Since Lansana Conte passed away last December, politics in the Republic of Guinea Conakry has not been the same again. Capt Moussa Dadis Camara who heads the junta that now governs the country had promised to stand down after a transitional phase, which will end in January 2010.
But the opposition is doubtful of Capt Camara's sincerity. It speculates that he will be running for president. And Capt Camara himself has not been helping matters with his ambivalent posture. "I might or might not stand," he said. "No-one can stop me." As if this is not enough, his supporters have already formed a group called Dadis Must stay backing his right to stay. All of this is political manoeuvering to cling on to power a little while longer yet.
As a citizen of Guinea Conakry, he has every right as any other Guinean to run for the highest office of that country. But what is at issue now is his apparent lack of frankness about his presidential ambition. If he is interested in the job, he should say so plainly rather than being coy about it. That way, the opposition parties will know the sort of opponent they are up against and prepare accordingly. Waiting until the last minute before declaring his intention would stack the odds in his favour because the element of surprise would catch his opponents off guard. And this coupled with the added advantage of incumbency would give him an upper hand at the polls.
The clearest pointer to Capt Camara's mindset is this: "I have still not made my mind so they [the opposition] should keep quiet; otherwise, they are going to lose everything." This is as much a threat as an expression of interest. What he is saying is that if the opposition parties keep pestering him about his presidential ambition, then he will stay on in power. This is not how to go about governance; governance demands transparency and accountability. Such an attitude simply confirms the accusation made by the opposition that the Capt Camara-led junta is a "confiscation of power".
On the other hand, the opposition parties should read the handwriting on the wall and start harnessing their energies for a possible showdown with a formidable opponent at the polls next January. Bickering at this point will not help their situation; it is now time for concrete action in respect of organization and mobilization and focus.
Whatever happens, the Guinean political class should spare the continent the shame of a disputed or violent election.
"Great is Truth, and mighty above all things".
(King Jams Version)