By Kylie M Tsudama
Impunity Watch Reporter, Africa
CONAKRY, Guinea – Guinea junta leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara may run for President of the West African country during its next election cycle.
Camara took power when former President Lansana Conte died in December. When he took power he promised that he would step down in order to hold elections later this year. Elections have been postponed until 2010.
It is yet to be announced whether or not Camara will be running.
“I have nothing more to say, except that I might or might not stand,” he said. “We shall follow your advice. We shall do what you have requested.”
On Saturday hundreds of Camara supporters rallied in Conakry to ask him to remove his military uniform and stand in the presidential election. Camara’s run for the presidency would be another move in this year’s push toward more power by West African leaders.
Guinean opposition parties, unions, and civil groups joined Sunday to urge people to oppose Camara’s candidacy should he choose to run. Camara says, however, “it is they who don’t understand anything about democracy” if they want to stop him from running for president.
“It is for Guineans alone to freely choose their leaders without internal or external pressure or discrimination,” said The National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD) junta. “Therefore any member of the CNDD, of the government including the prime minister and any other citizens, is free to put forward their candidacy for the national election if they so desire.”
A statement from the US embassy expressed disappointment and concern, saying that any junta member’s candidacy “would undermine the transparency and credibility of the elections.”
Elections are currently set for January 31, 2010. Legislative elections will be held on March 26.
For more information, please see:
IRIN – Guinea: ‘Yesterday was Better than Today’ – 25 August 2009
AFP – Guinea Junta Chief May Run in Polls – 24 August 2009
BBC – Guinea Leader ‘May Contest Poll’ – 24 August 2009
VOA – Guinea Military Ruler May Run for President – 24 August 2009
Reuters – Guinea Rejects U.S. Call for Junta-Free Election – 23 August 2009