More than a week after the legislative election in Guinea, official results still have not been finalized. Tension is rising as opposition leaders raise fraud accusations. In some areas, arrests and interrogations have been reported.
According to an analysis in All Africa, written by Vincent Foucher of International Crisis Group, people fear not just for the election process but for their safety. Merchants are closing their stores and even removing products, while ordinary citizens arm themselves amid the fear of violence.
The opposition claims that “technical glitches” – such as a shortage of election materials and the registration of underage voters – were purposely created by the government. Opposing factions believe the government will use these glitches as excuses for cancelling results in areas where the opposition candidates received more votes.
In view of the questions about the fairness of the election, and the lack of results which were supposed to be announced on Oct. 2, the opposition announced its own results. It claims to have won all five districts in Conakry, for example, which is Guinea’s capital city. Tensions are particularly high there now, and security has been tightened.
Political tensions and fear of violence are not new in Guinea. Since the country’s first democratic election in 2010, subsequent elections have been fraught with problems, from delays to current technical glitches. The U.S. State Department warns that demonstrations can erupt at any time, and that in the past, they have become violent and included loss of life. Political rallies are specifically mentioned as having the potential to become unruly.
While the U.S. State Department advises caution and avoiding crowds, other countries such as Australia have advised people to reconsider their plans to travel to Guinea.
Once election results become finalized, demonstrations are likely from groups whose preferred candidate did not win, and those who claim fraud or mismanagement of the elections.