On either side of the expressway which divides the Conakry peninsula in two, Mamadi Sylla and Alhassane Diallo make the same prognosis. Their candidate will win the presidential election in the first round, organized this Sunday, October 18 in Guinea. Otherwise … if the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) announced the opposite, within a few days, it could turn into mayhem in the streets of the capital. The problem is, these two young men can’t stand the same champion. So necessarily, there will be disappointment in one or the other.
Mamadi Sylla and all his family from the Matam district swear, in fact, by the outgoing president, Alpha Condé, and his party, the Rassemblement du peuple de Guinée (RPG). Alhassane Diallo, he only has eyes for Cellou Dalein Diallo, like 90% of the people of the Hafia district, mining area of the municipality of Dixinn, who massively support the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) and its leader.
Third presidential election since 1958
This presidential election is only the third to be held freely in a pluralist framework, since the independence of this former French colony, in 1958. And like those of 2010 and 2015 won by Alpha Condé, it comes down to a duel between the two men. The ten other candidates, including a woman, can at best cut to the margins the electorate of the two heavyweights but are mainly there to make up the figure.
Sunday morning at dawn, Alhassane Diallo therefore slipped his ballot into the matt white Plexiglas urn after checking box 7 corresponding to Cellou Dalein Diallo. He came as soon as the offices opened at 7 a.m., he had to wait a few moments. The time that the members of the outdoor polling station, at the Fode-Keita crossroads, move dare-dare, a stone’s throw away, under the awning of a school group, the ballot box, the lists and the two voting booths white plastic cardboard to protect against a sudden and heavy downpour at the end of the rainy season.
At ten o’clock in the morning, the attendance list already showed an extremely high participation rate of 84 voters for 238 registered. For Alhassane Diallo, as there is no doubt that almost all of them voted like him, this is the heralding sign of the victory of his champion. “The Guineans have suffered too much for ten years, especially us, the Peuls [l’une des principales communautés ethniques du pays], we now need the alternation ”, explains the young man, unemployed since obtaining his diploma in rural engineering, three years ago.
Around him, his friends nod. “We are just waiting, there is no hope. I preferred to quit school, it’s no use ”, comments Ibrahima Cissé. Him has ” took the desert “ a year ago as far as Algeria to do masonry, before being voluntarily repatriated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). “There too, it’s hard”, he slips without expanding on the subject. “Alpha has to stop. If they announce that he has won, it is because they will have flouted the results and we will not let this happen ”, warns the young man.
Unemployment and misery
After the bridge that spans the highway, Mamadi Sylla describes a bit the same things. Misery, unemployment after a brief training as an electrician, the too large family crammed into a house with a tin roof at the edge of a filthy alley … By the roadside, a giant poster of the candidate Condé calls to be “Together for shared prosperity”. Mamadi does not dwell on the slogan. There, in this muddy part of the Cadac district in Matam, where you fill your yellow cans with the common tap, talking about prosperity is almost obscene. It prevents. Mamadi is convinced that the outgoing president is best able to lift the country out of poverty. “We already have a little electricity, not a lot, but before there was nothing. It’s thanks to the Chinese roadblocks and the president. He is a little old [82 ans contre 68 ans pour son principal challengeur] but nobody did like him ”, he said.
“And then, if he leaves, will the army and those who support him let him go?” I do not believe “, the young man worries. For the moment, his anxiety is more about the disorder that could invade the streets of the capital after the election. “The elections, especially the announcement of the results, are always a moment of tension in Guinea, it is a constant”, recognizes Damantang Albert Camara, the Minister of Security. Twelve thousand men – gendarmes, police officers, members of the special election security units (Ussel) and the military “Used only for logistics”, specifies the Minister – were also deployed throughout the territory to secure the population and the 15,000 polling stations.
In March, several of the latter had been set on fire by the opposition which had called for boycotting the legislative elections and, above all, the referendum organized on the same day to adopt a new Constitution which broke the lock previously prohibiting Alpha Condé to run for a third term. In the presidential entourage, we are serene. “This ballot is more peaceful, entrusts an advisor,The worst is behind us. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. “