October 2020. Alpha Condé is seated in a large armchair in the reception room of the Sékhoutoureya palace, seat of the Guinean presidency. He is calm a few days before an election devalued by his stubbornness to run for a third term. The Constitution prohibited him from doing so, until he reshaped it to the measure of his ambition, a few months earlier, against the advice of many of his relatives and with rifles fired at demonstrators. At the same time, in another West African country, Niger, his Socialist International comrade Mahamadou Issoufou is preparing to return his apron after his two presidential terms, garnering international praise.
Why didn’t Alpha Condé, a former opponent of the Guinean dictators, sentenced to death in absentia in 1970 by Sékou Touré and then imprisoned for twenty-eight months by his successor, Lansana Conté, did not imitate him? Why not go out the front door and register his name in national history as the first freely elected Guinean president (in 2010) democratically transmitting power? “If Issoufou withdraws, he had answered sharply, it is because he is afraid. Fear of his army and of a coup d’etat. Me, I’m not afraid of that and I still have things to do for Guinea. “
His obstinacy, which even his opponents respected – that of the Pan-Africanist student and activist in France, the one that had allowed him to exist on the Guinean political scene despite the prison and his long exile in Paris – was turning into blindness. On September 5, a special forces commando from the Guinean army led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya opened his eyes, storming the Sékhoutoureya palace and getting out of his bed, 83-year-old Alpha Condé, to put him to death. stops, in a closely watched residence.
“The intelligence services had warned him of this risk. He didn’t want to hear anything. He did not want to believe in the betrayal of his “small”, this soldier [le colonel Doumbouya] to which he gave in 2018 the command of this elite troop, the best unit of the army “, says one of his former close advisers. But has Alpha Condé ever listened to someone? “To say that he is stubborn is not much, he is a wooden head”, confided, not long ago, one of his Parisian friends.
Great political calculator
” In 2010, used to say the deposed president, I inherited a country, not a state. ” This is not totally wrong. More questionable, he considers himself the only one able to create this state. On this level, its record is hardly brilliant, so much it has abused embryonic democratic institutions. And that from his first election in 2010. On the evening of the first round, Alpha Condé won only 18% of the vote, against 44% for Cellou Dalein Diallo. To reverse a result in the second round that seems written in advance, he will multiply delaying maneuvers of all kinds, until succeeding in postponing the ballot for three months to finally win.
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