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Homepage > Publication Type > Open Letters > Open Letter to Guinea’s Presidential Candidates

Open Letter to Guinea’s Presidential Candidates

Dakar/Nairobi/Brussels  |   5 Nov 2010

The International Crisis Group closely watched the first round of the presidential elections and was greatly relieved by its peaceful outcome given the relatively short period in which the elections were organised. However, the 23 and 24 October ethnic clashes in Conakry and attacks against defenceless civilians that resulted in one death and the destruction of properties are worrying and could constitute a liability to the entire transition process. 

In that regard, the International Crisis Group is calling on both presidential candidates to refrain from fanning ethnic flames and from any form of violent actions that could undermine the transition and the fragile stability of the country. We particularly call on the candidates to desist from mobilising their supporters with a maximalist all-or-nothing approach and to fully honour the peaceful elections pact signed in Ouagadougou on 3 September 2010. The International Crisis Group would like to take this opportunity to remind both Cellou Dalein Diallo and Alpha Condé that they are responsible for the messages they pass to their supporters.

Any grievances the losing candidate may have about the elections should be addressed through the legally constituted channels. Equally, we also urge the winning candidate to act in a magnanimous and reconciliatory fashion because whatever the outcome of the elections, the newly elected president will be faced with immense challenges that should transcend partisan politics and the ethno-regional divide.  

As a matter of urgency, we call on General Sékouba Konaté to increase the level of security with immediate effect. Equally, urgent steps must be taken to improve the security of the electoral process particularly in urban centres that are notorious for widescale violence such as Siguiri, Kankan, Nzérékoré and Conakry.     

Also, it is in the national interest for the army to continue to remain neutral in the electoral process. Any attempt to use national security as an argument to interfere in the electoral process and undermine the transition must be resisted by the international community and may be met with sanctions.  

It is therefore imperative for the international community, and particularly for the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) special mediator, the International Contact Group on Guinea and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to continue to build upon the positive and encouraging trend of the first round of polls by working with the Guinean leadership and the presidential candidates to ensure that the 7 November elections are violence-free.  

The International Crisis Group believes that although the election of a new civilian president represents an opportunity for renewed international assistance, it also constitutes the first step to addressing the country’s dysfunctional political dynamics and long-term stability challenges. Therefore, we urge the international community to remain engaged with Guinea after the elections, through supporting substantial state-building efforts including army reform, or risk jeopardising the substantial investment already made to stabilise the country.

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