Mass strikes shut down the capital in the wake of disputed polls.One man died and several were injured on February 26th when thousands of young people erected barricades and blocked traffic in the Guinean capital.A general strike was called by the Guinea General Union of Workers (UGTG) in addition to an ongoing walkout by teachers and a complete shutdown of economic activity demanded by the opposition after disputed local elections.Hospital sources told AFP a man was shot dead and two of a number of people wounded were in intensive care. Former prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo, leader of the main opposition Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) accused police of “entering areas … assaulting citizens and unfortunately killing a young student.”Police also made 15 arrests in the Kaloum district, where civil society groups were protesting against the two‐week closure of schools.An on‐off teachers’ strike that has paralysed the education system shows no signs of stopping despite a recent government offer to increase pay.The victory of President Alpha Conde's ruling Rally for the Guinean People (RPG) in the February 4th vote was marred by post‐electoral violence involving supporters of the losing parties.The UFDG has condemned what it terms “massive fraud” during voting, leading to unrest and the deaths of at least 10 people.Diallo demanded to know the “real” results of the elections. “It's only the start. The opposition will not retreat until our rights are restored,” he added.The powerful UGTG union had joined the teachers and opposition figures by calling for workers to stay at home on the 26th. It has cited mismanagement of the national social security system, poor regulation of subcontracted jobs and a perceived indifference to workplace accidents and arbitrary firings for the strike.The UGTG called on public and private sector employees alike to continue to boycott their workplaces.The triple challenge will add to the pressure on Conde to complete promised reforms and speed up negotiations with all parties concerned.The government urged teachers who have held various walkouts since December to head back to class on the 26th and end their most recent strike, a demand they have flatly refused despite the offer of a 10% pay increase over the weekend of 24th–25th.Guinea's education ministry said “all measures have been taken to make schools secure so that classes can take place in the best possible conditions,” following protests near some establishments by disgruntled students.Teachers have requested that a pay rise of 40% agreed in October 2017 be implemented, with back pay.A policeman had died from a head wound on February 19th as people protested over the delayed local election results and teachers went on strike over pay, a police spokesman said.Thousands of young people demonstrated in Conakry over the failure to announce results of the February 4th election, while the teachers’ strike entered its second week.Teachers had resumed strike action on February 12th after some union members called for a renewed walkout over pay and working conditions.Police arrested at least 50 people following an arson attack that killed five children in central Guinea after the local elections, a local official said on February 8th.Unrest flared in the West African country after the ballot, with seven deaths recorded as at February 8th across the country amid violent clashes between opposition supporters and riot police.Mamadou Lamarana Diallo, a local official, told Guinean radio that some of those arrested were carrying weapons, and that the wave of violence in the town had spread to nearby villages.Presidential elections in 2010 and 2015 were also marred by violence and fraud accusations, as well as a legislative ballot in 2013.Diallo said his party had stayed “calm” during those votes, but added “this time, for local elections, we have to mobilise”.Activists erected barricades in several neighbourhoods in the capital, Conakry, calling for the results to be published while accusing the ruling Rally for the Guinean People (RPG) of fixing the ballot.Political distrust is high in Guinea, where ethnic tensions often turn deadly around election time. The last local election was held in 2005 under the decades‐long rule of authoritarian leader General Lansane Conte, who died in 2008. (© AFP 7, 8, 19, 26/2 2018)
Africa Research Bulletin: Political, Social and Cultural Series – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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