Democracy and rights
Guinea has had a civilian government since
2010. Although several elections have
been held since then, the democratic system has major
shortcomings and there is strong tension between the
government and the political opposition. The country
still carries on a legacy after several decades of
authoritarian rule, during both Sékou Touré and Lansana
Conté. Both the military and the police regularly abuse
the civilian population without being punished for it.
Corruption is widespread.
Guinea is largely devoid of democratic traditions.
Sékou Touré governed the country from independence in
1958 until his death in 1984, when Lansana Conté,
another authoritarian leader, took power. He built up a
system characterized by extensive corruption, in which
both the economic elite and the military benefited from
everything continuing as before. As economic conditions
tightened in the early 1990s, protests against Conté's
regime increased. Until then, it had hardly occurred
that the Guineans openly showed their dissatisfaction
with the regime.
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Guinea, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
Even the junta who took power in a coup after Conté's
death suppressed all opposition. Corruption was
exacerbated, and over 150 people were killed as they
protested against the military. In early 2010, however,
a transitional government took over power (see Modern
History). Elections to the presidential post were held
the same year, but parliamentary elections were delayed
until 2013. Thereafter, further presidential elections
were held (2015), as well as local elections, after
being postponed several times. The local elections 2018
were the first in the country since 2005. But the
parliamentary elections that would have been held in
2018 have since been postponed indefinitely. Virtually
all elections have been bordered by accusations of
electoral fraud (see Current Policy)). Opposition
protests have often led to violence. In 2018, at least
18 people were killed in connection with demonstrations
and nearly 90 were injured. Police and the military have
accounted for most of the serious violence.
During the 2010 presidential election, violent unrest
erupted when the second round of elections was held.
Tensions were spurred by the fact that the largest
groups of people supported was their candidate: Malinké
was behind Alpha Condé, while Fulani gathered around
Cellou Dalein Diallo (see also Current policy). The
election was won by Condé, but the winning margin was
small. This - along with cheating charges - made Fulani
feel robbed of power. Fulani, which is financially
strong, is the only major population group in the
country that has never ruled the country. One reason why
Condé won the election was that he could take advantage
of other Guineans' fears of being dominated by Fulani.
Ethnic contradictions were also fueled by the notion
that the people group to which the president belongs
will benefit politically and economically.
The political climate in the country hardened
significantly after President Alpha Condé was subjected
to an attack in 2011 (see Calendar). Within the
political opposition, there is concern that the
government is pushing for a constitutional change to
allow Alpha Condé to be re-elected for a third term.
Women are generally in a worse position than men in
Guinea (see Social conditions). Women gained voting
rights in 1958. In the government that took office in
2016, seven of 31 ministers were women (just over 22
percent). The proportion of women in the National
Assembly was at about the same level, even though the
law stipulates that at least 30 percent of the
candidates in an election must be women.
Freedom of expression and media
Freedom of speech and assembly is guaranteed by the
Constitution. Over the years, media freedom has been
restricted in various ways, journalists have been
arrested and newspapers have been closed. The situation
improved after the democratically elected government's
2011 entry, and then deteriorated again.
There are clear limits to what can be said, for
example through strict advocacy laws and it is also
prohibited to publish "false information". Anyone
convicted of slander risks imprisonment for up to five
years. At the same time, media helps to inflame tensions
Low wages and poorly educated journalists have
contributed to some ethical problems, such as
journalists receiving bribes for not writing about
In Reporters Without Borders rankings for 2019,
Guinea ranked 107th out of 180 countries. The country
has gradually slipped to the list since 2013 when it was
in place 86.
During the 2010 election campaign, all parties were
given space in the state media. But when riots broke out
around the second round, temporary state of emergency
was introduced and several journalists from private
media were arrested. Following an assassination attempt
on President Alpha Condé in 2011, the state media
council banned the CNC (Conseil
nationale de communication) from the media to report on
what had happened. The ban was only lifted after
protests both within the country and from other
Also in connection with the 2013 parliamentary
elections, there were threats and harassment of
journalists, in some cases from the country's security
forces or supporters of various parties. Some radio
stations were forced to close, and their employees were
Since then, the authorities have shown a greater
willingness to take action against those who threaten
and harass the media, even though the president has
dismissed criticism from international organizations
promoting freedom of the press. The Media Council CNC
has also tended to intervene in media that does not
support the government.
