Friday, April 6, 2012

Moussa Dadis Camara

Captain Moussa Dadis Camara (born 1 January 1964 or 29 December 1968) now called Moïse Dadis Camara is an ex-officer of the Guinean army who served as the President of the Republic of Guinea's National Council for Democracy and Development (Conseil National de la Démocratie et du Développement, CNDD), which seized power in a military coup d'état on 23 December 2008 after the death of long-time President and dictator Lansana Conté. He has been out of office since the assassination attempt on him on 3 December 2009.

Early Life
Moussa Dadis Camara was born in 1964 in the remote town of Kouré, Lola Prefecture, in the Guinée Forestière region of southeastern Guinea, near the border with Ivory coast and Liberia. He is a member of the Kpelle ethnic group (known in Guinea as Guerze). Dadis’ ethnic group are primarily found in Guinée Forestière region of Guinea, near Liberia. Dadis attended primary and secondary school in Nzérékoré, about 24 miles (40 km) away from his birth-town of Kouré. He studied law and economics at Abdel Nasser University in the capital, Conakry. He is a Christian convert from Islam. Dadis speaks five languages: French, Kpelle, Susu, Maninka and German.

He joined the Army of Guinea in 1990 as a corporal and was later appointed as the Chief of Fuels at the Guinean army base in Kindia, about 60 miles northeast of Conakry. From 2001 to 2002, Dadis was sent to Sierra Leone as a member of the United Nations' peacekeeping troops. In 2004, President Conté sent Dadis, along with several other Guinean soldiers, to Bremen, Germany, for 18 months’ military training. In November 2008, he was named head of the Guinean army's fuel supplies unit, a branch of the Guinean Minister of Defense's cabinet. He was one of the leading mutineers in the 2008 Guinean military unrest. Prior to the December 2008 coup, he was not well known by the general population.

Christmas coup
In the early hours of 23 December 2008, Aboubacar Somparé, the President of the National Assembly, announced on television that Conté had died because of illness on 22 December. According to the constitution, the President of the National Assembly was to assume the Presidency of the Republic in the event of a vacancy, and a new presidential election was to be held within 60 days.

Six hours after Somparé announced Conté's death, a statement was read on television announcing a military coup d'état. This statement, read by Captain Camara on behalf of the CNDD, said that "the government and the institutions of the Republic have been dissolved". The statement also announced the suspension of the constitution "as well as political and union activity". According to Camara, the coup was necessary because of Guinea's "deep despair" amidst rampant poverty and corruption, and he said that the existing institutions were "incapable of resolving the crises which have been confronting the country." Furthermore, Camara said that someone from the military would become President, while a civilian would be appointed as Prime Minister at the head of a new government that would be ethnically balanced. The National Council for Democracy and Development would, according to Camara, include 26 officers as well as six civilians.

A statement was read over the radio on 24 December 2008, announcing that Captain Camara was the President of the CNDD. Later in the day, Camara and thousands of soldiers loyal to him paraded through the city, surrounded by large numbers of civilian supporters. According to Camara, he "came to see if the terrain is favorable to us", declaring that the large crowds indicated that the people were indeed supportive of the coup. Also on 24 December, Camara said in a radio broadcast that the CNDD did not want to stay in power indefinitely and that it intended to lead the country for two years, promising "credible and transparent presidential elections by the end of December 2010". This contradicted an earlier statement which promised an election within the constitutionally mandated period of 60 days.

Speaking on the radio on 25 December, Camara said that he did not plan to run for President at the end of the two year transitional period. He also declared that the CNDD was not susceptible to bribes. According to Camara, people had "start[ed] to show up with bags of money to try to corrupt us. They’ve tried to give money to our wives and cars to our children." He warned that he would "personally go after anyone that tries to corrupt us".

The Associated Press reported that Camara's tenureship was quickly challenged by soldiers of Sekouba Konate, in one of the capital's barracks. Camara, Konate, and a third unknown officer then drew lots, twice, to determine who would lead, with Camara winning both times. (note that Konate now runs the country, after a nearly successful assassination attempt on Camara)

On 25 December 2008, the Prime Minister under the previous régime, Ahmed Tidiane Souaré, pledged loyalty to Camara, thus further consolidating the latter's rule. On 22 March 2009, Souaré was arrested and held in a military prison, along with two Mines Ministers (recalling that Guinea is the world's largest exporter of bauxite, the necessary ore for aluminum).

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