Thursday, August 30, 2007

Praise for the new Guinean prime minister

Despite a gargantuan challenge, An article in the pan-African weekly Jeune Afrique gives high marks to the new Guinean prime minister Lansana Kouyaté. The former diplomat was named head of government after a nationwide general strike earlier this year which targeted the regime of the country's strongman Gen. Lansana Conté.

Kouyaté was given the enormous task of giving first aid to a sclerotique state and to run an economy that has been choked by the general and his mafia.

Ibrahima Diakité, head of the National Council of Civil Society Organizations said, "[Kouyaté] came to address the economic situation which had been seriously affected years of plunder and waste... at present, he hasn't been able to change the system in terms of the administration, but he has kicked out the old barons, ministers, governors and prefects."

Kouyaté himself added that basic services, particularly water and electricity, are in the process of being re-established in places that had been deprived on them for dozens of years.

Even unions, at the heart of the social movement of January and February, praised the steps taken by the new government.

A union official, under cover of anonymity, said that the new government was progressively beginning to 'make its mark.'

"The new government is the most transparent we've had for 20 years," he added.

While the implementation of reforms is taking a little longer than expected, the transformation of a system paralyzed by over a decade of dysfunction will not happen overnight.

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