Guinea: tensions dot the end of the electoral campaign

“I’m too happy to go and vote”, rejoiced this Saturday evening Idrissa, shopkeeper in the Kipé district, a district on the north coast of the capital. Some of his colleagues have lowered the curtain to migrate some twenty kilometers away, and sometimes even “to the village”, fearing tensions. But he does not intend to change his habits. Except that, this time, he will not vote for the outgoing president and candidate for a 3e mandate, Alpha Condé. His last appearance on Guinean radio and television the day before finally convinced him. “He’s too old, he’s too thin!” He said rolling his eyes.

On the eve of the presidential election, Conakry has found some semblance of activity. No more animation points with screaming sound systems and young dancers. All that remains are the posters of the candidate of the Rally of the People of Guinea (RPG), Alpha Condé – unmissable, on the largest advertising panels dedicated to him -, of his challenger Cellou Dalein Diallo, and of the ten other candidates, much less visible sometimes with posters in A4 format fixed against posts. Also remains, declared four members of the Independent National Electoral Commission (Ceni), “a set of extremely serious points […] open and unanswered ”.

The first of their concerns lies in the availability of the reports of the results of the polling stations. According to a statement released this Saturday, some commissioners would be opposed to copies of the provisional results being given to political parties, as the Electoral Code mentions. However, it is on this basis that the opposition can for example verify the count. According to the statement from the commissioners, it would be “also impossible to take a photo of the minutes.” The co-signers of the press release note four other shortcomings, including the delivery of ballots to the field without the Ceni having been able to obtain a copy beforehand.

Read also Guinea: the thousand and one facets of Alpha Condé

Citizen election watch

“Our greatest fear is that the Internet will be cut off,” Mamadou Alpha Diallo, President of the Guinea Bloggers Association (Ablogui), said at a press conference this Saturday. After unveiling a little earlier in the week an evaluation report of President Alpha Condé’s promises, this time he presented the #GuineeVote citizens’ initiative. A hashtag that allows any Internet user to share information related to the electoral process. At the same time, 200 e-observers were dispersed across Guinean territory to collect data. This electoral monitoring platform is notably supported by the Open Society Initiative for West-Africa (OSIWA).

As a reminder, neither the European Union, the United States, nor the International Organization of La Francophonie sent observers for this election. Only those from ECOWAS, numbering 100, will therefore be present. On condition, however, that they arrived safely. Their briefing in Conakry took place on Friday, and some municipalities are two or even three days away by car, given the deterioration of the roads.

Read also Tierno Monénembo – The files of discord

Men in arms

Finally, several facts occurred during the night from Thursday to Friday. First in Kindia, a prefecture located about 130 kilometers east of Conakry. An attack on the compound of the Samoreyah military camp caused the death of several people, including Colonel Mamady Condé, commander of the special battalion of the standby forces. Weapons and vehicles were reportedly stolen. Exchanges of fire then took place in Dubreka, a hundred kilometers to the west. The Defense Ministry said the situation was “under control”, but the circumstances and reasons for the attack remain unclear.

Then to Conakry. At 4.45 a.m., two pickups from the Rapid Intervention Brigade (BRI) burst into the home of Sidya Touré, president of the Union of Republican Forces (UFR), 3e political force of the country. The day before, his passport had been confiscated at Conakry international airport, as he was about to fly to Côte d’Ivoire. “He decided to bring activists to his home, and 200 young people were sleeping in the yard that night. As soon as the pick-ups arrived, there was a power cut. But the generator installed in the residence of the president of the UFR took over. The men then saw our militants. They were 8 or 9, with Kalashnikovs, some were in black with balaclavas, others in fatigues, ”summarizes UFR spokesperson Ahmed Tidiane Sylla.

Former Prime Minister (1996-1999), Sidya Touré was also high representative of President Alpha Condé from 2015 until his resignation in 2018. His party, the UFR, is a component of the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution created in April 2019 to oppose a 3e mandate of the Guinean president.

Read also Cellou Dalein Diallo: “Fight against the 3e mandate, at the ballot box! “

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