Hopes high in Guinea for Conde

2010-12-21 21:24
Conakry - Guinea's first freely elected president, Alpha Conde, was sworn in on Tuesday as citizens of the troubled west African state hoped his leadership would turn a page on five dark decades.

Near-constant authoritarian rule since independence from France in 1958 has left the minerals-rich country in ruins and many of its 10 million people without clean water, electricity or jobs.

The election has been held up by the United Nations and others as an example in democracy for African neighbours including Ivory Coast, where a dispute over an election on November 28 has pushed it to the brink of renewed civil war.

"I have hope, a lot of hope," said Moumouni Konate, an unemployed former micro-lending agent in the seaside capital of Conakry.

"I know that things will change in this country because Alpha has promised it."

Conde, a veteran opposition leader, took his oath in a ceremony attended by several African heads of state, including South Africa and regional neighbours Guinea Bissau, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Senegal.

Extreme poverty

Guinea is the world's biggest exporter of bauxite, the raw material in aluminium, and has iron ore deposits that have drawn billions of dollars in planned investments from companies like Rio Tinto and Vale.

But poor governance and political turmoil have kept mining revenues from reaching ordinary Guineans, most of whom eke out an existence on less than $1 a day.

Conde was elected in a November 7 election billed as the country's first free vote and which ended nearly two years of military rule after the death of President Lansana Conte.

Its result, however, triggered several days of violence between supporters of Conde's rival Cellou Dalein Diallo and Guinea's security forces.

Diallo conceded defeat but has insisted the election was marred by fraud and that thousands of his mostly ethnic Peul supporters were chased from their voting constituencies by Conde's backers, who include many ethnic Malinke.

Stability in Guinea could provide investors the legal certainty they need to do business in the resource-rich state, and could shore up fragile gains in a region hit by three armed conflicts since the late 1990s.

National rebirth

"We are here to witness the rebirth of Guinea," said General Sekouba Konate, Guinea's former junta leader who paved the way to the vote.

"It is time to end the reign of impunity in our country," he said just before Conde's swearing-in.

"The work starts now. Food independence in three years, the fight against corruption and theft of public funds, all of this will require profound reform," said Yero Balde, an economist, speaking of the challenges facing Conde.

Conde's rise to power comes after 50 tumultuous years in opposition politics which included exile and a death sentence under former dictator Sekou Toure and prison under General Lansana Conte.

Mining

He has promised to reform the country's notoriously unruly military, review mining contracts, reconcile ethnic divisions, and increase public access to water, electricity, and education.

"Expectations are high and one wonders how the new president could possibly meet them," said Balde.
"It will be difficult."

Mining companies are eager to see Conde's choices for key cabinet posts, particularly for head of the mines ministry, amid a series of ongoing contract disputes and huge joint venture deals that require ratification.

Mining makes up roughly 80% of Guinea's currency receipts, but revenues have fallen sharply in recent years to less than $150m per year from around $200m in the 1980s and 1990s.

Read more on:    lansana conte  |  alpha conde  |  guinea  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!
This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!
This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.