GUINEA: GUINEANS VOTE AS INCUMBENT RESETS CLOCK TO RUN FOR A THIRD AND POSSIBLE FOURTH TERM SETTING BACK THE PACE ON THE PATH OF CONSTITUTIONALISM IN THE BAUXITE-RICH COUNTRY OF WEST AFRICA

COLONIAL HISTORY

  • BISSANDUGU 1898-French Colonial Army conquers the Army revered Emperor and Military Strategist Samory Toure after his fierce 16-Years Battle against French Colonial Invasion into the great Wassoulou Mandinka Empire. The French Army suffered several Defeats under Toure’s Army before turning Tables on him. Samory is captured and exiled on September the same Year. On June 1900 Samory died of Pneumonia in Ndjole-Gabon where he was being held Captive. The Colony of French Guinea is established officially becoming part of French West Africa in 1906.
  • 1946-Ahmed Sekou Toure (a Grandson of Samory Toure) who was an influential Trade Unionist alongside other Pro-Independence Comrades from French West and Equatorial Africa founded the “African Democratic Rally”-RDA as their Voice to call for the Decolonization of France’s Africa. Ahmed Sekou later formed his Party “Democratic Party of Guinea”-PDG in 1947 to further the Cause of the RDA in Guinea alongside his Guinean Comrades. Sekou as the Representative of African Groupings at the French Parliament criticized French Colonial Rule asking for the Independence of French-Africa Colonies.
  • 1958-Ahmed Sekou mobilized Guineans to reject the ‘French Union Constitution Referendum’ and its crafty Conditions for Independence. Rejecting this Constituition and its Conditions as spelled out by French Government under General De Gaulle meant Independent Guinea would lose France’s Economic, Financial, Technical and all other Support it might need. Guinea became the first French Colony to Regain its Independence after rejecting France’s Imperial Machinations to join the Franc-Afrique Community post-Independence. “We prefer Poverty in Freedom than Riches in Slavery”-Ahmed Sekou Toure said. On October 2,1958 Guinea became Independent with Sekou Toure as the first President.
  • De Gaulle’s Government in Disappointment reacted by severely severing France’s Ties with Guinea. The French Colonial Regime took away Everything they had made, developed in Guinea, it wantonly destroyed and burnt Everything that it could not carry away leaving the Young Nation in dire Need of Reconstruction. This was largely done as a Warning to other French Colonies who might have been thinking or resisting its Imperial Machinations post-Independence.

INDEPENDENT GUINEA

  • Loved for his Radical and Fearless Style of Leadership and Loathed by others for his high Hand on his Critics and Opposition; Sekou Toure ruled Guinea for 26-Years until March 26,1984 when he Died of a Heart Attack. As a Fearless Pan-Africanist, Sekou helped his Neighbours Guinea-Bissau to secure their Independence from Portuguese Colonialists. He also welcomed Ghana’s Founding Father and esteemed Pan-Africanist Kwame Nkrumah to Guinea as his Co-President when Nkrumah was deposed in 1966. The 2 became Fearless Critics of Neocolonialism and Imperialism.
  • Sekou’s Prime Minister Louis Beavogui took over immediately as Interim President ahead of an Election. Beavogui was deposed a Week later on April 1984 in a Military Coup led by Colonel Lansana Conte and former Prime Minister Colonel Diarra Traore. Col.Conte and his Junta decried the Regime of Sekou Toure as a “Ruthless and Bloody Dicatorship” while promising to restore Civil Liberties. The Conte Junta began by freeing Hundreds of Political Prisoners detained under Sekou Toure’s Regime a Move that saw the Junta Regime gain Popularity.
  • Conte who survived a couple of Coup Attempts ruled Guinea with an Iron Fist for 24-Years until December 23,2008 when he Died after a Long Illness. Although he at some point returned Guinea to Constitutional Order and Multi-Party Politics through the December 1990 Constitution; His Re-Election in the Elections of 1993,1998 and 2003 were widely disputed by the Opposition then led by the current President Alpha Conde and Boye Bah who were his main Challengers in those Elections.
  • Hours after Aboubacar Sompare (then Leader of Natioanl Assembly who was supposed to take over as Interim President for 60 Days ahead of an Election) Announcing the Death of President Conte; Army Captain Moussa Camara Announced a Coup on State TV saying the ‘existing Institutions were incapable of resolving the Country’s Crises and deep Despair, Poverty and Corruption’. Capt.Camara and his CNDD Junta promised to hold a credible and transparent Presidential Election for a Civilian Government in 2 Years; a Decision that did not sit well with the Opposition who wanted an Election in 60 Days as per the Constitution.
  • Huge Protests against Camara’s Junta broke out in an Opposition Rally at a Stadium in Conakry on September 28,2009. The Result was a Massacre of at least 150 Guineans, many others were injured, over 150 Women were Raped among other Atrocities by the Junta Forces according to a Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International Report. No significant Convictions and Justice for the Victims has been seen To-date. The ECOWAS,EU,US  and the African Union imposed punitive Sanctions on Camara’s Junta; the AU called for his Resignation. On December 2009, Camara was Wounded in an Assassination Attempt where his Driver and Bodygurad were Killed. He was flown out for Treatment. Later the Junta Appointed General Sekouba Konate and Jean Marie Dore to run a New Transition Government towards an Election.

