GUINEA: Conakry vox pop ahead of 27 June presidential election
Voter Ibrahima Bangoura longs to live in a "normal country"
CONAKRY, 25 June 2010 (IRIN) - More than 100 international observers are preparing for the 27 June presidential poll in Guinea, which analysts are signalling as a potential volte-face in the country’s half-century of dictatorial rule. Since independence in 1958, the country has had two leaders and 24 years of military rule. Voters in the capital, Conakry, told IRIN some of their expectations.
Ibrahima Bangoura, used clothing salesman, 32
"We want the president to help us find a job that guarantees our dignity. We sell used clothing in the street because there are no other jobs, and we must live. We want [the government] to create the conditions for domestic and foreign companies to invest so we can find relatively decent jobs.
“We also want to create a good image of Guinea because our country does not have a good image
. We want to be a normal country like others."
Hadja Diallo, market vendor, 23
"We expect the next president to give us peace, but, above all, something to eat. We are hungry. The Guineans are hungry
. We women, we have suffered too much. Rice
is expensive; the market in general is a nightmare for women. We want [the president] to return the price of a 50kg bag of rice to 15,000 Guinean francs [US$30]; to give us electricity
, water, transport… We also hope that [the new president] will unite Guineans and fight ethnocentrism in the country. We have suffered too much from this reality."
Mohamed Camara, lawyer, 36
"I am not waiting for any miracles from the next president. Rather, I am waiting for democracy. The problem with this country is the mentality. There has to be a complete change. As such, I expect the next president to endow the country with strong institutions that respect the principles of good governance, so that finally the leaders are held accountable to the people. This will also make judicial independence a reality and ensure the rule of law. These conditions together permit investors to do business here without fear.
"Because Guinea cannot survive from its mining
potential alone… The future president will have no grace period, with all the pressing social demands. Everything is a priority in Guinea: electricity
, water, road infrastructure, health
. With state coffers almost empty, it will not be easy. National reconciliation is also a priority. There must be the conditions for truth and reconciliation
Mamadou Barry, government employee, 49
"What I hope for from these elections is peace. I want people to accept the choice of Guineans and put behind us 50 years of misery
. Apart from personal expectations, I hope that after this election all Guineans will enjoy the immense natural resources of the country. The president elect should enable Guineans to work and earn an honest living.
"Another major challenge is the strengthening of national unity, social cohesion. But the biggest challenge of the next president will be the restructuring of the Guinean administration. The problem of Guinea lies with the intellectuals. Only if [the president] introduces a new work discipline, can this country move forward."