Saturday, October 06, 2012
Guinea's Conde sacks 11 ministers in surprise cabinet shake-up
CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea's President Alpha Conde sacked 11 of his government ministers in a surprise cabinet reshuffle announced on state television late on Friday.
The statement from the presidency gave no reason for the shake-up, but the move comes amid heightened tensions in the world's top supplier of the aluminium ore bauxite over long-delayed parliamentary elections.
Among the principle changes was the nomination of former prime minister and career diplomat FranÃ§ois Louceny Fall to the post of state minister for foreign affairs.
Agriculture Minster Jean Marc Telliano and Construction and Urban Development Minister Mathurin Bangoura, whose conspicuous acquisition of wealth while in office had raised public accusations of corruption, were both sacked.
"Telliano was a problem for the president. He weakened Conde in respect to his fight against corruption. General Bangoura was seen in a bit the same manner," a source close to the presidency, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.
In addition to Bangoura, two other generals were dismissed, removing from the government the last remaining vestiges of a 2008-2010 military junta that seized power following the death of long-time dictator Lansana Conte.
President Conde was elected in late 2010 in a vote that ended military rule but which was tainted by deadly riots and opposition complaints of fraud.
His government has been trying to organise legislative elections, the last major step in the transition back to civilian rule and is key to unlocking millions of dollars in frozen aid. But progress has been slowed by opposition worries that the electoral body is biased.
Dozens of people were injured and at least one was killed in violent clashes between government and opposition supporters in the capital Conakry last month.
(Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Eric Walsh)