More than 12 000 Guinean voters living in The Gambia have exercised their civic duty as they participate in the Guinean presidential election on Sunday. In this election, 82 year-old incumbent Alpha Conde is seeking a third term in office after his controversial constitutional amendment that allow him to contest the election. Conde is being challenged by his long term opponent Cellou Dallen Diallo.
While the opportunity to vote has been accorded to Guinean citizens living in The Gambia, some nationals who are residing afar could not vote. “There are lot of Guineans in The Gambia who live as far as Basse. Some were able came to the greater Banjul area to vote but others could not come because of the distanc”, said Naby Ibrahima, the Guinean Consular in The Gambia.
However, he’s impressed with the voter turnout. He said the Guinean Consular will make sure that come next election, polling centers are available even in remotest areas of The Gambia with Guinean voters. “I urge Guinean voters to exercise patience and wait for the official results”, the Consular said.
Muhammeh Barry, a Guinean voter in The Gambia voted for second time outside Guinea. According to him, he wouldn’t mind the scorching sun as compared to the most needed change back home.
“I and my family came here as early as 7am to vote for change despite the long queue because we want the old man (President Conde) to give chance to Cellou Dallen Diallo, because Alpha Conde has showed us severally that he is not fit to govern and we need change for the better.”
Barry said President Conde has not done any development in Guinea since he came to power 15 years ago. “You can clearly see today how desperate Guineans want change. We are tired and disappointed with President Conde. It is time for him to leave and give a chance to politicians like Cellou Dallen who are willing to work and bring positive change to Guinea.”
Voting for the first time, Fatoumatta Binta Jallow is optimistic that Cellou Dalein Diallon will win this year’s presidential election because Guineans are wise and ready for real change.
“We are very ready for change because we Guinean has suffered for 10 years in the hand of President Conde and his allies and we cannot take it anymore, we deserve better and we will make it happen today.”
Alpha Kone is a Guinean student in The Gambia also voting for the first time. Alpha wouldn’t have voted if he had not been convinced by his cousin that Guinea needs changed through the ballot. “I was never ready to vote because I do not want to waste my time and energy on politicians that never value the electorate but only themselves and their families.”
While sharing his frustration about poor governance in the continent, Alpha described African leaders as politicians who can lie, cheat and milk all the state coffers while clinching on to power forever.
“Just look at the number of people that were killed in Guinea by President Conde’s security forces. They just went protesting against a change in the constitution allowing President Alpha Conde to seek a third term. That has resulted in the deaths of at least 50 people and it was uncalled for.”