Cape VerdeGuineaWest Africa
Guinea Votes In Contested Referendum And Parliamentary Poll Amid Coronavirus Fear
The people of Guinea on Sunday voted to elect members of parliament and on a constitutional referendum amid an opposition boycott, deadly protests, and the global coronavirus pandemic, reported Africa News.
The vote, which was originally scheduled for March 1, was postponed because of concerns raised by international observers about the electoral register. Some 7.7 million people were on the register, out of a total population of about 13 million people.
While President Alpha Conde claims a change to the constitution is necessary to bring about gender equality and other social reforms in the country, his opponents fear the real motive behind making the changes is to reset presidential term limits. They fear that the constitutional amendment would allow the 82-year-old president to run for a third spell in the office later this year.
The voting day was marred by violent clashes across the country. Some miscreants attacked police deployed outside a polling station in a school in Ratoma, a suburb of the capital Conakry, shortly after voting began at 0800 GMT. The police also fired tear gas in clashes with protesters in Guinea’s capital and other cities in a bid to restore peace.
After Guinea recently reported two cases of Covid-19, some polling stations required voters to wash their hands before casting their ballot.
In his address to the press, Conde also urged Guineans to comply with the government directives in the fight against the deadly coronavirus.
“A message of peace and solidarity, we have taken all the measures, you saw that everywhere there is hand washing, people are keeping a distance from one another, because even if we don’t have many cases, for the moment we have three.
“… so I hope that everything will happen in peace and tranquility, that the people of Guinea, like in 1958, will show their maturity,” Conde said.