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In Gambia: over 14,000 Guineans vote in presidential run-off

Nov 8, 2010, 10:44 AM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

Over 14,000 Guineans residing in The Gambia went to the polls yesterday at the Serrekunda Lower Basic School to elect a president in the West African state's first free election since independence from France in 1958.

The run-off vote, which many believe, could mark a turning point for the minerals-rich country and bolster efforts to develop democracy in Africa's "coup belt", will end nearly two years of junta rule since a December 2008 coup.

The run off vote brings former Prime Minister Cellou Dallein Diallo, who took 43.69 percent in June's first round, making him the favourite, against veteran opposition leader Alpha Conde, who took just 18.25 percent of the votes cast.

As voting got underway on Sunday, our reporter who was at the polling station in Serrekunda spoke with the Guinean consul in The Gambia, Mamadou Alpha Sala Diallo, and the campaign managers of Cellou Dallien Diallo and Alpha Conde in the Gambia, Ahmed Tijan Jallow and Kabineh Kabba respectively.

The Guinean consul told The Point in an interview that the number of voters who cast their votes during the first round of the election has increased from 12,165 to 14,017 Guinean voters.

"We have created 14 polling centers all housed here in this school. This is to make things easier for us; and even those Guineans residing in the Upper River Region and other parts of the Gambia will vote here," Diallo told this reporter.

Ahmed Tijan Diallo, campaign manager of Cellou Dallien Diallo predicted a 90% victory for his candidate.

He advised Guineans both in the Gambia and other parts of the world to accept the out come of the election, when the results are announced.

"Since voting started, things are moving on smoothly, and we are yet to encounter any problems, as at now," he said.

Kabineh Kabba, campaign manager for Alpha Conde, also predicted a 95% victory for his candidate in the second round.

He enjoined Guineans to be law-abiding, and to accept the results whatever the outcome may be.

"We must maintain peace in our own country, because after all, Guinea belongs to all of us. This election should not separate us, and we should think of moving Guinea forward not backward," he said.

According to him, since Guineans have been yearning for genuine democracy over the years, it is now time for them to make best use of the opportunity.