wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08CONAKRY742 2008-12-09 16:34:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Conakry
Cable title:  

CONAKRY GOVERNOR FOCUSED ON SECURITY AND SANITATION

Tags:   PGOV PREL ASEC GV 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO2052
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHRY #0742/01 3441634
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 091634Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY CONAKRY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3197
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CONAKRY 000742 

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC GV
SUBJECT: CONAKRY GOVERNOR FOCUSED ON SECURITY AND SANITATION



1. (SBU) SUMMARY. The new governor of Conakry used a recent
courtesy call by Poloff as an opportunity to bring in news
crews and expound on his policy objectives over national
television while creating a perception of a "close"
connection to the U.S. Embassy. A somewhat controversial
appointment, the governor spoke at length about how he had
helped resolve the recent spate of youth protests. He
highlighted his top priorities -- security and urban
sanitation -- but offered very little in terms of a policy
strategy for addressing these issues. In the end, he
requested U.S. Government assistance to help him realize his
objectives. END SUMMARY.



2. (SBU) On December 3, Poloff met with the new governor of
Conakry, Soriba Sorel Camara, who had been appointed to his
position by President Conte on October 14. A prominent
member of the ruling Party for Unity and Progress (PUP),
Camara is a member of the party's executive bureau and
responsible for representing youth interests. He had
previously served as a deputy to the National Assembly. The
mayor of Dixin (one of the five districts in Conakry),
Yamoussa Yass Sylla, also joined the meeting. Approximately
ten minutes into the meeting, local press entered the room
and proceeded to videotape the entire discussion.



--------------------------


PRESS OP


--------------------------





3. (SBU) The governor seemed eager to receive Poloff, noting
that the U.S. Embassy was the first diplomatic mission to
visit his office since he had been appointed. Once the press
arrived on the scene, he used the opportunity to expound at
length on what he characterized as his two most pressing
priorities: security and urban sanitation.



--------------------------


RESOLVING YOUTH PROTESTS


--------------------------





4. (SBU) Poloff noted that the series of protests in
November followed almost immediately upon Camara's
appointment (reftels), and asked how these events had
affected the governor's initial days in office. (COMMENT.
During the protests, some contacts told Poloff that the
governor's appointment was one of the reasons behind the
demonstrations. END COMMENT). Camara explained that certain
neighborhoods are particularly prone to protest activity,
such as Ratoma, which is where the Embassy is located.
According to the governor, these areas can erupt into
violence because they are heavily populated with unemployed
youths, and then the government traditionally responds with
force that results in human rights abuses and deaths.



5. (SBU) Camara said that the November protests were
fundamentally different in that he and the new Minister of
Security purposely agreed that the government would not
intervene with force, but instead, would try to talk to
youths and encourage non-violence. "I saw that there were
certain young intellectuals involved in the protests so I
targeted our message toward these leaders, thinking that they
could then influence others," CAMARA said. According to the
Governor, the youths came to his office for a meeting and
told him that they felt abandoned and marginalized, and were
tired of unfulfilled government promises. "I concluded that
the youth were mainly frustrated," he told Poloff.



6. (SBU) Following this meeting, the Governor said he
organized a large youth meeting at the stadium in Ratoma to
encourage non-violence. Along with the Minister of Security,
Camara circulated through various neighborhoods to meet with
youths and elders, emphasizing that violence would not solve
any problems. The Governor claimed that this strategy
successfully brought the protests to an end.



--------------------------


THE GOOD POLICE ARE IN THE MILITARY


--------------------------





7. (SBU) Switching to the overall security situation in
Conakry, Poloff noted that international and domestic
contacts alike have been increasingly concerned about the
apparent increase in crime. Camara agreed, admitting that at
least 60% of these crimes are perpetrated by individuals in
military uniforms. He added that the police have been
largely ineffective in addressing crime because "the good
police officers have been recruited into the military and the
rest are not paid well and generally unarmed." He added
"they know who the bandits are, but they are afraid or

CONAKRY 00000742 002 OF 002


unwilling to act."



--------------------------


ENCOURAGING VIGILANTE JUSTICE


--------------------------





8. (SBU) With cameras still rolling, Camara emphasized that
addressing the security situation is one of his top
priorities. The Governor explained how he has been
encouraging individual neighborhoods to establish civilian
"watch groups" to help enforce order. He mentioned that he
had recently created a 1 million GnF ($208) reward for any
civilian that turns in an armed bandit, adding that he had
already handed out one such award.



--------------------------


TWO MILLION PEOPLE AND ONE GARBAGE TRUCK


--------------------------





9. (SBU) Turning to his other top priority, urban
sanitation, the Governor said that it is imperative to clean
up the city of Conakry. He said that the city generates
approximately 1800 tons of garbage a day, but that the
government is only capable of collecting between 1000 and
1200 tons. Camara pointed out that 85% of trash collection
equipment is out of order, and that the city only owns one
garbage truck that is still operational. He added that the
general lack of reliable power in the capital limits the
city's ability to process the trash effectively, suggesting
that most of it is simply burned.



--------------------------


A TRASHCAN IN EVERY HOME


--------------------------





10. (SBU) The Governor repeatedly asked for donor assistance
to help him address his two key priorities, security and
sanitation. On the security front, Camara said that police
forces needed equipment and training. With respect to
sanitation, he asked for equipment. Generally silent
throughout the meeting, the Mayor of Dixin piped up on the
sanitation issue and said "if you could just help us put one
trashcan in every household in Conakry, you could really help
us solve this problem."



--------------------------


COMMENT


--------------------------





11. (SBU) Although Poloff intended the meeting to be a basic
courtesy call, the governor's political posturing and
invitation to the press suggests that he had his own agenda.
His appointment was considered somewhat controversial since
he is perceived to be very close to President Conte and the
ruling party, so he may have been seeking to reinforce his
standing by broadcasting his "close" association with the
U.S. Embassy. When asked about his political vision, Camara
spoke at length detailing all the problems, but had little to
offer in terms of a policy strategy. As has been the case
all too frequently in recent months, the governor seemed
mainly interested in seeing what the U.S. Government might be
able to offer in terms of direct assistance. END COMMENT.
RASPOLIC