GUINEA 2010 REBIRTH

  • The Rebirth of Guinea began with the Adoption of the May 2010 Constitution and the November 2010 Presidential Election.
  • Long-time OppositionLeader Alpha Conde was declared Winner in a Contest that saw a Total of 24 Candidates. Conde garnered 52% beating his main Challenger and former Prime Minister Cellou Diallo who got 47% in a Second-round Poll. Although Diallo’s Supporters Protested the Outcome; this Election is often described as Guinea’s first Free and Fair Democratic Election.
  • Upon assuming Office on December 2010; Alpha Conde promised to turn the Country into a Stable Democracy. “I will be Mandela for what he did for Freedom fighting and Obama for what he has done for Hope”-he promised in an Interview.
  • Conde was Re-elected for what was set to be his Second and Last Term on October 2015 with 58%. His 2010 Challenger again came Second with 31% in an Election that had 8 Candidates. Conde was Sworn in on December 2015. Diallo rejected the Outcome but did not Challenge it in Court.
  • President Conde who was being expected to retire upon the end of his 2 due Constitutional Terms in December 2020 Announced an Unthinkable Move on December 2019. Against his Promise to respect and uphold the 2010 Constitution; Conde and his RPG Party Announced a Constitutional Amendment in a Ploy to Reset the Clock on his Stay in Office as President. This Scheme has been used before by Africa’s longest serving Presidents.
  • On March 22,2020; Conde’s Regime held a Controversial Referendum that altered Presidential Term Length from 5-6 Years renewable Once. With this simple Amendment; Conde is now free to contest for some 2 Fresh Terms since the New Amendment will not be applied Retroactively. President Alpha Conde is Now a Candidate in the October 18,2020 Presidential Election.
  • The Run-up, Execution and Results of this disputed Referendum that was widely Boycotted by the Opposition was characterized by widespread Protests (Amoulanfe) and Violent Police Confrontation with protesting Guineans in a Clampdown that saw at least 30 People Killed.
  • Conde’s Government Reforms in the Mining Industry have seen Substantial Economic Growth with the Country’s GDP doubling under his Regime. Ethnicity, Political Violence, Impunity, Youth Unemployment, slow development of Transport Infrastructure, incessant Electricity and Water Outage and Shortage among other Challenges have however marred Conde’s Administration.
  • The Country’s Main Opposition Alliance-FNDC-continues to decry Conde’s Third Term Candidacy as an “Unconstitutional Candidacy” through a “Constitutional Coup” terming it as an Act of Dictatorship. 82-Years Old President Alpha Conde in defense argues that he needs more Time to complete major Infrastructural and Mining Projects like the Simandou Iron Ore Mine and the ongoing 135KM Dapilon-Santou Modern Freight Railway Project. Conde’s Supporters also argue that the 2014-2016 Ebola Epidemic in Guinea was a Major Setback to his Economic Development Cause and hence the need for more Time to deliver on his Promises.

