Guinea’s self-exiled opposition leader Alpha Conde was returning home today as tension rose in the country ahead of December 14 presidential elections, a source in Conakry told IRIN today. He said some 500 hundred supporters were at the airport, but that the situation was calm and under control.
Reuters quoted Conde as saying in Senegal yesterday that: “On my arrival home tomorrow, I will tell my supporters that I want to get to power through democratic elections,” calling on them to ignore “all provocation”. Conde, leader of Guinea’s main opposition Rassemblement du Peuple Guineen (RPG), left Guinea 18 months ago complaining of threats to his life.
With clashes already reported between supporters of rival candidates in the election, some members of the humanitarian community in Guinea were going to reduce their activities before elections as a “precautionary” measure, the source contacted by IRIN said.
Apart from Conde, three other candidates are in the running: the incumbent President Lansana Conte, leader of the Parti de l’Union et du Progres (PUP), Mamadou Ba of the Union pour le progres et le renouveau (UPR), and the leader of the Parti du renouveau et du progres (PRP), Siradiou Diallo. According to the bi-weekly “Jeune Afrique Economie”, the opposition coalition group, Coordination de l’opposition democratique (CODEM), grouping the key political opposition parties, had advocated fielding a single candidate. This was rejected. Meanwhile, an Electoral Commission was established to ensure “transparent elections”, weekly “Jeune Afrique Economie” added.