Tension in Conakry in build-up to March 1st elections

APA-Conakry (Guinea)

In Conakry, the legislative elections coupled with the referendum of March 1, 2020, are the main topic of discourse in coffee lounges, markets or other meeting points.

By Sadjo Diallo

In the capital, an atmosphere of suspicion prevails. 

Some citizens are convinced that behind the announced change in the country’s fundamental law lies a desire on the part of President Alpha Condé to run for a third term. 

This is not allowed under the current constitution.

 To make their voices heard, Guineans regularly take to the streets spearheaded by the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), which brings together the opposition and civil society. 

And the economy is suffering as a result. 

“When there’s a mobilization, you can’t work. We are forced to close down business,” said Mabinty Camara, manager of a hairdressing salon in Sonfonia-gare, a suburb of Conakry.

 While mumbling, the woman laments the political situation in her country: 

“We are tired. When we talk about elections in Guinea, there are always demonstrations causing deaths. This has to stop.”

 A few yards away, Ibrahima Bangoura, a taxi driver stopped for a moment to comment on the political crisis in his native Guinea.

 “The opponents must pull themselves together. Most of them were in government when President Lansana Conté amended the constitution to give himself a third term. They supported him. Today, they are in no position to say no to Alpha Condé. I have been supporting him since 1990 and as long as he is here, I will accompany him,” he promised.

On the sidelines of the 33rd Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) held on February 9 and 10, 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, President Condé did not end the debate or speculation on his possible third term. 

On the contrary, he has given his critics some grain to grind.

 “Condé loves and supports no one. Everything he does is for himself. His only goal is to die in power. And he’s ready to sacrifice everyone,” Saïkou Yaya Barry, vice-president of the opposition Union of Republican Forces (UFR) charged.

 Mr. Barry labelled Condé “a dictator who wants to leave Guinea in tatters before he dies” and that no one will dare stand up to him within the ruling Rally of the Guinean People (RPG).

 According to Souleymane Keïta, a chargé de mission at the presidency there are many “inconsistencies” in the current constitution which favour “biased interpretations.”

 For this member of RPG, it is therefore essential to “provide Guinea with a clear constitution” and President Alpha Condé has the right to send the electorate to a referendum to vote on this issue.

 In any case, since October 2019, the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) has been on the front line throughout Guinea.

 This movement, which brings together political parties and civil society organizations, threatens to prevent the holding of legislative elections and the referendum. 

Moreover, opponents have torn up and burned electoral registers in localities where they are in control.



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