Guinea’s main opposition leader has called on neighbouring West African countries to quell a growing political crisis in the country.
President Alpha Conde’s decision to run for a third term in the October elections has sparked months of often violent protests. Opposition leader, Cellou Dalein Diallo, has denounced Conde’s decision to run again, calling it unconstitutional. He said on Thursday that he would like to see the regional body ECOWAS turn its attention to his country.
“We are a little jealous of the promptness with which ECOWAS acted in Mali to help that country reconcile when it has not taken action to help Guinea which has long been in crisis,” Diallo told reporters in Dakar, Senegal. “We regularly contacted ECOWAS but it did not come. We deplore the lack of reaction from ECOWAS against President Conde’s candidacy.”
October’s election will be the third face-off between Conde and Diallo, who first ran against each other in the 2010 election that came after more than a half-century of dictatorship in the country.
For months, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets to oppose another term for Conde. He insists he is following the will of the people by running in the October elections, after voters in March approved a referendum that allowed for him to run again. Diallo said he traveled to Senegal to rally the support of the large Guinean population living in the neighboring nation.
“As soon as I get there on Saturday, we’re going to sign the alliance of the parties that were initially reluctant and that were mocking the deaths, but that decided to support the UFDG.”
Earlier on Thursday, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari pledged that Nigeria would continue to assist Guinea-Bissau in any way possible, saying ‘‘a peaceful and prosperous Guinea-Bissau is a win for West Africa and for Africa.’ Buhari joined counterparts from Senegal, Mauritania and Burkina Faso to celebrate the 47th independence Guinea Bissau’s anniversary.
‘‘The highest tribute we can pay them is to build on the gains of independence. It is my sincere prayer that your country will continue on the path of national cohesion, growth and unity,’’ Buhari said.
Diallo also called for unity in the country to prevent violence that could lead to a civil war.
“I think Guinea will be a strong nation. But, if the community withdrawal, and ethnocentrism continues to be used as propaganda, Guinea will retreat and it will be exposed to violence that one day may lead to a civil war. These discourses must be combated. These practices must be combated.”