Nigeria’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan has arrived in Conakry, capital of the Republic of Guinea as part of an international delegation on pre-election assessment mission ahead of the country’s forthcoming parliamentary elections.
Jonathan who was received on arrival by Guinean officials and staff of the Nigerian Embassy and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) says “there is no doubt that Africans’ confidence in democracy is growing as more nations conduct regular and peaceful elections”.
The former president and other members of the NDI delegation will be “meeting various Guinean election stakeholders” as citizens of that West African country prepare to vote in rescheduled parliamentary elections on February 16, 2020.
Elections into the 114-member National Assembly have been postponed twice from the original date of January 2019. There has been tension and fears of a possible outbreak of violence following reported plans by President Alpha Conte to secure a contentious constitutional amendment that will allow him contest for a third term in 2020.
It will be recalled that in 2010, Conde who is one of the country’s former presidents won the first-ever democratic elections since Guinea’s independence from France in 1958. He was reelected along with his ruling Rassemblement du Peuple Guinean (RPG) party in 2015 with a 58 per cent majority against former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo’s Union des Forces Democratiques de Guinee (UFDG), which secured 32 per cent.
President Conte can only serve two five-year terms under the current constitution except there is an amendment approved by two-thirds of members of the parliament or a referendum to remove term limits.
Though Conde has personally not yet made any public statement on the issue, his supporters have been openly expressing calls for an amendment to the country’s constitution to remove term limits. Meanwhile, those opposed to the third term bid believe there is a plot to make Conte a president for life.
The opposition is rallying public support against reported plans to keep President Conte in office beyond December 2020 when he is expected to hand over power. The anti-third term movement known as “A moulanfee” which means “this will not happen” often wear a skullcap popularised by Amilcar Cabral, the late Bissau-Guinean and Cape Verdean intellectual who fought for the independence of both countries. Others are usually seen with red armbands and vests.
Both the parliamentary elections and the presidential polls that will hold in 2020 will be conducted by Guinea’s election management body, the
Commission Electorale Nationale IndÃ©pendante, CENI which was established in November 2007. The Commission conducted the 2010 and 2015 elections
As recent as October 15, 2019 former President Jonathan led the African Union Election Observer Mission to Mozambique for the country’s general election.
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