Viewing cable 09CONAKRY156

09CONAKRY1562009-03-12 10:53:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 SECRET Embassy Conakry
DE RUEHRY #0156/01 0711053
R 121053Z MAR 09
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 CONAKRY 000156 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/11/2019 
     ¶B. CONAKRY 120 
     ¶C. CONAKRY 155 
Classified By: POLOFF J.TULLY FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 
¶1.  (C) SUMMARY. The chaotic and dysfunctional nature of 
President Moussa Dadis' government appears to be deepening. 
Military Camp Alpha Yaya is apparently the President's 
preferred base of operations where he feels secure surrounded 
by trusted officers and friends. Most presidential business 
is conducted at night with the camp full of military 
officers, visitors, and government ministers until the early 
morning hours. Drugs, booze, and prostitutes round out camp 
activities.  Dadis seems to be at the center of it all, 
essentially reinforcing a centralized power structure where 
he holds ultimate decision-making authority.  His erratic and 
aggressive behavior continues to confound the international 
community as well as the Guinean public. END SUMMARY. 
¶2. (U) Information for this cable was gathered from a variety 
of sources and included civilian contacts, Embassy LES 
contacts, senior Embassy staff, and anecdotes recounted by 
other reliable sources. Press reports, previous reporting 
cables, and personal observations are also included to create 
a sense of Camp Alpha Yaya and how business is conducted 
¶3.  (C)  A conversation with a civilian contact, Mr. Yaya 
Diallo, who has been living at Camp Alpha Yaya for the past 
eight years and has provided credible information in the 
past, described a military barracks that does not sleep and 
is fueled with booze and testosterone. Most "real" business 
is reportedly conducted after the sun goes down. Throughout 
the night and into the early morning hours the camp is full 
of cars, military officers, ministers, government officials 
and women. Young prostitutes from surrounding neighborhoods, 
attracted by the free-flowing money, are brought into the 
camp. Embassy LES sources report that Dadis often does not 
sleep until 5 or 6am stating, "Night time is like the day at 
Alpha Yaya."  Some speculate that Dadis' paranoia is 
increasing and he feels more secure at night with his 
entourage and trusted military officers surrounding him. Drug 
abuse could also contribute to unpredictable hours, random 
spurts of energy, and accentuate his paranoia (reftel A). 
¶4. (C) According to Diallo, Dadis is fearful of some type of 
action against him, is constantly expecting a counter-coup, 
and is always armed, at a minimum, with a gun in a leg 
holster. He sleeps in the same building as the Minister of 
Economy and Finance, while the notorious Claude Pivi 
(nicknamed "Chef du Village" by Dadis) is in a building 
directly behind him. Although Diallo stated that most of the 
military seems to support Dadis, the arrests of prominent 
drug-traffickers have made elements of the military nervous 
while other officers are disgruntled over the lack of 
promotions, reportedly increasing Dadis' feelings of 
¶5. (C)  Diallo's description of the camp revealed a frenetic 
enclave with all of the elements of an action movie: opulent 
cars, booze, prostitutes, undisciplined military and guns, 
plotting, and celebrations.  He noted that each weekend there 
are three to four weddings taking place at the camp, which he 
said was highly irregular.  This could be due to an increase 
in wealth and/or prestige, allowing camp residents to take 
more wives, or weddings at Camp Alpha Yaya under Dadis' 
patronage may simply have become status symbols. Unlike the 
rest of Conakry, the camp also seems to have plenty of meat 
to eat. Cows from herds that roam the compound are routinely 
"sacrificed" for various ceremonies or prayers providing 
ample food for the troops and visitors. 
¶6. (C)  Diallo wryly described the camp as an example of 
"transparent government." Everything is out in the open and 
news and gossip flies quickly across the rundown courtyards, 
through the buildings, and into the prisons. Cell phones make 
sure that even the old cook is up to date on the most recent 
drug-related arrests. 
¶7. (C)  A Senior Management LES and visitor to Alpha Yaya, 
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described the day-to-day functioning of the government as 
"running a group of gangsters". In Conakry a visible military 
presence seems to foster an atmosphere of intimidation and 
latent violence. It is common to see pickup trucks with their 
lights flashing, full of Red Beret guards bristling with 
weapons, speeding through Conakry's streets. Frequent 
appearances of armed motorcades add to the peoples' 
perceptions of intimidation. Outside of Conakry, new 
roadblocks and military checkpoints are common. An American 
from a neighboring country on a road trip through the region, 
reported being stopped 14 times in Guinea at military and 
police roadblocks before reaching Conakry. 
¶8. (S) It is not unusual for appointments with the President 
to begin several hours later than scheduled. Contacts 
routinely report being made to wait for hours for Dadis.  For 
example, International Fund for Agricultural Development 
(IFAD) Regional Director, Mohammed Beagovui (a senior Guinean 
international civil servant who in early 2007 had been 
considered for Prime Minister following the violence that 
year), now working in Rome, described to the USAID Guinea 
Mission Director a recent visit to Camp Alpha Yaya to pay a 
courtesy call on President Dadis. While waiting five hours, 
Mr. Beagovui was approached by a beleaguered government 
official who had been sent to secure the President's 
signature on the payment authorization for the World Bank 
loan urgently due in the next few days. Becoming unnerved by 
the wait and the prospect of getting the signature from the 
President, the official, moaning that this signature was 
very, very important, turned to Mr. Beagovui and asked him to 
take the documents into his meeting to be signed. Mr. 
