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Will Guinea accept Konate’s gift?

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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.”

from Global News Journal:

Cheers for Africa’s new military ruler. For now.

Fifteen years ago this month, Guinea’s late ruler Lansana Conte made clear what form democracy would take under his rule.

We answered a summons to a late night news conference to hear the result of his first multiparty election, speeding through silent streets where armoured vehicles waited in the shadows. The interior minister announced that ballots from the east, the opposition’s stronghold, had been cancelled because of irregularities. Conte had therefore won 50.93 percent of the vote. There was no need for a run-off because he had an absolute majority.

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