By Faith Nyasuguta
CONAKRY, GUINEA– The colonel behind Guinea’s military coup has vowed to establish a unity government to inspect a transition period while indicating that there would be no “witch hunt” against the overthrown government.
“A consultation will be launched to set down the broad parameters of the transition, and then a government of national union will be established to steer the transition,” Lieutenant-colonel Mamady Doumbouya said in a Monday speech.
He, however, did not indicate what amount of time the handover and consultation will take.
Doumbouya informed former ministers they are not allowed to leave the nation and that they should hand over their official vehicles to the military. He further announced the reopening of air and land borders.
Col Doumbouya also called on mining firms to continue their operations in the nation, ascertaining that they would be exempt from the imposed nationwide curfew. President Alpha Condé is still in detention, but his fate is still unknown.
In the streets of Conakry, crowds are said to have broken into a mood of celebration even as they chanted the military leader’s name.
“They were just happy. Some people undressed and shouted “Doumbouya, Doumbouya, Doumbouya” and “freedom, freedom, freedom,” one reporter said.
“It captures the feeling of many who are relieved that President Condé has been deposed,” he added.
THE FACE OF GUINEA
The world is now looking at Col Doumbouya as the new face heading Guinea after leading soldiers into overthrowing the government.
41-year-old Doumbouya, a former French legionary is the person that announced that the army had little choice following the rampant corruption, disregard for human rights, and economic mismanagement under President Condé.
“The president is with us, he’s in a safe place,” he told French media on Sunday.
Clad in army fatigues, a red beret, and sunglasses, he had earlier in a televised speech said that “the Guinean personalization of political life is over. We will no longer entrust politics to one man, we will entrust it to the people”.
Very little is known about Col Doumbouya’s early life, save for the fact that he hails from the Malinké community just like Condé and that he comes from Guinea’s eastern Kankan region.
Some call him a brilliant commander whereas others believe he is shady. He is one of the 25 Guinean officials that the European Union has been seeking to sanction over reported human rights abuses under Conde.
Despite that, he was recorded telling the nation on Sunday that “we will learn from all the mistakes we have committed and all Guineans”.
He, while quoting the late Jerry Rawlings of Ghana also added that “if the people are crushed by their elites, it is up to the army to give the people their freedom”.
He has served in the military for 15 years where he served in the French foreign legion for several years before returning to Guinea on Conde’s request.
Conde, however, did not know that by recalling Col Doumbouya, he was catalyzing the end of his political career.