Union 
members said they now see organization of youths as their 
responsibility.  Only the unions, they said, could educate and rally 
the youth and unite the country behind the consensus government. 
 
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COMMENT 
------- 
 
¶8.  (SBU) The CNTG and the USTG seemed to be jockeying for union 
leadership in Kissidougou, echoing underlying political divisions 
within the Unions-Intersyndicale in Conakry.  During the course of 
the discussion, the members of the two unions vied for Conoff's 
attention, both wanting to be first to answer questions, even though 
what they said was essentially the same.  When discussing politics, 
the unions never identified different factions within the 
presidency, giving Conte credit for orchestrating the recent 
tensions. All three representatives see their unions playing 
political roles beyond what the constitution currently envisions, 
which only allows political parties to participate in electoral 
processes. They consistently downplayed the role of the parties and 
 
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reiterated that the consensus government and the unions are the only 
viable vehicles for political change in the country.  How they 
expect to implement this change, however, given their lack of legal 
access to a constitutionally based executive power structure, 
remains unclear.  END COMMENT. 
 
CARTER