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Guinea President picks low key man as prime minister

(Audio available further in this article)

Guinea President Alpha Condé has named a virtually unknown figure as the Prime Minister of the country's first democratically elected government as he made four nominations to key government offices.

Mr Mohamed Said Fofana, aged about 50 and an economist and a former director at the country's trade ministry, was hitherto unknown to the general public despite serving as a director of private sector projects at the country’s Chamber of Commerce.

(To listen to this article, click on the player below)

{play}media/mp3/art1558.mp3{/play}

 Observers have already expressed surprise over the nomination of this erstwhile unknown figure in the place of prominent former prime ministers and defeated presidential candidates who had rallied their support for Prof Condé in the runoff.

Dr Lansana Kouyaté, the former Ecowas executive secretary and a former premier and 2010 presidential candidate who coalesced his party around Prof Condé was the frontrunner.

Analysts attribute the pick of Mr Fofana as a strategic choice as he comes from the ethnic Soussou group of lower Guinea, which is seen as being rewarded for its support to Prof Condé.

Guinea’s politics and army have mainly been managed by the ethnic Soussous, who are also among the country’s affluent businesspeople.

Defeated opposition candidate Cellou Dallein Diallo had earlier declined the post.

Prof Condé is from the Malinké tribe like the late President Ahmed Sekou Touré who once condemned him and several others to death for treason. Prof Condé was also incarcerated for over two years during Gen Lansana Conté’s regime.

The other nomination is Mr Kidiri Bangoura who becomes the director of the President’s office with the rank of minister and is considered as one of the most accessible to President Condé.

By TAMBA JEAN-MATTHEW

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