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Will Guinea accept Konate’s gift?

November 16, 2010

konateOne of the first things you see when you arrive at the airport in Conakry is a poster of General Sekouba Konate, wearing fatigues, sunglasses and a red beret.

Drive into the city, and interspersed among the campaign billboards that cover the sides of major roadways, you’ll see more Konate posters – including one bearing the words “Sentinel de la Paix”, bringer of peace.

It seems appropriate to pay homage to the leader of Guinea’s military junta, who surprised many Guineans and much of the world for pushing hard to transfer his power to a civilian through free and fair elections – something the West African state has never experienced before.

“I don’t know of another soldier in Guinea who would have done that,” said General Ibrahim Balde, the head of Guinea’s national guard and election security forces during an interview last week. “What he has given the country is a real gift.”

Nearly five months after the first round of elections and more than a week after the run-off, Guinea’s electoral commission on Monday named veteran opposition leader Alpha Conde president-elect over rival Cellou Dalein Diallo, something the Supreme Court must now ratify.

But the process up to this point has been tortuous and turbulent, with clashes between rival political camps - including rioting in some neighbourhoods on Monday and overnight that security forces pushed back with live rounds.

Analysts are worried more trouble lies ahead.

The main problem is that the rivals come from Guinea’s two most populous ethnic groups – the Malinke and the Peul – and the presidential contest meant to pull Guinea out of a dark period has backfired by rekindling longstanding tensions between the two groups.

Even Konate – Sentinel de la Paix – is taking a hit.

“He did a great thing, but now he’s in the middle of the fight,” said Alpha Issiaga Bongoura, a musician.

The Peul believe he pressured the electoral commission to favour  Conde, extending what they see as centuries of other ethnicities ganging up on them to keep them out of power. The Malinke believe the opposite given Konate has two Peul wives.

Will Guineans eventually take Konate’s gift, or will the tug-of-war between Peul and Malinke tear the country in two?

(Photo: General Sekouba Konate, the junta leader of Guinea’s interim government, votes in Conakry. REUTERS/Luc Gnago)

The elections in Guinea is not a gift.It is inevitable that Guinea must hold elecions,as the people are tired of 50 years of dictatorship.Konate betrayed Moussa Dadis Camara because the malinke already had a plan of regaining power in Guinea,something they think rightfully belongs to them.Konate married a peul as a cover,to demonstrate to the rest of Ginea that he is not ethnocentric.

As far as the elections,he stole the first round from Sidya Toure in favor of Alpha Conde,then they orchestrated the conviction and sentencing of the then electoral commissioner,Sillah,who later died in a hospital in France.
Take note that Cellou Dalein Diallo had almost 44% of the vote in the 1st round to Alpha Conde’s 18%.Then Mr.Diallo was endorsed by Sidya Toure,who scored 13% and Abe Sillah,who scored 3%-do the math.
Then Alpha Conde started the process of delaying the elections.He started by asking for the corrections of irregularities.When he got that,he convinced Prme Minister Jean Mari Dore,an ardent supporter of his,to introduce a decree to be presented to the transition president Konate for his signature.The purpose was to transfer the responsibility of organising the elections from the electoral commission to the Ministry of the interior.Under extreme pressure from Cellou Dalein and his allies,they backed off.
Alpha Conde’s next move was to mount a coup within the electoral commission by pushing for the illegal election of his die-hard supporter Lounceni Camara as president,contrary to the rules governing that organ.All these events contributed to the postponement of elections for at least 4 or 5 times before it was finally held on November 7.
Few weeks prior to the elections,in a rally held in Conakry by Alpha Conde and his supporters,allegations spread by Mr.Conde’s alliance stated that members of the Peul ethnic group has poisoned Alpha Conde’s supporters,mostly malinkes with water manufactured by Peul business men.This led to series of attacks on the Peul residents of Siguiri,Kankan,Mandiana,et.,mostly malinke towns.A massive exodus of Peul residents followed,as their properties were destroyed and their lives in danger.

Due to the terror and intimidation of Diallo’s supporters ln these malinke dominated towns,his supporters there were not only refused their right to vote,but his representatives were also not allowed to be in the voting booths,and all this with Konate pretending to not see or know about.This not only gave them chance to stuff ballots in Mr.Conde’s favor,but is also a violation of the electoral code,meaning votes from those areas must be cancelled.More so,with all the violence on the Peul ethnic group,there were no reprisals.

Konate has further succeeded in convincing the international community that the military will not accept Mr.Diallo as president.Having exhausted so much time and effort on Guinea’s crisis,the international community wants to see an end and has settled to support the effprts of Konate,which are non order than having his fellow malinke imposed on the people and therefore,more control of government contracts of Konate,who has given all military reconstruction deals to his friend and business partner Kelfala Person Camara,alias KPC.

Since Alpha Conde was declared a winner on monday,the military has decended on the unarmed Peul population,conducting extra-judicial killings(Amnesty International has released statement on this).

If this is Konate’s gift to Guinea,his wives’ relatives(Peuls) are definately not getting a fair share.

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