Guineans focus on poverty as junta attempts transition

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The Guinean military junta held talks with political actors this week with the aim of forming a transitional government following the September 5 coup, which toppled strongman Alpha Condé. But in the poor Bonfi neighborhood of the capital, Conakry, the struggle to make ends meet has not changed for more than six decades. FRANCE 24 reports from Conakry.

The Guinean military junta is holding talks this week with the aim of forming a transitional government in the wake of the September 5 coup, which toppled strongman Alpha Condé. But in the capital’s poor Bonfi neighborhood, Conakry, the struggle to make ends meet has not changed no matter who occupies the presidential palace.

Aboubacar Keita, 28, shares his home in the poor Bonfi district of Conakry with three generations of the Keita clan. The house where the young father is raising his children has no running water and times are hard for the caretaker who earns the equivalent of 70 euros per month.

“Lalalalalala! It’s just too hard, ”exclaims Keita. “There are days when some family members cannot even afford breakfast and have to leave all day on an empty stomach. “

Schools in Conakry are set to reopen in three weeks as the impoverished West African nation faces a new political crisis. This time, Condé’s ouster during a military coup led by Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya.

But the Keita family chose food over education. “Our children don’t go to school because we can’t afford to buy books and stationery. Private schools are too expensive. We had to stop sending the children to school because we have no money, ”explains Mbalia Sylla.

“We will see what it is this time”

The UN called on Monday for a return to civilian rule within a “reasonable time” in Guinea.

Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the UN special representative for West Africa and the Sahel, declined to set a specific timeframe.

“We said: we want a reasonable duration, but the reasonable duration depends on the Guineans themselves,” he said during a one-day visit to Conakry, adding that the UN condemned the coup State and called for the release of Condé.

Doumbouya is holding talks this week with the aim of forming a transitional government following the suspension of Guinea from the African Union (AU) and the Regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the aftermath of the coup.

Abdoulaye, the eldest of the family, has seen it all. The retired railway worker has known all political regimes since Guinea’s independence from France in 1958. Today, life is harder than ever, he says. “For us, the most important thing is to see the lives of Guineans improve, so that everyone can earn their bread and butter, that’s what we want,” he explains. “It’s been bad with everyone who has been there so far, we’ll see what it is this time around.”

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