The outgoing President of Guinea-Conakry, Alpha Condé, called on members of his ethnic group to unite around his controversial candidacy for a third term, calling the upcoming presidential election a “war” between the government and the opposition.
“This election is not just an election, it’s like we are at war,” Mandarin-speaking Condé told supporters in Siguiri, his electoral stronghold. The speech was delivered by video conference, broadcast Tuesday evening on national television. As a rule, Condé uses French in official speeches.
“The other candidates have formed a bloc to fight me,” he said, referring to the recent decision of his 11 opponents to form a collective formation to speak with one voice on the electoral process, taking into account suspicions about the validity of the electoral rolls. .
In his first campaign speech on September 19, also in Mandingo and broadcast on national television, Alpha Condé warned voters in Kankan (eastern part of the country) against the temptation to cede the votes to another candidate from that community.
Vote for a non-RPG Mandingo candidate [União do Povo da Guiné (Rassemblement du Peuple de Guinée), partido no poder], is equivalent to voting for Cellou Dalein Diallo, ”said Condé, referring to his main opponent, a member of the Fulani ethnic group.
“In the region of Fouta, there is no other candidate than Cellou”, declared, in an allusion to the region of Fouta-Djalon (in the center of the country), electoral bastion of Diallo, whose majority population is Fulani.
The Fulani and the Mandinga are the two main communities in the country, who together represent the vast majority of the population.
“You have not forgotten what happened after the death of Sékou Touré”, the first president of the country in 1984, added Condé, in reference to the looting of property belonging to the mandingas, after the failed attempt of the Prime Minister of the time, Diarra Traoré, member of this community, to take power the following year.
Condé, now 82, was in 2010 the first democratically elected president of Guinea-Conakry, a neighboring country of Guinea-Bissau, after decades of authoritarian regimes, after being re-elected in 2015.
In March of this year, Conde held a hotly contested constitutional referendum, which maintains the two-term presidential limit, arguing that the amendment to the country’s basic law sets the accountant to zero.
His opponents have denounced what they call a “constitutional coup” and the demonstrations against Condé’s new candidacy have mobilized several thousand Guineans on several occasions since October 2019.
These protests have been severely repressed on several occasions and dozens of civilians have been killed in clashes.