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Coup leader in Guinea appoints new government

Coup leader in Guinea appoints new government

The military officers who led Guinea's recent coup have kept one of their key promises _ appointing new government made up predominantly of civilians.
Capt. Moussa "Dadis" Camara had pledged to return power to the people as soon as possible following last month's coup. Camara led the group of junior officers who grabbed the airwaves Dec. 23, the day after the death of Guinea's long-ruling dictator, President Lansana Conte, declaring themselves the country's leaders and promising a break with the past.
The coup was denounced by the international community, which pressured the 32-person junta to appoint civilians to a transitional government and hold elections as soon as possible.
Of the 29 ministers announced on state-run TV Wednesday evening, only nine are members of the military. But it is the military officers _ not the civilians _ who will head the top departments, including the ministries of defense, justice, health, finance, telecommunications and commerce.
Toto Camara, one of the junta's two vice presidents, said naming officers to the top posts was necessary to shake up Guinea. The country was named the most corrupt in Africa by the advocacy group Transparency International.
"The appointment of members of the military to the most strategic posts is the result of a profound need for change," he said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press Thursday.
Toto Camara was named minister of national security, and Sekouba Konate, the other vice president, will be minister of defense. Col. Siba Nolamou, formerly the head of the gendarmerie, was named minister of justice.
But not all the key posts went to the military: The new minister of mining is Mahmoud Thiam, a mining expert currently based in the United States. Guinea has the world's largest reserves of bauxite, the raw material used to make aluminum. The country is often described as "a geological scandal," because its people would be rich had its natural wealth not been pilfered by the ruling elite.
Camara has vowed to review all mining contracts and re-negotiate them if they are unfavorable to Guinea.
Other civilian appointments include Aicha Bah to the ministry of education. She served as minister of education in the 1990s and was credited with sharply reducing the rate of illiteracy. She went on to a career at UNESCO after being fired by Conte, the former strongman.


Updated : 2021-03-04 12:01 GMT+08:00