Guineans voted calmly in a test ballot

Large, empty and dark alleys. Usually saturated with traffic, Conakry, a thin strip of land stretching out into the Atlantic Ocean, is deserted. And this is also the case for some polling stations at 7 a.m., the supposed opening time. In an annex of the Ministry of Mines of Corinthia, district of the central municipality of Kaloum, we see neither voters … nor material. “There’s nothing”, slips a representative of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), which watches for the delivery of ballot boxes, ballots and voting booth.

In the neighboring polling station, the room is being cleaned, while a downpour descends on a handful of citizens. Among them, Ibrahima, 30, delegate of the National Movement for Development (MND), one of the twelve parties selected to compete in the presidential election. “I came to watch the ballot. Our role as a delegate is to ensure that there is no fraud. Because people can come and confuse the process, ”he said. In principle, each of the twelve parties must send a delegate to each polling station.

At 7:30 am, everything seems ready at the Mother-Child Clinic Bernard Kouchner (built by the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, high school friend of outgoing President Alpha Condé, Ed.), One of the aisles of which is transformed into a polling station. It remains to find where to place the newly assembled polystyrene voting screen. Opposite, at the September 28 high school, the manager Konate opens the ball. “Wash your hands first. And remember we are all Guineans, regardless of the vote! “. “The peculiarity of this election is the tension and passion on the part of the two major parties”, summarizes Oumar Kamara, president of polling station No. 1 in Corinthia.

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Vote express d’Alpha Condé

The outgoing president and candidate for his re-election for a 3rd term Alpha Condé, whose vote was announced at 9:30 am not far from the Sekoutoureyah Palace, his place of work and residence, arrived at 11 am at the “school for the deaf in Boulbounet” . Abacost cream with mandarin collar, downcast eyes, he slipped his ballot into the ballot box, then addressed the press very briefly. “My wish is that the elections be free, democratic and transparent, and that everything takes place in peace and tranquility. We will ensure that all the polling stations are secure. Guinea cannot develop if there is no peace, security and unity, so we call on all candidates to avoid any act of violence, ”he said. He also called on election observers deployed on the ground to “play their part” – with a slip that he was quick to rectify, mentioning the European Union instead of ECOWAS. The EU, let us remember, like the United States and the International Organization of La Francophonie, did not send a mission to monitor the electoral process.

There were also 35 observers from thePan African Institute for Electoral Assistance (IPAS). “We check whether there are representatives from all political parties, whether the voting booth is well placed to guarantee the secrecy of the vote, whether the ink is indelible. But my great surprise, in this polling station, is to see so many soldiers. Isn’t their vote an acquired vote, and why not have them vote separately from civilians? We also wonder if there are not informants among them, ”slips one of them. It is true that in front of this polling station nestled in the heart of the administration, the line of voters is mostly khaki. There are naval officers, the presidential guard, red berets … The army is over-represented.

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Cellou Dalein Diallo in the winning posture

Cellou Dalein Diallo, Alpha Condé’s main opponent, voted in a Dixinn youth center, not far from his headquarters. Around him, a swarm of journalists and partisans, from which sometimes burst forth the cries: “Prési, presi! “. He declared to have exercised his civic duty “with a lot of confidence in relation to the outcome of this election. As you know, I have just returned from a brilliant campaign – excuse the lack of modesty – given the warm welcome that my delegation received, and especially when I returned to Conakry. The people expressed their confidence and their determination to bring about the alternation in my favor. I know that today there is no doubt, even in the camp opposite, on (my) victory. The strategy that is being worked out on the other side is how to cheat. Because Mr Alpha Condé does not want to give up his desire to grant himself a presidency for life (…) That said, I appeal to all my supporters to show restraint and responsibility so that the vote takes place in the best possible way. conditions ”.

Set up on Saturday, the device #GuineeVote has already pointed out some irregularities: delay in opening certain polling stations, absence of ballot box, voting booth, ink, inker or seals in a few rare places. But “based on the information that has reached us, we can estimate that the ballot started without major incident, especially likely to taint (its) credibility” writes the Association of bloggers of Guinea, on the initiative of this surveillance, in a press release published at 3 p.m.

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Abstention ?

In the capital, large crowds were noted in Matam, former stronghold of the Union of Republican Forces, the third political force in the country which boycotted the ballot and that the ruling party, the Rally of the People of Guinea-Arc-en- Heaven, hear delight. But it still seems difficult to assess the mobilization on the scale of the capital.

Met this Saturday in Madina, Conakry’s largest market, Aboubakar, 35, has graduated in sociology since 2010. But for lack of being able to find work, he sells shirts in the second-hand district. He explains his disavowal vis-à-vis the Guinean political class: “These people have no consideration for youth. They manipulate us. “Alpha” only says that his five-year term was for young people and for women, but we can’t see anything. You drop off your diplomas for a job, and you’re rejected everywhere. We don’t even know if they consider us to exist in this country. Reason why I decided not to vote. And then with them, it’s always violence ”.

Moussa, a 28-year-old lawyer, also decided to abstain, “because it is always the same two who clash, and nothing changes”. He would have liked to see a “new man” emerge. To get by, he became a driver and invested in a “goodbye France”. In this case, a Peugeot 205, 250,000 km on the clock, which can accommodate 5 passengers. This profession remains a major outlet for young unemployed graduates in a capital deprived of public transport.

Read also Guinea: Cellou Dalein Diallo, home stretch

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