Guinean president Alpha Conde says the West African country needs a constitution that meets the needs of today’s world, in defense of a controversial proposed constitutional amendment expected to be debated by lawmakers.
Speaking an an exclusive interview with Africanews, the President also spoke about the timing of the amendment. It comes at a time his final mandate under the current constitution is running out. Opposition voices say it is specifically to further his bid to seek a third-term.
Conde told Africanews’ Editor-In-Chief Nathalie Wakam that he inherited a run down country back in 2010. He alluded to his decade in charge being dedicated to resolving the basic macroeconomic issues.
First of all, we have to go back in history. why I did not change the constitution is because when I came to power, I inherited a country but not a state, there was no electricity, there was no water, there were no roads, there were no hotels and so on, so for me the priority was first of all to solve the basic macroec
“First of all, we have to go back in history. why I did not change the constitution is because when I came to power, I inherited a country but not a state, there was no electricity, there was no water, there were no roads, there were no hotels and so on, so for me the priority was first of all to solve the basic macroeconomic issues.
“In a modern world today, we need a constitution that responds to the needs of today’s world, which has nothing to do with the presidential election, currently, we are starting from a new constitution, which starts from the insufficiency of the old constitution.
He went further to defend why a sovereign nation as his reserved the right to change the constitution as and when. Conde said there was no violation of any laws in the current processes underway. He pointed at how leaders in the sub-region were also changing their laws for different reasons.
“Article 51 stipulates that the President of the Republic may, after an advisory opinion of the Speaker of the National Assembly, present a Constitution to the people and submit it to the Constitutional Court to ensure that it does not affect the fundamental principles of the Republic.
“However, from the point of view of legality, nothing is violated, since nothing is provided for in the Constitution, and its legitimacy is popular, so once the people have expressed their opinion, a new Constitution is created.”
On the issue of his possible candidature, Conde said: “It doesn’t matter now who will be candidate or not because it’s the parties that present the candidates, well I think that even in the sub-region a lot of presidents have changed their constitutions.
“… and there is a certain democratic vision with variable geometry, when some countries have interests in other countries, you can change the constitution 2, 3, 4, 5 times and that doesn’t bother anybody, but when a country defends its sovereignty, that it has a certain independence, immediately we find ourselves criticizing it.”