Viewing cable 09CONAKRY6
Title: CHARGE MEETS WITH GUINEA'S NEW PRIME MINISTER

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
09CONAKRY62009-01-05 14:55:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Conakry
VZCZCXYZ0002
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRY #0006/01 0051455
ZNY CCCCC ZZH (CCY AD17C39D MSI9421-695)
P 051455Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY CONAKRY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3302
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
C O N F I D E N T I A L CONAKRY 000006 
 
SIPDIS 
 
C O R R E C T E D  COPY - MRN 000006 VICE 000829 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/05/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM ASEC GV
SUBJECT: CHARGE MEETS WITH GUINEA'S NEW PRIME MINISTER 
 
REF: 08 CONAKRY 0823 
 
Classified By: POL/ECON CHIEF SHANNON CAZEAU FOR REASON 1.4 B AND D 
 
¶1.  (SBU) SUMMARY.  After describing how he unexpectedly 
landed the position of prime minister, Kabine Komara 
assured Charge that he expects to have "complete autonomy" 
as Guinea's new head of government.  He said that he will 
be free to appoint his own cabinet, although he expects to 
appoint two or three military officials to some of the 
remaining cabinet positions.  Komara's most pressing 
concerns include managing popular expectations for quick 
fixes to endemic problems, maintaining eligibility for debt 
relief under HIPC, and avoiding suspension of bilateral 
assistance programs.  Komara gave a positive first 
impression.  Guineans and foreign observers alike will be 
watching him closely in the coming weeks in order to 
ascertain how effective a civilian leader he might be.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
¶2.  (SBU) Charge Raspolic met with Guinea's new prime 
minister, Kabine Komara, the evening of January 3, the day 
after Komara arrived in Guinea to assume office.  Switching 
back and forth between English and French, often in 
mid-sentence, Komara was a charming and animated 
interlocutor. 
 
----------------------- 
BECOMING PRIME MINISTER 
----------------------- 
 
¶3.  (SBU) Relating how he became prime minister, Komara 
told Charge that President Moussa Dadis Camara had called 
him while he was in Paris, asking him to be part of 
Guinea's new government.  Komara said that he went home to 
his three adult children in Cairo and discussed whether it 
was a good move to become part of the government now, or to 
wait a few years until a newly elected government is in 
power.  His children reportedly encouraged him to take the 
job because he would best be able to influence events in 
the immediate term.  Komara said that he called the 
president and told him he was interested in working for the 
new government.  Assuming that he was coming to discuss his 
potential role further with the president, Komara received 
a text message from his wife in Conakry after he had 
already started his trip to Guinea.  His wife reportedly 
texted that Komara had been named prime minister and that 
she would meet him at the airport with a clean boubou so 
that he could address the press gathered there. 
 
----------------- 
COMPLETE AUTONOMY 
----------------- 
 
¶4.  (C) Komara said that he has a good relationship with 
President Camara.  When asked about forthcoming cabinet 
appointments, Komara said that he would "absolutely" be 
able to name his own ministers, and that he recognized the 
need for wider ethnic participation.  However, he told 
Charge that he expected that two or three of the remaining 
ministerial positions would be filled by military 
officers.  He said, for example, that the Minister of 
Justice could easily be filled by a military officer if 
that officer had experience with the military justice 
system.  Again emphasizing that President Camara would not 
influence cabinet appointments, Komara related how Camara 
had passed him a piece of paper with the name of the 
president's choice for Minister of Finance written down. 
Describing the nominee as a poor choice, Komara said he 
went back to the president and told him that he would not 
name this person as his minister.  Camara reportedly told 
him "fine, pick who you want." 
 
¶5.  (SBU) As prime minister, Komara said that he strongly 
believes that he will enjoy complete autonomy.  He told 
Charge that he expects to coordinate decisions with the 
president, but that he would be empowered to run the 
government as needed.  Komara said that he had already 
talked to the president about the frequent communiques 
coming out of the CNDD, and requested that he have an 
opportunity to clear all further communiques before they 
are issued.  The president reportedly agreed. 
 
--------------------- 
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS 
--------------------- 
 
¶6.  (SBU) At the same time, Komara was concerned about 
managing both public and military expectations.  He noted 
that the CNDD had made a lot of promises and may be 
expecting Komara to come in and quickly solve problems 
perpetuated by decades of corruption.  Describing previous 
government officials as a bunch of "crooks," Komara said 
that the government cannot fix everything all at once.  He 
drew the Charge's attention to the new-looking black 
leather furniture in his office.  Komara said that former 
Prime Minister Souare had handed him a stack of unpaid 
invoices upon leaving office, including an invoice for the 
new office furniture.  "Most of this stuff has not even 
been paid for," he said.  Komara added that many of the 
invoices listed "ridiculous" charges, sometimes as much as 
five times what something should have been worth. 
 
----------------- 
FINANCIAL WORRIES 
----------------- 
 
¶7.  (SBU) Komara emphasized that his biggest worry is that 
Guinea may lose the long anticipated debt relief under 
HIPC.  "I do not know how the government will survive if we 
do not get that relief," he told Charge.  Based on his own 
informal calculations, Komara said that he already sees a 
2009 budgetary gap of at least $88 million.  Charge pointed 
out that any funds freed up by debt relief under HIPC must 
target specific sectors, such as education and health. 
Komara nodded in understanding, saying that those sectors 
could certainly use additional resources. 
 
¶8.  (SBU) Charge questioned what the government could do to 
address key public issues such as water and power.  Komara 
said he hoped to capitalize on his personal network of 
contacts to bring in specialists that could develop a 
long-term infrastructure development plan.  Komara noted 
that Guineans generally do not pay taxes and they are even 
less interested in paying for public utilities.  He told 
Charge that only by providing regular services could the 
government begin to effect the mentality shift necessary to 
begin collecting tax revenues. 
 
¶9.  (C) Turning to USG bilateral assistance programs, 
Charge told Komara that the USG was planning to announce 
the suspension of all non-humanitarian, non-electoral 
financial assistance on January 5 in the absence of an 
announced election date within six months.  Visibly 
concerned, Komara asked for details on what kinds of 
assistance would be cut.  He asked the Charge to provide 
him with a list of such programs as soon as possible. 
Komara also requested that the USG consider postponing the 
decision for another week in order to give him time to 
address some of our key concerns. 
 
--------------------------- 
LACK OF MILITARY DISCIPLINE 
--------------------------- 
 
¶10.  (SBU) Charge also mentioned the incident in which the 
military raided opposition leader Cellou Diallo's residence 
on January 1 (reftel).  Komara said that he was totally 
unaware of the incident until he received a phone call at 
11:30 that night.  He immediately called the president who 
also reportedly knew nothing about it.  Komara said that he 
went personally to Diallo's residence to apologize.  He 
acknowledged to Charge that the incident makes it look as 
if the government lacks complete control. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
¶11.  (C) Based on first impressions, Komara seems affable, 
intelligent, and committed to his job.   If he is in fact 
granted complete autonomy and allowed to run the 
government, he may very well be able to move things 
forward.  At the same time, he faces a host of challenges 
that previous government officials have been unable to 
overcome, despite the sincerity of intentions they may have 
demonstrated in the beginning.  Facing very high popular 
expectations for immediate improvements in overall 
governance while lacking a popular mandate may make it 
difficult for Komara to effectively assert his authority 
with the military junta.  Guineans and foreign observers 
alike are watching Komara's cabinet nominations and 
subsequent political moves closely in order to get a sense 
of how effective a civilian leader he might be.  END 
COMMENT. 
 
RASPOLIC