On 5 September, a group of soldiers led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya kidnapped Alpha Condé and took him to an undisclosed location. They had deposed him, they said, and dissolved the government. Later they released a video of Condé, slouched on a sofa, looking irritable. Soldiers in full uniform try to get him to say on camera that all is well. The ex-president looks at the camera. Is it the old oppositional spirit that flickers on his face, or just the arrogance of power? It is hard to tell. Condé stays silent, his feet up, shirt untucked, lips pursed.
The electoral commission in Conakry announced on 25 October that the incumbent, Alpha Condé, had won a third term as president of Guinea. Earlier this year, he held a referendum on a change to the country’s constitution that would allow him to disregard a previous two-term limit. His critics have seen this as a constitutional coup d’état and at least fifty people have been killed by state security forces in the attendant protests. The internet and international calls were cut off without warning on the Friday and Saturday before the results were announced. Asked on French television last month if he was turning into the type of autocrat he had opposed as a younger man, Condé said no. It was ‘extraordinary’, he said, that he, of all people, who had fought for 45 years against repressive regimes, should be seen as an ‘anti-democratic dictator’. He avoided the question of whether this term would be his last.
Six days after the vote in Guinea’s second democratic election, the Electoral Commission in Conakry announced that Alpha Condé, the incumbent president, had won decisively, with 58 per cent. The runner-up, Cellou Dalein Diallo, trailed with 31 per cent. In 2010, when Condé first came to office, he lost to Diallo in the first round, and only pinched it in the run-off. Diallo, the leader of the opposition UFDG, said the vote was rigged. He has repeated the allegations this time, pulling out of the race the day after ballots were cast and saying he does not recognise the results.