In 2014, three media workers, along with five health
workers, were killed when they visited a village in the
N'Zérékoré region of southeastern Guinea to inform how
people would protect themselves against the Ebola virus.
The village's fear of the group they believed was there
to spread the disease is believed to have led to the
murder. However, the military later intervened to
prevent a group of journalists and lawyers from further
researching the case.
In 2016, a reporter on the internet magazine
Guinee7.com was shot to death by an unknown perpetrator
when he watched the opposition party UFDG's party
congress where riots arose.
The largest media are state, but since 2006, private
radio and TV channels have been allowed.
There are about 10 newspapers in the country, all of
which have small editions, irregular editions and are
mostly read in Conakry. There are also several online
magazines, often based outside of Guinea, which in
recent years have become increasingly important for news
Since literacy is low, it is the radio that reaches
There are no restrictions on the Internet, but
outside the capital few Guineans have access to the
Corruption is a major problem at most levels of
society, but the situation has improved since the change
of power in 2010. In 2016, thousands of ghost workers
were cleared from the state's payrolls. But only a few
cases have reached the courts, especially at lower
levels. Major cases involving the mining industry and
the transport sector have mainly been handled by courts
in other parts of the world, including in France and the
United Kingdom. In 2016, President Condé, but even more
so, his son Alpha Mohammed Condé, was accused of
receiving bribes from the mining company Sable Mining
Africa (see Calendar, May 2016). In 2018, the opposition
demanded an investigation into a port contract awarded
to a company under investigation in France (see
Calendar). There is an anti-corruption authority, ANLC,
which is subordinate to the president, and who suffers
from a shortage of both money and staff.
Nevertheless, according to Transparency
International's index of perceived corruption in the
countries of the world, Guinea has climbed from place
164 out of 178 countries in 2010 to place 130 out of 180
countries nine years later.
Judicial system and legal security
The legal system is designed according to the French
model but also has elements of African customary law.
The courts should formally be independent, but in
practice political considerations affect the judgments.
There are also special military courts. It is common for
criminal cases to be handed over to traditional courts
where a senior elder acts as a judge. Corruption is a
major problem in the justice system, where wages are
low. Legal security is generally poor and people have
little confidence in the courts.
The death penalty was completely abolished in 2017,
but no executions had been carried out in the country
since 2001. Since 2016, torture is also prohibited by
law. At the same time, reports that the security forces
have committed torture, ill-treatment, arbitrary arrests
and other abuses. Few cases lead to prosecution and even
fewer are convicted of these crimes. Despite this, the
situation has nevertheless improved, compared to before.
In 2007, the presidential guard killed 140 peaceful
protesters. In the fall of 2009, 157 people were killed
in Conakry in connection with protests against the then
junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara. The military was also
reported to have been guilty of assault, mass rape,
threats, robbery and other abuses. Most of the victims
belonged to the Fulani people group.
Already during the junta's time, a commission was
appointed to investigate the incident, the aftermath of
which helped to get the junta to fall. A UN commission
blamed Camara massacre, Aboubacar "Toumba" Diakité and
Lieutenant Colonel Moussa Tiégboro Camara. Juntan's own
investigation only pointed out Diakité. The
International Criminal Court in The Hague is also
investigating the incident.
In February 2012, Prosecutor Moussa Tiégboro Camara
was indicted for his part in the 2009 massacre. He then
retained his government post with responsibility for
combating drug trafficking and financial crime.
A step towards justice was taken at the end of 2017,
when a seven-year investigation into the massacre was
completed. This happened after at least a hundred
corpses were excavated and identified. Prosecutions have
been brought against about 10 people, including the
junta leader Camara, but no trial has started in the
fall of 2019.
Difficult conditions prevail in the overcrowded
prisons, although the situation has improved somewhat in
recent years. In Conakry, there are often over 1,600
prisoners in a prison with room for 300. Prisoners are
often kept locked up for long periods without trial.