Tensions ran high over President Condé’s candidacy in Oct presidential election. Coalition of opposition parties and civil society groups National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) 1 Sept decried Condé’s candidacy in presidential election scheduled for 18 Oct as “outrageous and conflict-inducing”. Police same day dispersed anti-Condé meeting in Tanéné village, Dubréka prefecture, near capital Conakry, reportedly wounding 12. Condé 2 Sept reiterated he will run for third term. Rifts widened within FNDC over whether to boycott or participate in election. After leader of main opposition party Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) Cellou Dalein Diallo 6 Sept announced his candidacy, Union of Republican Forces President Sidya Touré 8 Sept said he did not support Diallo’s candidacy and would boycott elections alongside other opposition leaders; FNDC next day said opposition parties taking part in election would be automatically excluded from coalition. Constitutional Court 9 Sept declared eligibility of 12 presidential candidates including Condé, saying early 2020 constitutional reform reset his “term counter” to zero; Diallo’s candidacy also confirmed. After electoral commission 14 Sept published updated electoral register, opposition next day highlighted anomalies, including high number of registered voters in Condé’s stronghold of Kankan. Govt 16 Sept extended COVID-19 state of emergency for one month, banning gatherings of over 100 people, but campaigning kicked off 18 Sept. In address to supporters in Siguiri city (in Kankan region in east), Condé 22 Sept compared Oct vote to “warlike situation” in which all his “opponents have coalesced to fight [him]”. Police 29 Sept fired tear gas to disperse FNDC protesters in Conakry and reportedly arrested FNDC prominent leader Oumar Sylla, alias Foninké Mengué. Ruling party Rally for the Guinean People supporters 30 Sept reportedly attacked opposition UFDG campaign rally in Faranah city. Unidentified assailants same day threw stones at PM Fofana’s convoy near Dalaba city.
Guinea approaches the second free presidential election in its history under difficult circumstances. Unless the government convenes a serious dialogue with the opposition, it risks electoral violence and exacerbating ethnic divisions.
Overdue legislative elections in Guinea could rapidly degenerate into violence in the absence of consensus on electoral procedures.
Rising piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, which supplies around 40 per cent of Europe’s oil and 29 per cent of the U.S.’s, demands effective regional security cooperation and better economic governance to prevent the region becoming another Gulf of Aden. The full report is currently only available in French.
Unless Guinea’s main political actors agree on organising the pending legislative elections, there is a risk inter-communal tensions could spark violence that opens the army’s way back to power.
If the armed forces of Guinea are not reformed thoroughly, they will continue to pose a threat to democratic civilian rule and risk plunging the country and the region into chaos.
The killing of at least 160 participants in a peaceful demonstration, the rape of many women protestors, and the arrest of political leaders by security forces in Conakry on 28 September 2009 showed starkly the dangers that continued military rule poses to Guinea’s stability and to a region where three fragile countries are only just recovering from civil wars.
Originally published in Jeune Afrique
Originally published in The Guardian