Beagovui declined. 
¶9. (S) Later, Mr. Beagovui's meeting was interrupted when a 
General barged into the room leading a group of Lebanese 
businessmen who needed to speak immediately with the 
President, leaving Mr. Beagovui to wait ) once again.  Mr. 
Beagovui described the Presidential scene as very chaotic and 
believes that President Dadis is surrounded by incompetent 
¶10. (S) A senior executive with Rio Tinto revealed at a 
private dinner party attended by PolOff that he also waited 
five hours at Camp Alpha Yaya to see the President. 
Mis-identifying the Rio Tinto executive as a disreputable 
diamond dealer, Dadis proceeded to upbraid the executive for 
20 minutes, shouting that he was a "traitor" while standing 
just a few inches from his face, surrounded by guards with 
machine guns.  The six or seven ministers, including the 
Prime Minister who were standing next to the Rio Tinto 
executive, never attempted to inform the President of his 
mistake. Dadis finished his outburst and stormed away. 
Immediately after, all of the ministers and government 
officials in attendance reportedly laughed heartily about the 
incident, but the executive did not share their amusement. 
¶11. (C)  Many sources are appalled at the government's 
chaotic functioning; others focus on the President's 
disturbing behavior.  Dadis is often illogical and suspected 
of substance abuse.  His appalling public behavior at this 
month's ICG-Guinea meetings reinforced these observations 
(reftel B) 
¶12. (C) Dadis' frequent appearances on national television 
suggest deliberate public grandstanding. Dadis is a volatile 
public speaker: often angry, sometimes intimidating, and fond 
of wild gestures and theatrics.  His public discourses lack 
coherence as he is quick to go off on tangents.  He 
interrupts others and generally uses the microphone as an 
opportunity to expound at length about unrelated topics. 
People on the street are often bewildered by Dadis' 
unpredictable style. Guineans frequently comment on the fact 
that he smokes on television, emphatically gesticulating with 
his cigarette. They also comment negatively on his tendency 
to wear sunglasses at public and private events. 
Corruption, Drugs and Missing Monies 
¶13. (C) Operating within this chaotic atmosphere, the Guinean 
Government is now determinedly focused on three principal 
activities: fighting corruption; recovering monies stolen 
from government coffers; and reducing the illegal drug trade. 
Relationships with the international community, crucial debt 
payments, shrinking foreign aid, and a timetable for 
elections appear to be taking a backseat for the CNDD in 
terms of priorities. 
¶14. (C) Contributing to the chaos is the fact that most 
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ministries are located downtown, requiring a minimum 
30-minute commute to Alpha Yaya. Almost all government 
business must therefore make its way through Conakry's 
congested downtown streets and then out to the camp. Serious 
traffic delays and accidents are common. Once government 
officials arrive at the camp, they may wait hours before 
completing their business - if they are fortunate enough to 
do so at all. 
Team of Rivals 
¶15. (C) Dadis's immediate circle of advisors is composed of 
First Vice-President and Minister of Security Brigadier 
General Mamadou "Toto" Camara, and the Second Vice-President 
and Minister of Defense Lt. Colonel Sekouba Konate (nicknamed 
"le Tigre" by Dadis).  All three men are potential rivals, 
and are commonly believed to have been the three candidates 
for president before Dadis was selected. Toto and Konate's 
prominence flucuate. Toto is often isolated by Dadis and 
Konate who reportedly perceive Toto at cross-purposes with 
their own agenda. A member of the press reportedly saw Tot 
wait hours to see Dadis over the weekend, and was ultimately 
turned away (reftel C). Konate is perceived to hold 
significant influence over Dadis. Many believe Prime Minister 
Komara is merely a figurehead, while some continue to believe 
there is meaningful communication between him and Dadis. 
¶16. (S) Another member of the inner circle is Lt. Celestine 
Bilivogui, who accompanies Dadis day and night and wields 
significant influence.  Both men were trained as accountants, 
are from Guinea's Forest region, and have known each other 
for more than fifteen years. Lt. Bilivogui reportedly 
advocates for elections and is seen as a pro-democratic force 
in the inner circle. 
¶17. (C) Information gathered from multiple sources suggests a 
chaotic and highly dysfunctional government.  Dadis' erratic 
behavior and paranoia, coupled with the camp's undisciplined 
environment will likely pose significant challenges in the 
months ahead.  The absence of any short or long-term 
planning, a lack of daily scheduling, and no established 
management structures reinforce this impression. It is also 
increasingly clear that Dadis is at the center of it all, 
essentially reinforcing a centralized power structure where 
he holds ultimate decision-making authority.  However, unlike 
during the Conte regime, there is not even the veneer of a 
constitution, a legislature, or a Supreme Court to balance 
presidential power.  As economic and political pressures 
mount, the likelihood of a counter-coup and/or civil unrest 
increases. END COMMENT.