Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

Ready for elections in Ivory Coast and Guinea?

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guineaBarring last-minute upsets, Ivory Coast will go to the polls on Sunday, marking the end of a five-year limbo in which the incumbent president has ruled without any real mandate and the country stagnated without a sense of identity or direction.

The following weekend, neighbouring Guinea may finally hold the serially delayed second-round of its presidential election, hoped to end nearly two years of military rule whose defining moment was a massacre of pro-democracy marchers by the security forces in a sports stadium.

It can only be a good thing if the elections allow Ivory Coast and Guinea to draw a line under their past and move on. But is either country actually ready for them?

In Guinea any semblance of voting on a candidate’s policy proposals or merits has been jettisoned after June’s first round which, to no great surprise, set the stage for a run-off between Cellou Dallein Diallo and Alpha Conde — representatives of the large Peul and Malinke communities respectively.

What future for southern Sudan?

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It’s less than a year before Sudan’s first ever national election, so what are people thinking in the south of the country, in an area blighted by two decades of fighting?

In the village of Leer, reminders of civil war are everywhere, such as a large hole where most of the village would crouch, hiding from bomber planes and helicopter gunships.

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