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Elections in Guinea May Take Longer Than African Mission Timetable

FILE - Junta soldiers walk through a hotel during a meeting of with high level representatives from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in Conakry, Guinea, Sept. 17, 2021.(JOHN WESSELS / AFP)

As Guineans work through a transitional government with the hope of new elections, a delegation from the Economic Community of West African States visited in recent days to assess the situation.

The delegation said it saw progress including the adoption of a transitional charter, the appointment of a civilian prime minister, and the ongoing formation of a broad-based government.

But the delegation stopped short of furthering the organization's mandate that elections be held in six months.

VOA's James Butty spoke to Faya Millimono, leader of the Liberal Bloc Party in Guinea, who said it appears that ECOWAS has begun to understand the concern of most Guineans that is impossible to hold elections in six months due to the complicated process of evolving governance.

The interview was edited for brevity and clarity.

VOA: How do you evaluate the visit of ECOWAS delegation to Guinea?

Millimono: ECOWAS' first message sent to the junta has completely changed because the first time they come to Conakry, there was a finger pointing. There was a blame, there were sanctions. Now, what they have said in their communique is that they are willing to support the process and they've been very thankful to the junta for the action taken so far - the appointment of a civil prime minister and the government that is being put together, and also the charter they have signed.

So they seem to encourage...It is exactly what the junta was asking from the beginning.

VOA: Do you think that ECOWAS might be willing to let the transition process go beyond the six months that it has been requesting?

Millimono: Of course, They didn't even mention anything about the six month period they have set because they knew... that Guinea cannot organize a transparent election within six months because there are so many things to be done. So they are not talking about it. And for us, they gave us hope that through them, the international community is going to be... on Guinea's side in this difficult time to support the process until we get a transparent election to finish the transition.

VOA: ECOWAS will be meeting again on the situation in Guinea and the situation in Mali on the 7th of November. What is the message do you think that Guinea would like to send to them?

Millimono: What we could tell them is Mali as well as Guinea, the two countries are very important for the community. So if those two centuries are in difficulties, ECOWAS has to be by their side to help them solve the crisis instead of coming forward just to threaten the juntas..