Alpha Condé

Alpha Condé is a Guinean politician who has been President of Guinea since December 2010.

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Alpha Condé (born 4 March 1938) is a Guinean politician who has been President of Guinea since December 2010. He spent decades in opposition to a succession of regimes in Guinea, unsuccessfully running against President Lansana Conté in the 1993 and 1998 presidential elections and leading the Rally of the Guinean People (RPG), an opposition party. Standing again in the 2010 presidential election, Condé was elected as President of Guinea in a second round of voting, according to official results.

Background and personal life

Condé was born on 4 March 1938 in Boké in western Guinea to Mandinka parents from Baro village, Kouroussa Prefecture, upper Guinea.[2] Alpha is married to Djene Kaba Condé.[3] He has one son by the name of Alpha Mohammed Condé.

Early life

Alpha Condé, who is an ethnic Mandinka, left for France at the age of 15. He was active in parallel within the National Union of Higher Education (SNESUP) and combined the functions of charge within the Association of Guinean students in France (AEGF), and within the Federation of Black African Students in France (FEANF), in which he was the Executive Coordinator of African National Groups (NG) from 1967 to 1975, overseeing the activities of the Directorate of FEANF.

Political career

He won 19.6% of the vote in Guinea's first multiparty presidential election, held on 19 December 1993. Lansana Conté, who had been president since a bloodless 1984 coup d'etat, won that election with 51.7% of the vote. Condé's supporters alleged fraud in this election after the Supreme Court nullified results in the Kankan and Siguiri prefectures, where Condé had received more than 90% of the vote.[4] In the 1998 presidential election, Condé ran again and received 16.6% of the vote, placing third behind Conté (56.1%) and Mamadou Boye Bâ (24.6%). On 16 December, two days after the poll, Condé was arrested and charged with trying to leave the country illegally; he was also charged with attempting to recruit forces to destabilize the government.[4]

Controversy during his detention focused on whether he could be represented by foreign as well as domestic lawyers, and whether defense lawyers were being given full access to him in jail. Condé's trial, initially scheduled to begin in September 1999, did not begin until April 2000. Condé, along with 47 co-defendants, were charged with hiring mercenaries, planning to assassinate President Conté, and upsetting the state's security. Defense lawyers began by calling for the judge to immediately release their clients, then quit, saying that under the circumstances they could not properly make a defense. The trial was thus delayed several times, during which time Condé refused to speak in court, and his co-defendants denied all of the charges. The trial finally continued in August, and in mid-September Condé was sentenced to jail for five years.[4]

However, Condé was released in May 2001 when he was pardoned by President Conté, with the condition that he be prohibited from engaging in political activities.[4] Following his release, he left Guinea for France, returning in July 2005.[5] Upon his return, some reports indicated that he intended to organize the RPG for the municipal elections held in late 2005, but later stated his intention to boycott them.[6]

Following Conté's death and the 23 December 2008 military coup, Condé met with Moussa Dadis Camara, the President of the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD), on 27 December 2008. After the meeting, Condé said that the members of the CNDD junta were "patriots".[7] Later, however, he opposed the junta[why?] and was criticised by Camara.[8]

2010 election

Standing again in the 2010 presidential election, which was widely considered the first truly credible election in Guinea's history, Condé was elected as President of Guinea in a second round of voting, according to official results. He subsequently offered "re-integration" by offering ministerial positions to opposition politicians.[9]

Assassination attempt

On 19 July 2011, the presidential residence was shelled, resulting in the death of a presidential guard and the injuries of two others; Condé, however, survived the assassination attempt.[10] A former army chief and a member of the presidential guard were arrested hours after the two attacks on his house. He later spoke to the country saying that "My house was attacked last night, but I congratulate the presidential guard who fought heroically from 3.10 until 5:00 before backup arrived." He also added that his plans for reform would not fail.[11]

Three days later at least 38 soldiers were arrested for the assassination attempt. An official in the government of Guinea said that many of those arrested had ties to the country's previous military rulers.

United Nations also reacted saying that there was a greater need for military reforms in Guinea. The UN special representative for West Africa Said Djinnit said that the assault showed "weaknesses remain in Guinea's defence and security systems [and] reinforces the UN's determination to support the country['s military reforms]. I saw the damage...[the attack] "clearly intended to kill the president."[10]

References

  1. Guinea: No more power based on ethnicity
  2. "Alpha Condé, l'opposant de toujours à tous les régimes en Guinée", AFP, 15 November 2010 (French).
  3. "Guinea’s President and First Lady to attend the 2011 High Level Meeting on AIDS". http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/presscentre/featurestories/2011/april/20110415guinea/.
  4. Englebert, Pierre. (2006) Guinea: recent history. In Africa south of the Sahara 2006, 35th ed. London: Routledge.
  5. "GUINEA: Opposition leader returns as food tensions mount". IRIN. 4 July 2005. http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=55250.
  6. "GUINEA: Opposition split over whether to take part in municipal elections". IRIN. 20 July 2005. http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=55525.
  7. "Guinea coup leader gets Senegal's backing". Reuters. 27 December 2008. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLR178986.
  8. "Guinea junta chief 'holed up in Burkina villa'". AFP. 20 February 2010. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gu5-PDqaGyy9lFOPMuu6NtgydAGw.
  9. "Mining Journal - Guinea’s Conde will offer posts to opposition to ease tensions". 2010-12-15. Archived from the original on 19 December 2010. http://www.mining-journal.com/production-and-markets/guineas-conde-will-offer-posts-to-opposition-to-ease-tensions. Retrieved 2010-12-15.
  10. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/07/201172245517512476.html
  11. "Post-attack, Guinea tells investors country is under control". AP. July 19, 2011. http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/post-attack-guinea-tells-investors-country-is-under-control/.