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Latest update : 2012-02-17

Guinea, one year after the election of Alpha Condé

Our reporters Willy Bracciano and Fatimata Wane went to Guinea, one year after the country's first ever free elections. They report on a nation struggling to get back on its feet after 50 years of authoritarian rule.

Fifty years of dictatorship have shattered a land rich in natural resources - bauxite, iron, gold, diamonds, fertile farmland and numerous rivers. Alpha Condé, who was elected president just over a year ago after Guinea’s first free elections, faces the uphill battle of building a country ravaged by neglect.

The new head of state also urgently needs to restore the army’s tarnished image, which stands accused of terrorising the population on a daily basis and committing atrocities.

Condé also has the arduous task of building a democracy from scratch. But he has yet to organise parliamentary elections, a situation the opposition has labelled scandalous.

Finally, after last year’s presidential elections were marred by ethnic violence between Malinke supporters of Condé and Peuhl backers of his rival Cellou Dalein Diallo, the new president must try to reconcile with all Guineans. In Guinea like elsewhere, ethnicity is a formidable political weapon, even if the Peulh, the Malinke, the Susu and the Baga now co-exist harmoniously on a daily basis. This cohesion remains fragile, and could unravel if the new government does not keep its promises.

By Willy BRACCIANO , Fatimata WANE

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