Viewing cable 08CONAKRY797
Title: LACK OF CIVILIAN LEADERSHIP AS TRANSITION

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
08CONAKRY7972008-12-24 15:28:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 SECRET Embassy Conakry
VZCZCXRO4747
OO RUEHPA
DE RUEHRY #0797/01 3591528
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 241528Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY CONAKRY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3261
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0565
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 CONAKRY 000797 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/24/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM PMIL KDEM ASEC GV
SUBJECT: LACK OF CIVILIAN LEADERSHIP AS TRANSITION 
DISCUSSIONS CONTINUE 
 
REF: A. CONAKRY 0787 
     ¶B. CONAKRY 0788 
     ¶C. CONAKRY 0793 
 
Classified By: POL/ECON CHIEF SHANNON CAZEAU FOR REASON 1.4 B AND D 
 
¶1.  (S) SUMMARY.  Certain segments of the youth population 
appear to be the only civilian sector currently engaging the 
military putschists, but coup leaders may be becoming 
increasingly disinclined to facilitate an immediate 
transition to civilian rule.  The international community is 
demanding a return to civilian rule, but Guinean civil 
leaders are going to need to start playing a more visible 
role in order to achieve this objective.  To date, they do 
not seem to be doing so.  END SUMMARY. 
 
¶2.  (S) In response to the December 23 coup (reftels), 
civilians appear to be adopting a wait and see approach, 
essentially waiting for the dust to settle before formulating 
their reaction.  Part of this strategy may be due to the 
population's general distrust of the military, and an 
underlying fear of violence.  In the past, many civilian 
contacts have indicated that they fully expected the military 
to step in after the president's death, but that a civilian 
transitional government would need to be an immediate next 
step.  Violence perpetrated by security forces during the 
2007 strike and the 2008 military mutiny, as well as the 
general increase in banditry by uniformed personnel, has made 
citizens increasingly wary of its military. 
 
¶3.  (S) The only civilian sector that appears to be currently 
engaging with the putschists is the youth, and even that 
group seems to be limited in its support base.  Poloff spoke 
at length with Thierno Balde, the youth liaison with the 
putschists, on December 23.  Thierno has been increasingly 
frustrated in his dealings with the military over the past 
few months.  He told Poloff that the youths are insisting on 
a civilian transition, but that it is becoming more and more 
difficult to advance that agenda.  Poloff emphasized that the 
US Government is looking for a peaceful, democratic 
transition led by civilians.  Thierno agreed, saying he and 
the youths completely agreed and that they are relaying this 
message to the putschists.  However, Thierno said that there 
is growing resistance among the putschists to civilian 
leadership. 
 
¶4.  (S) Thierno's latest plan, as of 19:00 yesterday, was to 
establish a transitional council that included a civilian 
prime minister as the head of government.  Thierno said that 
there would also be a president, to be filled by a military 
officer, and three vice presidents in order to allow all four 
ethnic groups to be equally represented.  He emphasized that 
the leadership should be decided by unanimous consensus. 
During the course of the discussion, it became clear that the 
proposed council would only have two civilian members. 
Poloff questioned how such a council could be considered 
civilian since it would be predominantly controlled by the 
military.  Thierno said that the new PM would be exclusively 
in control of elections, and that nobody on the council would 
be able to run as a candidate. 
 
¶5.  (U) Poloff commented that whatever institution is created 
must clearly demonstrate the Guinean Government's commitment 
to civilian rule and elections in the near-term.  She pointed 
out that legislative elections are already on track for May 
2009 and that the Council should adhere to this schedule in 
order to advance the democratic process.  Thierno countered 
by saying that legislative and presidential elections should 
be held concurrently. 
 
¶6.  (SBU) Less than an hour after the conversation, the 
putschists announced the creation of a predominantly military 
council with problematic membership (septel), indicating that 
Thierno probably did not even have an opportunity to present 
his latest proposal. 
 
¶7.  (S) Thierno telephoned Poloff again on December 24 saying 
that he and the putschists were in the process of negotiating 
an acceptable solution, but he did not indicate whether he 
had been successful in pushing the civilian agenda.  Poloff 
asked whether the youths had been reaching out to other civil 
sectors such as opposition political parties and the unions 
in order to begin building broader civilian pressure. 
Thierno dismissed the idea, saying that the opposition 
political parties are supporting the constitutional process 
and the succession of the President of the National Assembly, 
Aboubacar Sompare.  Thierno emphasized that the discussion is 
currently only between the youth and the military.  Poloff 
 
CONAKRY 00000797  002 OF 002 
 
 
encouraged him to reach out beyond the youths. 
 
¶8.  (U) The National Council of Civil Society Organizations 
is reportedly planning to meet today to discuss the coup, but 
it is unclear what their reaction might be. 
 
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COMMENT 
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¶9.  (S) Available information suggests that although the 19th 
promotion was behind the coup, other opportunist military 
elements appear to have joined the initiative in order to 
take advantage of Conte's death.  These elements may have 
gained the upper hand and it is unclear whether the 19th 
promotion and the youth will be able to recover control.  The 
civilians have a critical role to play, but as of yet, their 
reaction has been relatively quiet.  The international 
community can continue to stress the importance of civilian 
control, but the civilians themselves have to step up and 
demand it as well.  Embassy will continue to reach out to 
civilian leaders and express support for a civilian 
controlled democratic process.  END COMMENT. 
RASPOLIC