Ousmane Kaba, was declared on Saturday as the first opposition leader to run in the Guinean presidential elections in October. The candidate currently leads the Party of Democrats for Hope (Pades), created in 2017, has a stronghold of the Rally of the Guinean People party – with popularity in mostly urban and educated areas, especially in Upper Guinea.
Kaba is also a former close associate of the current President Alpha Condé, the first to be democratically elected into this position in 2010 and who proposes to change the constitution to codify gender equality and introduce other social reforms. His opponents, however, fear the real motive is to reset presidential term limits, allowing Conde, 82, to run for a third term. The ruling party, for its part, is due to choose its own candidate at a convention on 5 and 6 August in the capital’s suburbs.
The opposition, which has been organising demonstrations since October, often violently repressed, is convinced that Condé seeks to maintain his position as president of the nation. Although, Condé himself has so far maintained ambiguity by repeating that “it is (his) party that will decide.”
At least 10 people were killed in clashes between opposition protesting forces and police Sunday as Guinea held a bitterly disputed referendum that critics say is a ploy by Conde to stay in power. Anti-government forces came under fire by security forces who “carried out massive arrests, fired blindly, cruelly molested (and) killed at least 10 people,” the FNDC, an umbrella opposition group, said in a statement. The authorities could not immediately be reached to confirm the casualty toll.
The National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), made up of the main opposition parties and members of civil society, has called on its supporters to resume demonstrations on 6 August.
The movement, which is leading the protests, had boycotted the legislative and presidential elections earlier this year.