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A worrying situation in our backyard

Oct 10, 2013, 1:51 PM

It was not long ago when we wrote on this page urging Guineans to maintain peace before and after the result of the country’s parliamentary election was announced.

We argued that Guineans, especially the ruling and opposition parties - whether the loser or the winner - should have the bold mind to accept with grace the outcome of the election.

We urged the loser to realise that there will be another chance. And the eventual winner, we said, should reach out to the loser in the spirit of reconciliation and goodwill so as to move the country forward.

But the news coming from Guinea these days is indeed disturbing.

Reuters has reported that opposition groups have demanded the annulment of the September 28 vote and have pulled out of UN-brokered talks with President Alpha Conde’s government, after accusing it of rigging the election.

Irregularities took place in a number of districts in Guinea’s parliamentary election last month, possibly harming the credibility of the results, international observers said, according to Reuters.

Observers from the United States, France, the European Union, the United Nations and West African regional bloc ECOWAS said they had identified problems with voting in eight electoral districts. Six of these districts were won by the opposition.

“Shortcomings and irregularities were observed in a certain number of constituencies preventing the inclusion of a significant number of ballots and, therefore, possibly bringing into question the fairness of some results,” they said in statement issued on Tuesday.

The group urged all parties to make use of legal channels for any challenges.

The political disturbances that gripped the country before this latest development are still fresh in our minds. About 50 people were killed in political violence before the poll, which was aimed as completing Guinea’s move back to democracy, following a 2008 coup.

It is however clear that Guinea Conakry is apparently not yet back on track. For a country whose political history has been marked by tragedies and much turbulence, the people of Guinea Conakry seem not to have learned their lessons in dealing with the issues confronting them.

One important thing that Guineans should consider is that the responsibility for the country’s progress must be borne by its citizens.

No one else is going to step in and solve the problems of Guineans; Guineans must help themselves and stand firm to solve their problems.

What Guinea needs is peace and stability, which can only be ensured by good governance.

Guineans, like all Africans, have to begin by having confidence in themselves, which they have admirably demonstrated over the years.

‘‘Politicians also have no leisure, because they are always aiming at something beyond political life itself, power and glory, or happiness.’’