The September 5, 2021 coup d'etat in Guinea was a dramatic political upheaval for the country. Overnight, the military junta dissolved the National Assembly and abrogated the constitution. While the junta has since discussed a return to democratic rule, the path forward remains unclear. Despite this uncertainty, NDI is supporting local civil society partners as they work toward an inclusive democratic transition.
NDI has worked closely with the National Forum for Youth in Political Parties (Forum National des Jeunes des Partis Politiques – FONAJEP) since 2014. FONAJEP is an independent, cross-party forum that brings together youth from a broad range of political parties in Guinea to promote leadership and capacity-building. Recently, NDI supported a series of discussion groups for young party members to share experiences and identify the constraints to youth candidacies in local elections. FONAJEP has also advocated to political leaders, municipal authorities and civic organizations for the registration of young people on the electoral lists; and increased youth participation in local governance.
Through its awareness-raising efforts, FONAJEP has motivated more youth to engage in politics at the grassroots level. As a result of the Forum's actions, politically-energized youth across the country are more involved in the management of their local communities in collaboration with political, municipal, administrative and traditional leaders. Despite these successes, FONAJEP has faced significant challenges during the past two years resulting from the heightened political tensions surrounding the 2020 electoral process. The increasingly polarized political climate in Guinea made it very difficult to implement new activities promoting youth political engagement.
The September 2021 coup profoundly changed the political context in Guinea, demonstrating the need for full civil society involvement in the transition back to democracy. With the political transition underway, there is a window of opportunity for organizations like FONAJEP to advocate for a more inclusive political system in Guinea that provides more opportunities for marginalized groups, including women and youth. To this end, with support from USAID, NDI assisted FONAJEP in the weeks following the coup to organize its first General Assembly since 2019 in an effort to revitalize the forum ahead of the political transition. A total of 93 young people participated in the General Assembly, representing 33 political parties, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Youth and Youth Employment and several media outlets. During the General Assembly, FONAJEP elected its board of directors and five committees, and oversaw the transfer of leadership from the outgoing president. The newly elected executive board defined its objectives for the next two years: create a space for consultation among youth from different political parties; and promote youth and women’s representation in decision-making bodies and in the transitional government. The Assembly also created five new commissions to oversee and promote the Forum's priorities, namely: conflict prevention and resolution, communication and information, political organization, political strategy development, and sports and culture.
During the General Assembly, FONAJEP developed and adopted several resolutions requesting the return of constitutional order through inclusive political reforms and free and credible elections. During the political transition, the Forum plans to carry out several advocacy and mobilization activities in favor of political reforms for inclusive and transparent elections that it hopes will contribute to the return of constitutional order.
NDI will continue to support FONAJEP and other civil society partners throughout the political transition in order to ensure that Guinea's return to democracy is inclusive and representative of the priorities and aspirations of all Guineans
Author: Thierno Dansoko, Program Officer, NDI-Guinea and James Stewart, Program Officer, NDI-DC
NDI is a non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental organization that works in partnership around the world to strengthen and safeguard democratic institutions, processes, norms and values to secure a better quality of life for all. NDI envisions a world where democracy and freedom prevail, with dignity for all.