A human rights activist said several African heads of state and government have arrived in Guinea’s capital, Conakry, to participate in the swearing-in ceremony of veteran opposition leader Alpha Conde as president of the West African nation Tuesday.
Thierno Balde, president of Guinea’s Research Institute on Democracy and the Rule of Law, a non-governmental organization, told VOA many Guineans see Mr. Conde as the first democratically-elected leader since the country gained independence from France in 1958.
“Traffic has paralyzed the city, (because) so many people are attending the ceremony. It’s a new beginning for Guinea and now we are going to have a new democratically-elected president,” said Balde.
“The expectation is to wait and see what kind of policies the new president is going to implement because the main concern of all Guineans is, really, to fight against corruption, (and) to make sure that they get the basic public services including having access to water, electricity and also to have access to healthcare.”
Several heads of state, including Senegal's Abdoulaye Wade, Mali's Amadou Toumani Toure, Burkina Faso's Blaise Compaore, Sierra Leone's Ernest Bai Koroma, Liberia's Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Gabon's Ali Bongo , Angola's Eduardo Dos Santos and Jacob Zuma of South Africa are scheduled to witness the installation of President-elect Conde.
Guinea’s electoral commission announced Mr. Conde garnered 52.5 percent, while his rival, former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo, received 47.5 percent of the total vote cast during the presidential run-off election.
Balde said expectations among Guineans are high describing Mr. Conde’s installation as a new beginning for the West African country.
“If he is able to provide the services, I think he will enjoy a large support from all the population. People are really anxious whether he will go after some of the supporters of the former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo, or if he will really forgive and help improve the livelihood of Guineans, and make sure that, from now on, the judiciary system (will work).”
Supporters of Mr. Diallo rejected the results citing fraud and voter irregularities. They also demanded the electoral commission cancel results from certain polling stations. But, partisans of Mr. Conde dismissed the allegations as without merit.
Last month, the country’s Supreme Court confirmed the results officially declaring long-time opposition leader Conde president-elect.
The election was intended to return Guinea to civilian rule after decades of dictatorship and a two-year military junta. Diallo belongs to the Fulani, Guinea's largest ethnic group, while Mr. Conde comes from the smaller Malinke community.