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Special Polling Stations to be Constructed in Guinea for Displaced Voters

November 2, 2010

A couple of corrections to this article.  It says that both candidates threatened to boycott the election if CENI did not make accommodations for displaced persons to vote who have fled to other parts of the country.   Alpha Conde did not threaten to boycott.  Cellou Dalein Diallo was very firm about the accommodation and whether he threatened to boycott is open for interpretation.

The article states that the displacement of persons came after fighting between supporters of the two candidates.  Not so.  Supporters of RPG, many Malinke youth, attacked hundreds of Foulah, killing at least three, ransacked houses, burned businesses (at least 200 shops), and stole money and other valuables.  In the end, thousands of Foulah were forced to flee to other areas of the country because state security forces largely stood down refusing to intervene on behalf of the Foulah. There was no “between” here.  It was a malicious, heinous attack based on a false claim by Alpha Conde’s party that Diallo’s party operatives had poisoned them.  With this fabrication, it was easy to whip up the Malinke forces into a frenzy.  Unfortunately, that cost Foulah lives and livelihoods.

2 November 2010 Last updated at 08:44 ET

Guinea election boycott threat is averted

A man that was injured to the head during altercations between supporters of Cellou Dalein Diallo and Alpha Conde after a campaign rally in Conakry Street violence has led to delays in the run-off as tension has been high since first round in June

Special polling stations will be constructed in Guinea to allow people displaced by recent violence to vote in next Sunday’s presidential run-off.

The head of the electoral commission said every displaced person would be able to vote, provided their name appeared on the electoral register.

The candidates had threatened boycotts if the issue was not addressed.

The vote, intended to end years of authoritarian rule, has been delayed three times since July.

Political infighting and deadly street violence have been blamed for the postponements.

Thousands of people fled their homes after last month’s fighting between supporters of the two candidates, Cellou Dalein Diallo and Alpha Conde.

The BBC’s Alhassan Sillah in the capital, Conakry, said the impasse over how they would vote had threatened a fourth delay.

But spokesmen for both candidates said they were happy with the assurances from the new election chief.

“I can say without making a serious error that all has been done for the holding of credible elections on 7 November,” election chief Toumany Sangare said.

General Sangare, a Mali national, was appointed several weeks ago by the military leader after months of infighting and accusations of fraud at the electoral commission.

Ethnic tensions

The military seized power in 2008 after the death of long-time strongman leader Lansana Conte, but army rule led to more political upheaval and the soldiers eventually agreed to transfer power back to civilians.

Alpha Conde (l), Cellou Dalein Diallo

Alpha Conde (left)

  • Age: 72
  • Long-time opposition leader
  • Jailed several times
  • 18% of first-round votes

Cellou Dalein Diallo (right)

  • Age: 58
  • Minister 1996-2004
  • Prime minister 2004-6
  • 44% of first-round votes

A former prime minister, Mr Diallo is seen as the favourite to win the run-off. He took 44% of the votes in the first round in June – and claims he was denied overall victory only by fraud.

Mr Conde, a veteran opposition leader, won 18% of the vote – although he claims he was cheated out of some 600,000 ballots.

Correspondents say the fierce tensions between the two candidates’ supporters has its origins in rivalry between Guinea’s two largest ethnic communities. Mr Diallo is a Peul, while Mr Conde is a Malinke.

Despite their economic dominance, a member of the Peul community has never been president. The Malinke are heavily represented in the ruling military junta.

The first round was seen as Guinea’s first democratic vote since independence in 1958, raising hopes of an end to military and authoritarian rule in the mineral-rich country.

Guinea is the world’s largest exporter of the aluminium ore bauxite. It also has important deposits of iron ore, but it remains one of the poorest countries in West Africa.

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