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US News Presidential in Guinea: campaign under tension, the opposition mobilized

16:10  16 october  2020
16:10  16 october  2020 Source:   france24.com

Guinea: opposition candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo prevented from campaigning amid violence

 Guinea: opposition candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo prevented from campaigning amid violence © Supplied by France 24 The UFDG convoy was blocked by men wearing yellow t-shirts while he was traveling to Kankan (left), and houses in a predominantly Fulani neighborhood were set on fire in Kankan (right) on October 11. Facebook screenshots. With less than a week to go before the presidential election, the campaign on the ground was tense again on Sunday, October 12 in Guinea.

La candidat d'opposition à la présidentielle, Cellou Dalein Diallo, lors d'une manifestation de ses partisans, le 15 octobre 2020 à Conakry. © Cellou Binani, AFP The opposition presidential candidate, Cellou Dalein Diallo, during a demonstration by his supporters on October 15, 2020 in Conakry.

The campaign for the uncertain presidential election in Guinea entered its home stretch on Thursday with the return of the two main candidates, President Alpha Condé and Cellou Dalein Diallo, in the capital, Conakry.

Crowds of feverish Guineans crowded, Thursday, October 15, to meet Cellou Dalein Diallo, main opponent of the outgoing Head of State, on his return from the provinces, at the start of the final straight before the presidential .

President Alpha Condé himself returned to Conakry, Wednesday evening, after having scoured the country by helicopter for several days despite his 82 years, in order to harangue hot crowds, slay Cellou Dalein Diallo and make the latter lie on his declining health.

Côte d'Ivoire: the CEI says it is “ready” for the presidential election

 Côte d'Ivoire: the CEI says it is “ready” for the presidential election © REUTERS / Luc Gnago The Ivorian opposition accuses the Independent Electoral Commission and the majority of organized fraud. From this Wednesday, October 14 and until October 20, Ivorians registered on the electoral rolls will be able to collect their voter cards at their polling station. 17 days before the presidential election, the Electoral Commission says it is “ready”.

"We are here for the alternation"

In total, twelve candidates are in the running on Sunday. But the leadership of Guinea for the next six years should be played out between the two rivals who already clashed in 2010 and 2015.

The center of Conakry resounded again, Thursday morning, with the deafening din of horns, sirens and whistles produced by an endless procession of semi-trailers carrying supporters of President Condé who sported the yellow color of the ruling party.

The demonstration raised fears, in the volatile atmosphere of an acriminonious campaign, a collision with the aficionados of Cellou Dalein Diallo. But this did not take place, the parade of trucks was able to return to the port smoothly, after exiting on the highway.

Presidential in Guinea: access to the center of Conakry blocked, an officer killed

 Presidential in Guinea: access to the center of Conakry blocked, an officer killed © JOHN WESSELS The center of Conakry, October 12, 2020 Guinea was living through the last hours of a feverish electoral campaign on Friday, the security forces blocking access to central Conakry for unknown reasons, while a senior officer was killed in a military camp east of the capital. No official explanation was obtained for the establishment of roadblocks blocking access to the Kaloum district, where the Guinean decision-making centers are located.

Thousands of Cellou Dalein Diallo supporters from across the Guinean capital converged on the outskirts to welcome their 68-year-old champion who also returned from campaigning inside, carrying the message of change after ten years of Presidency Condé .

"For ten years we have been in the suffering behind this gentleman, this old man of 90 years, 92 years , we are tired, we are there for the alternation", exclaimed Baldé Mamadou, 35 years old, mechanic of training but no real job.

Alpha Condé became, in 2010 by winning the second round, the first president elected in a truly competitive ballot after decades of authoritarian regimes. He was reelected in the first round in 2015.

The 2020 election is not immune to the tensions experienced by the previous two, tarnished by violence and protest. Questioned by AFP worried, just like the international community, of the conduct of the vote and even more of its aftermath, in a country accustomed to physical confrontation in politics.

Presidential elections in Guinea: the last fight of President Alpha Condé

 Presidential elections in Guinea: the last fight of President Alpha Condé © Sipa At 82 years old, Alpha Condé should be re-elected President of Guinea for a third term on Sunday, while the opposition accuses him of autocratic excesses. It is an understatement to say that Alpha Condé knows from the inside the crusades and the sacrifices of the African opponent. The man had to wait until he was 72 to become, after decades of brawl, prison and exile, the first democratically elected president of Guinea.

International vigilance over "ethnic hate speech"

In previous days, clashes reported between militants from both camps left several injured in different localities.

"A major difficulty is the question of recognition, of the acceptance of the results of the ballot box," said Kabinet Fofana, president of the Guinean Association of Political Sciences.

For a year, thousands of Guineans have demonstrated to block a third term of Alpha Condé who draws the argument from the adoption of a new Constitution at his instigation to represent himself.

Mobilization was severely repressed and dozens of civilians were killed, the authorities and the opposition blaming themselves for these deaths. And the concern was heightened by the tone of a campaign more aggressive than programmatic , in a country of some 13 million inhabitants yet facing great difficulties.

Major international organizations were alarmed by "ethnic hate speech" after Alpha Condé warned Malinke voters against the temptation to vote for another candidate from this community than himself.

Presidential in Guinea: clashes in Conakry before the end of the official vote count

 Presidential in Guinea: clashes in Conakry before the end of the official vote count © RFI / Carol Valade Clashes erupted around the home of the opponent Cellou Dalein Diallo who claimed his victory in the presidential election on Monday 19 October 2020. In Guinea, the compilation of the results of the first round of the presidential election continues. The Céni recalled that it was the only one empowered to announce the results and warned the candidates, but despite this, clashes erupted in the Guinean capital after Cellou Dalein Diallo claimed victory this afternoon.

Community affiliations are an important factor, the Malinkés recognizing themselves mainly in the party of Alpha Condé, and the Peuls in that of Cellou Dalein Diallo. The two groups represent well over half of the population.

"Those who want to send me to the cemetery will go before me"

Accusing Alpha Condé of "instrumentalizing" the ethnic fact, Cellou Dalein Diallo wants to embody change with a "despotic" power who would "plunder" the country's resources . He affirms that President Condé "no longer has the physical and intellectual capacity to exercise".

Chaining meetings from town to town, Alpha Condé, excited, invoked the economic progress of a country he says he has found in ruins and of which he promises to make "the second African (economic) power after Nigeria".

"They came to tell you 'the president is ill, he is lying down, he cannot get up any more'", he laughed in Kissidougou (south) with a forced grimace, "those who want to send me to the cemetery will go before me ". A possible second round is scheduled for November 24.

With AFP

Guinea: an international diplomatic mission to defuse tensions .
© Carol Valade / RFI Soldiers posted in the Gnariwada district in the outskirts of Conakry, on Saturday October 24, 2020. In Guinea, while the Céni has just proclaimed Alpha Condé winner of the presidential election in the first round with 59.51% of the vote, at least three new people lost their lives in clashes on Saturday, bringing the toll of post-election violence to eighteen since last Sunday's poll. It could be much heavier, the opposition counts, it, about thirty victims.

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