Conde Wants “Reconciliation”: You Can’t Kill Your Fellow Countrymen and Expect Anyone to Shake Your Bloody Hand
Conde renewed an offer for dialogue with the opposition in the former French colony, which suffered from decades-long authoritarian rule and only had its first free election last year, saying “no obstacle is insurmountable.
“Reconciliation is the keystone,” he said, urging Guineans to look back “truthfully and with a tolerant heart,” at the “resentment, the defiance, the pain and the divisions that have built up since 1958,” the year of independence from France.
Police on Tuesday clashed with opposition supporters calling for electoral reform ahead of elections on December 29 and defying a government ban on rallies. They arrested about 300, and two people were killed in the unrest.
Conde also pledged “transparent and inclusive elections” in the impoverished west African nation, which has the world’s largest deposits of bauxite and significant gold, iron ore and diamond reserves.
“I hope all political parties will participate in these elections,” he said, to mark “our definitive return to the constitutional order by putting in place strong and permanent institutions.”
The country was ruled by two successive strongmen — Sekou Toure and Lansana Conte — from independence until Conte’s death in December 2008. A short-lived military regime followed whose leader Moussa Dadis Camara suspended the constitution.
The regime earned international condemnation when presidential guards opened fire on an opposition rally killing more than 150 people in September 2009.
Camara survived an assassination attempt in December 2009 and a transitional government took over until the 2010 elections when Conde won power.