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Guinea coup leader picks Mandela prize-winner as foreign minister

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LONDON, (The Southern African Times) – Guinea’s military leader Colonel Mamady Doumbouya has appointed a prominent campaigner against female genital mutilation (FGM) as foreign minister, in his latest change since taking power last month.

The West African state’s new diplomatic chief is Morissanda Kouyate, who last year won the United Nation’s Nelson Mandela Prize, according to a decree read on state television late Monday.

Doumbouya also appointed Julien Youmbouno as minister of labour and Mamadou Pathe Diallo as health minister, while Charlotte Daffe was named fisheries minister.

Kouyate, a doctor by training, set up an NGO in 1984 called the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children, which campaigns against FGM and for gender equality.

He was one of two laureates in 2020 for the Nelson Mandela Prize, awarded every five years to recognise work in the service of humanity.

A former special forces commander, Doumbouya, 37, launched a coup on 5 September, ousting 83-year-old elected president Alpha Conde after months of brewing discontent against his government.

Defying broad condemnation of the putsch, Doumbouya was sworn in as interim president on 1 October.

Doumbouya has promised to restore civilian rule after a transition period of unspecified length, and to unite the politically fractious nation of 13 million people.

He has purged 44 generals and admirals, including a former army chief of staff and the senior commander of the gendarmerie, a police force under the control of the military.

Doumbouya has appointed Mohamed Beavogui, a relative unknown with a background in international development, as interim premier.

Two fellow soldiers have been appointed ministers of state for defence and for civil protection, while a civilian has been named minister of the environment and sustainable development.

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