On either side of the expressway that divides the Conakry peninsula in two, Mamadi Sylla and Alhassane Diallo make the same prognosis. Their candidate will win the presidential election in the first round, held this Sunday, October 18 in Guinea. Otherwise … if the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) announces the opposite, within a few days, it could turn into mayhem in the streets of the capital. The problem is, these two young men can’t stand the same champion. So necessarily, there will be disappointment in one or the other.
Mamadi Sylla and all his family from the Matam neighborhood swear, in fact, by the outgoing president, Alpha Condé, and his party, the Rassemblement du peuple de Guinée (RPG). Alhassane Diallo, he only has eyes for Cellou Dalein Diallo, like 90% of the people of the Hafia district, mining area of the commune of Dixinn, who massively support the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) and its leader.
Third presidential election since 1958
This presidential election is only the third to be held freely in a pluralist framework, since the independence of this former French colony, in 1958. And like those of 2010 and 2015 won by Alpha Condé, it boils down to a duel between the two men. The other ten candidates, including a woman, can at best squeeze the electorate of the two heavyweights at the margins, but are essentially there to make up the figure.
Sunday morning at dawn, Alhassane Diallo therefore slipped his ballot into the matt white Plexiglas ballot box after checking box 7 corresponding to Cellou Dalein Diallo. He arrived as soon as the offices opened at 7 am, and had to wait a few moments. The time that the members of the open-air polling station at the Fode-Keita crossroads move dare-dare, a stone’s throw away, under the awning of a school group, the ballot box, the lists and the two voting booths white plastic cardboard to protect against a sudden and heavy downpour at the end of the rainy season.
At ten o’clock in the morning, the attendance list already showed an extremely high turnout of 84 voters for 238 registered. For Alhassane Diallo, as there is no doubt that almost all of them voted like him, this is the harbinger of his champion’s victory. “The Guineans have suffered too much for ten years, especially us, the Peuls [l’une des principales communautés ethniques du pays], we now need work-study “, explains the young man, unemployed since graduating in rural engineering three years ago.
Around him, his friends nod. “We’re just waiting, there is no hope. I preferred to quit school, it’s no use “, comments Ibrahima Cissé. Him has ” took the desert “ a year ago to Algeria to do masonry, before being voluntarily repatriated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). “It’s hard there too”, he slips without elaborating on the subject. “Alpha has to stop. If they say he won, it is because they will have flouted the results and we will not let that happen “, warns the young man.
Unemployment and misery
After the bridge that spans the motorway, Mamadi Sylla describes a bit of the same things. Misery, unemployment after a brief training as an electrician, the too large family crammed into a house with a tin roof on the edge of a filthy alley … By the side of the road, a giant poster of the candidate Condé calls to be “Together for shared prosperity”. Mamadi does not dwell on the slogan. There, in this muddy part of the Cadac district in Matam, where you fill your yellow cans with the common tap, talking about prosperity is almost obscene. It prevents. Mamadi is convinced that the outgoing president is best able to lift the country out of poverty. “We already have a little electricity, not a lot, but before there was nothing. It’s thanks to the Chinese roadblocks and the president. He is a little old [82 ans contre 68 ans pour son principal challengeur] but nobody did like him “, he said.
“And then, if he leaves, will the military and those who support him let it go? I do not believe “, the young man worries. For the moment, his anxiety is more about the disorder that could invade the streets of the capital after the election. “The elections, especially the announcement of the results, are always a moment of tension in Guinea, it is a constant”, recognizes Damantang Albert Camara, the Minister of Security. Twelve thousand men – gendarmes, police officers, members of special election security units (Ussel) and soldiers “Used only for logistics”, specifies the minister – were deployed throughout the country to secure the population and the 15,000 polling stations.
In March, several of the latter were set on fire by the opposition which had called for boycotting the legislative elections and, above all, the referendum organized on the same day to adopt a new Constitution which broke the lock previously prohibiting Alpha Condé to run for a third term. In the presidential entourage, we are calm. “This ballot is more peaceful, entrusts an advisor,The worst is behind us. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. “