GUINEA OCTOBER 18,2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION:

  • A total of 12 Candidates; 2 Women and 10 Men are seeking to get the Clingy Conde RPG Regime off Power in this Election. Over 5.4 Million Guineans are registered to Vote in this Election across the 8 Administrative Regions of Guinea; Conakry,Boke,Faranah,Kankan,Kindia,Labe,Mamou and Nzerekore.
  • President Conde’s main Challenger in 2010 and 2015 one 68-Years old former Prime Minister Cellou Diallo is still his main Challenger in this Election via his UFDG Party. His recent Exit from Guinea’s Opposition and Civil Society-FNDC-Alliance which was described as an Act of Betrayal to FNDC’s National Cause of defending the Country’s Constitutional Order makes his Chance of beating Conde slim. The FNDC has agreed to Boycott this Election in Protest against Conde’s “Unconstitutional” Third Term.
  • This Election will also see 2 well known Women Candidates;64-Years old Makale Camara and Dr.Makale Traore. Makale Camara; a Lawyer and Diplomat has previously served Guinea as a Minister in Foreign Affairs and Agriculture Ministries. Dr.Makale Traore; an Economic Law Expert and Civil Society Activist has previously served as the County’s Public Service and Adminstrative Reforms Ministry. She was Alpha Conde’s Campaign Director back in 2010.

GUINEA’S QUICK FACT-FILE

  • GUINEA is a Country in West Africa along the Coast of Atlantic. It is Home to slightly over 13 Million People. It shares an Inland Border with 6 African Countries;Guinea-Bissau,Senegal,Mali,Ivory Coast,Sierra Leone and Liberia.
  • With a GDP Per Capita of $920 in 2019 and a Rank of 174/189 Countries on the 2019 Human Development Index; 55% of Guineans still live below the International Poverty Line of $1.25 a Day according to the World Bank.
  • Guinea is among the 33 Least Developed Countries-LDCs in Sub-saharan Africa according to UNCTAD. It is also a Low Income Country whose main Economic Activity is Mining.
  • Guinea has the World’s largest Reserve of the rich Bauxite Aluminum Ore. It is also a Significant Producer and Exporter of Gold,Iron,Uranium,Diamonds and Alumina. These among other Minerals make Guinea one the Wealthiest Countries in Africa in terms of Natural Resources.
  • Guinea has some Breathtaking Beaches like ‘iles des los’, Islands and Highlands like ‘Fouta Djallon’ which attract Thousands of Tourists each Year. Part of ‘Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve’ which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site is in Guinea.
  • Guinea’s Official Language is French which was inherited from their former Colonial Master France. Fula,Malinke,Susu and some other Indigenous Languages are recognized as National Languages since most Guineans are able to Communicate in either.
  • Guinea is largely an Islam Country with 85% of the Population being Muslims although other Faiths like Christianity and Indigenous Beliefs are also practiced.
  • The ‘Guinean Franc-GFR’ is the Country’s Currency.
  • Conakry is the Country’s Capital City. It is often added to the Country’s Name to differentiate it from its Neighbor Guinea-Bissau. Camayenne; a Conakry Neighborhood is also a popular and populous City in Guinea.
  • On March 2014; the World Health Organization reported Cases of Ebola Virus in South Eastern Guinea in what would later become the largest Ebola Outbreak and an Epidemic in West Africa. A total of 28,616 Cases and 11,310 Ebola Deaths were Confirmed in Guinea,Liberia and Sierra Leone by June 2016 when the Epidemic was defeated. Guinea’s Experience in combating Ebola Epidemic has largely helped the Country to combat the raging Global ‘COVID-19_Corona Virus Pandemic’; To-date, Guinea has reported 11,400 Cases and 70 COVID-19 Deaths.

(IMAGES COURTESY)

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