Guinea president rubbishes fraud allegations

Alpha Conde dismisses allegations of vote-rigging in recent parliamentary election, final results of which are pending.

Guineans voted in parliamentary elections on September 28, completing a transition from military rule [Reuters]

Guinea’s president has dismissed accusations of electoral fraud lodged by the opposition, as the government continues to disallow protests against the election results.

On Tuesday, diplomats and UN representatives observing the country’s first parliamentary elections in over a decade raised concerns over “irregularities”, warning that some results from the September 28 poll may have been skewed.

“Breaches and irregularities were observed in a certain number of constituencies, preventing a significant number of votes from being taken into account, and could therefore put into question the sincerity of certain results,” the diplomats said in a joint statement, pointing to issues in eight out of 38 constituencies.

“I don’t pay attention to all this,” Alpha Conde said in an interview with the AFP news agency on Tuesday, responding to fraud allegations and the opposition’s calls for the vote to be scrapped.

“Those who are thinking of destabilising Guinea are making a mistake. Guinea will never be destabilised,” he said, responding to the threat of mass demonstrations by his opponents.

“Every party has its view, but it is their responsibility to send their views to the Supreme Court, which is the only jurisdiction with the authority to decide,” he said.

“I am waiting for the outcome.”

According to partial and provisional results released 10 days after the vote, Conde’s ruling Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) party is in the lead.

The party had already claimed it would be able to command a majority in the country’s national assembly.

‘Fought for democracy’

Conde, who long led the political opposition to the late dictator Lansana Conte, became Guinea’s first democratically elected president in 2010.

The 75-year-old said he had “fought for democracy for 50 years”, insisting he had himself been a victim of electoral fraud “several times” at the hands of men who were “prime ministers at the time”, referring to former prime minister and opposition coalition spokesman Sidya Toure, as well as Cellou Dalein Diallo and Lansana Kouyate who also served under general Conte’s 1984-2008 regime.

“I’ve always fought for transparency and I’ve always said that under my presidency, all elections will be free, democratic and transparent,” Conde said.

The last parliamentary elections in Guinea took place in June 2002 during the dictatorship of Conte, who died in December 2008 after 24 years in power.

Last month’s legislative elections – which were repeatedly delayed because of disagreements between the government and the opposition – were meant to allow Guinea to turn the page on a troubled transition following Conte’s death.

Allegations of irregularities

But since the start of the year violence linked to the election process and inter-ethnic strife has left dozens dead and hundreds wounded in the impoverished West African country.

Guinea’s main opposition parties claim the September polls were marred by a string of irregularities, including ballot stuffing, voter intimidation and minors casting ballots.

Tensions rose further when the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) was slow to announce the results, blamed by Conde on a manual tally.

“Given the state of our roads results could not arrive in time,” he said. Under Guinea’s election law, the Supreme Court has to rubberstamp the final results within 10 days of polls closing.

On Tuesday, 30 young opposition supporters were detained for staging an unsanctioned protest against the alleged irregularities, a security official said.

Alpha Barry, spokesman for a special elections-related security force, said the demonstrators gathered to denounce the disappearance of a ballot box in Conakry’s administrative district where the office of the president is located.

Source: News Agencies