25.8 C
Abuja
Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Forgotten European atrocities in Africa: Peek into abuses and man’s inhumanity to man

This story was done exactly two years ago, it generated quite a lot of feedbacks including a charge one from Shadrack Mandela which stated thus: 'less...

Bill Gates confident coronavirus vaccine will work in Africa, but Africans on Twitter not having it

Talks to have a potential vaccine for Covid-19 tested in Africa, because the number of infected people is not as high as other countries...

Africa’s low coronavirus rate puzzles health experts

Whether it's a matter of faulty detection, climatic factors or simple fluke, the remarkably low rate of coronavirus infection in African countries, with their...

Crime against Congo: Cases against King Leopold II and Belgium

The intriguing thing about the entrance of King Leopold II into Africa is that it was not with any force or coercion; rather, his...

Open letter to Mrs Seinye Lulu-Briggs: Release High Chief Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs body for burial

Dear Ma, I hope this letter meets you in good health.It is with deep sense of respect that I have chosen to write to you...

History Special: Queen Amina, a warrior among men

In many climes in Africa, women have had to struggle to rise above the perking order of patriarchal expectations.They were highly accepted among men...

Protesters battle police in Guinea disputed referendum

Police fired tear in clashes with protesters in Guinea’s capital and other cities on Sunday at the start of a bitterly-disputed referendum that critics say is a ploy by President Alpha Conde to stay in power for a third term.

Conde, who became the West African country’s first democratically elected president in 2010, is proposing a change to the constitution to codify gender equality and introduce other social reforms.

But his opponents fear the real motive is to reset presidential term limits, allowing Conde, 82, to run for a third spell in office later this year — a scenario that his government has not discounted.

Shortly after voting began at 0800 GMT, young people attacked police deployed outside a polling station in a school in Ratoma, a suburb of the capital Conakry, according to an AFP reporter and other witnesses.

In another school nearby, voting equipment was vandalised.

Clashes broke out in Conakry suburbs of the Cosa, Hamdallaye, Dar-es-salam and Lambanyi where opposition youths tossed stones at police and gendarmes who responded with tear gas as they secured the voting stations, an AFP journalist and witnesses said.

Shots were also heard in some parts of Conakry, according to an AFP journalist.

Since October, Guineans have protested en masse against the possibility of Conde extending his grip on power. At least 31 people and one gendarme have been killed to date, according to an AFP tally.

Unrest also broke out on Sunday in Mamou in the centre, Boke to the west and in N’Zerekore, and protesters destroyed election material in regions to the south and northeast, according to witnesses.

Local officials did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment about the unrest.

“I hope all transpires in peace and calm and that the Guinean people, as in 1958, will show their maturity,” Conde said after voting in Conakry, making a reference to referendum that opened the way to independence from colonial France.

‘Taking things lightly’

Critics also questioned the fairness of Sunday’s vote, which is taking place amid mounting concern about the spread of the novel coronavirus in Africa, including two cases that officials reported in Guinea.

“I have the impression our country is taking things lightly,” said Amadou Oury Bah, a banker and politician who suspected the authorities were more interested in their electoral campaign than keeping the country safe from the pandemic.

The governing party called for people to vote as one official, Fode Cisse, said: “We insist on the strict respect of health measures.”

Originally scheduled for March 1, Conde postponed the referendum late last month after international criticism of some 2.5 million dubious names on the country’s electoral roll.

Some 7.7 million people were on the register, out of a total population about 13 million people.

The government says it has now scrubbed the problematic names, after an expert team from the West Africa bloc ECOWAS urged it to last week.

But Guinea’s embattled opposition still doubts the vote’s credibility.

Cellou Diallo, a former premier and the head of the leading opposition party the UFDG, said the process of cleaning up the electoral roll had been opaque.

“It is an electoral masquerade,” he said.

His party, as well as the other large opposition parties, are boycotting both the referendum and a parliamentary election that is taking place at the same time.

In a deeply polarised political environment, opposition figures have also vowed to stop the votes from taking place.

‘Authoritarian’ Conde

Sidya Toure, the head of the opposition UFR party, said Conde wants to “convince the international community he is open to criticism” while pursuing a third term anyway.

A former opposition figure who was jailed under previous hardline regimes, Conde entered the record books when he became Guinea’s first democratically-elected president.

He was returned to office by voters in 2015 for his second and final five-year term under the current constitution, but critics say he has become increasingly authoritarian.

The draft constitution would also limit presidential terms to two but extend the length of the term to six years, potentially enabling Conde to govern for another 12 years.

Guinea’s government argues the new constitution would usher in badly-needed changes in the conservative country, especially for women.

These would include banning female genital mutilation and under-age marriage, and giving spouses equal rights in a divorce.

Conde has not denied that he might use the new constitution to seek another term when his second runs out this year.

He told French media last month that there was “nothing more democratic” than holding a referendum and it was up to his party to determine whether he would run again.

- Advertisement -

Latest Posts

Condemnation trail Somalia new bill seeking to allow child and forced marriage

Somalia’s parliament has sparked outrage by replacing long-awaited legislation to protect women and girls from violence with a new bill permitting child and forced...

Malians back on the street renew call for president to resign

Thousands of people took to the streets of Mali’s rainy capital Bamako on Tuesday renewing calls for President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to step down...

Three persons handed 30 years jail term for throwing stone at president’s convoy

Three people have been sentenced to 30 years in prison in Burundi after being accused of throwing stones at the president’s convoy. The sentence...

Scores killed as South Sudan’s disarmament program erupts in violence

At least 81 people have been killed in the South Sudan region of Warrap State following heavy fighting between armed civilians and government forces...

Don't Miss

Condemnation trail Somalia new bill seeking to allow child and forced marriage

Somalia’s parliament has sparked outrage by replacing long-awaited legislation to protect women and girls from violence with a new bill permitting child and forced...

Malians back on the street renew call for president to resign

Thousands of people took to the streets of Mali’s rainy capital Bamako on Tuesday renewing calls for President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to step down...

Three persons handed 30 years jail term for throwing stone at president’s convoy

Three people have been sentenced to 30 years in prison in Burundi after being accused of throwing stones at the president’s convoy. The sentence...

Scores killed as South Sudan’s disarmament program erupts in violence

At least 81 people have been killed in the South Sudan region of Warrap State following heavy fighting between armed civilians and government forces...

France to step up security for her citizens in the Sahel region

France will step up security measures to protect French nationals in Africa’s Sahel region, President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday, two days after six...

Angola’s Isabel dos Santos steps down from Unitel

Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos will leave her job in the administration of telecoms operator Unitel amid ongoing tensions between board members, Portugal’s news...

Ethiopia officials say at least 10 died in protests over autonomy

At least 10 people died in clashes between protesters and security forces in Ethiopia’s southern region on Monday, health officials said, the latest violence...

Group of Zimbabwe white farmers rejects govt’s $3.5b compensation plan as unfair

An organisation in Zimbabwe, for the White farmers disposed of their land during government's land reform process has dismissed a recent US$3.5B compensation fund...

Gunmen on motorbike kill 6 French aid workers, their driver and guide in Niger

Gunmen ridding on motorcycles intercepted and killed six French aid workers, their Nigerien guide and driver in a wildlife park in Niger on Sunday,...

Military base in Somali capital rocked by bomb blast, at least 8 dead

A huge blast rocked a military base in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu near a stadium on Saturday, killing at least eight people and injuring 14,...
%d bloggers like this: