Salone News

Guinea: Clash of the Titans July 18

By  | 9 July 2010 at 02:14 | 883 views

Cellou Diallo, of the Union des Forces Democratiques de Guinee or Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UDFG) the man who led in the first round of Guinea’s first and real democratic elections since the death of Ahmed Sekou Toure, has astounded opponents with his crowd pulling strategies.

He won hands down in the first round with 40 percent of the total valid votes cast but since he did not get the constitutional 52 percent of the total valid votes cast, a run off has been scheduled for July 18.

This has created a frenzied atmosphere in the country. Every where there are heated debates with crowds of youths and adults in every nook and corner speculating who will emerge as victor in the run off; whether it would be Alpha Conde of the RPG of Cellou Dalein Diallo. But like in the first round, Diallo has turned out to be a crowd puller but this time round the crowds where more than the first as those whose candidates have fallen on the way side have decided to come under his umbrella.

Cellou Diallo (top photo) seems to be a man who has several cards up his sleeve and many are aces that he uses at the eleventh hour in this game of politics. The 40 percent he won in the first round has created the impression in many minds that he may likely be “Mr. President" after the run off and many of the big guns in the political arena have already pitched tent with him. This has put a a wan smile on his face. Several factors have aided him to gain a strong foot hold before the run off.

First, having been a minister in President Lansana’s regime he had created friendship and admiration in the public service, the army, police and even in the private sector. He has been fondly remembered for some of the individual and officially sanctioned projects he undertook while serving in Conte’s regime. The ethnic minorities in Guinea’s Forest Region as the central part of the country is called fondly remember him for building and rehabilitating bridges and roads, rendering personal help to individuals for which he gained fame and his professed love for democratic tenets. He always believed that liberal democratic principles in the western world should be emulated.

Cellou Daillo’s promise of “One people! One country!”, implying a cementing of the of the ethically fragmented country, has ignited hope within many progressive elements in Guinea. The country’s politics were marred by ethic alliances and confrontation in thbe past which had posed a threat to its peace.

Many people say they prefer Cellou because of his stance against ethnic polarization nurtured by other politicians who thought it was a good weapon against their opponents. He has on the other hand portrayed himself as a unifying force thus creating the impression that he is a conveyor of peace progress and unity.

But there is one card he has which even critics say is devastating to his opponent Alpha Conde’s chances is that he has spent all his life in Ghana and his properties and family have been in Guinea unlike Conde who many say and supporters acquiesce that he is more French than Guinean.

Alpha Conde

Conde trailed behind in the first round because his campaign strategies were only limited to the Madingo community while Diallo had craftily appealed to different tribes. Now that alliances and support are being sought ahead of the July 18 run off, Diallo’s unifying card has opened a wider window of opportunity making him beam with smiles as delegations upon delegations storm his residence to pledge support and forge an alliance.

But some Fullahs in Sierra Leone are jittery because of former President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah’s presence in Guinea. He too is a Madingo and has been sarcastically referred to as an unethical politician referring to the way he won the election in 1996 which nearly led Dr. John Karefa-Smart to go to court because of five boxes stuffed with ballots and kept at the Bo Government secondary school, information that was leaked by Dr. Abass Bundu of the People’s Progressive Party, one of the contestants at the time.

In 2002 again, Ernest Koroma, leader of the APC had to threaten to take court action after Kabbah had claimed that he won 75 percent before final results were released and when the results were finally released, it turned out that the then opposition All Peoples Congress had 35 percent and other mush room parties had 10 percent bringing the whole thing to a total of 120 percent. The question raised was where did the surplus come from?.

But many supporters in Guinea say Kabbah’s presence as an observer would not change the reality. With the alliances that are going on, analysts say Cellou Diallo is likely to be Guinea’s next president. And whenever they say this they usually say “By God’s Grace (as a Muslim dominated country they say “Inshallah”) . Even in Sierra Leone Diallo was ahead of Alpha Conde ( in the first round) by a margin of not less than 5,000 votes when the Guinean community in the country voted.

Sunday, July 18, 2010, has been described by many as “D-Day” or a the day of the “Clash of the two big Titans”. The Patriotic Vanguard will be there and will deliver a succint and detailed report. Don’t miss it!