It all started with a text message from the president of Ablogui ( Guinea bloggers association) Fode Sanikayi Kouyate a few months ago.
I didn’t know him then, but I knew the existence of the association and I was surprised when he said that he has been following my activities on the web. He then proposed the project to me. I did not think twice as I saw something I have always wanted to take part in, especially for Guinea. I said ‘YES I’M IN’.
The platform Guineevote.com might be the best thing that could come to the people of Guinea, inviting the politicians to adopt a new way of doing politics.
I joined in the middle of the process but I realised then, the merit of the youth in Guinea that the rest of the people and the government neglect. I saw a bright youth doing something special for their country even thought I had few expectations, I was overwhelmed. My engagement became higher by the day. I could understand from those living outside the country i.e. Europe/US even in some parts of Africa, but what about the rest of them living in Guinea? It was just like a dream, I was in love with their abilities to deliver such an extraordinary piece of work with the little they possess.
I was in my element, fighting for my people with a young group just like me. The work was underway.
On September 10 2015 www.guineevote.com went live with the hashtag Guineevote @Guineevote. Prior to the launch, it was a question to understand how it will run. The platform will only talk about the presidential election in Guinea, nothing else. We contacted all the parties for their program in order to establish a kind of comparison. Only the party GRUP of Mr Papa Koly Kourouma and PEDN of Mr Lansana Kouyate did not respond to our request, maybe they just didn’t have anything to offer to the pepole. The Bloc Liberal of Mr Faya Millimono was the very first to send his program. But in the meantime, during a local radio show, Mr Millimono had been stuck on a question related to his economic project for the country, he had nothing to say. This confirmed that the politicians only take the people for granted, but maybe he was so surprised for this type of question from a member of the public he couldn’t speak or maybe he was just unprepared. The platform relayed that news as it is one of the objectives for the group ‘open people’s eyes on politics in Guinea ‘
After collecting the programs, they were sent to Vox.org which helped establish the comparisons. News were relayed and the backend of the platform was run with such professionalism and dedication. With the partner OSIWA (Open Society Initiative for West Africa) we trained 415 e-observers who came from all parts of the country. Two days of training in Conakry – the capital – and each and every one of them were equipped and ready for the Election Day. They had to use this system called USHAHIDI on the website to send their messages which they did brilliantly. From that system another group working to verify the information before making it public did also their job.
Prior to Election Day, the social Medias were already starting to feel the presence of a platform technically in charge of the electoral process in Guinea. We registered in the week before the day nearly 8000 hashtags. Amazing for a first attempt in the country. Through ABLOGUI Guinea founds its election hashtag #Guineevote.
The day was approaching; the campaign was nearing to closure, only to register violence that will come to spoil a peaceful road to election from all parities during the last 3 days.
Now comes the polling day October 11-2015. Surprisingly, despite the violence, the people of Guinea expressed their will to elect their new president by turning up at the polling stations. According to the statistics from the organising commission CENI, the turnout was 68.48%, 6.034.458 registered and 3.951.219 who voted.
From the situation room set up at the Rivera Hotel in Kaloum/Conakry, Guineevote was receiving messages from the e-observers dispatched all over the country. No polling station was forgotten. They were all on site until after the counts at the centralisation rooms. It was a historic day for the people and heroic day for ABLOGUI. The new face of politics in Guinea is being drawn.
On social medias, Guinea was in the limelight, from French to English the #Guineevote was flowing and congratulations were coming from everywhere for a group of young Guineans doing something magical. For a day, everyone was expecting to carry violence from previous days, it was rather a success for calm for the populations and hard work for the platform in company of the civil society “ Le Regard Citoyen” which is OSIWA-GUINEE presiding the situation room.
Dysfunctions were registered here and there, a few cases of fraud such as a man trying to vote for three deceased people, an army officer was spotted voting amongst the voters. Envelopes were missing at some polling stations as well as ink, some voters still couldn’t find the polling cards… but these wouldn’t affect the results even though the CENI extended the polling closure for two hours to allow everyone to vote even without envelopes.
#Guineevote did their job, the report was passed on to CENI who announced one week on October 17 2015, the candidate of the ruling party Arc-en-ciel, President Alpha Conde as the winner with 57.85% 2.285. 827 votes against the main opponent of UFDG party Mr Cellou Dalein Diallo with 31.44% 1.242.362. The High Court of Justice will have to study these and if there are no complaints, this will validate the results and Mr Alpha Conde will be ruling the country for another five years.
The mission is not over yet, people have voted, the provisional results have been made public, now a campaign for peace, unity has started. Without peace no state can apply their developing projects, no Nation can go forward.
One thing to notice from now, politic is changing, politic will change in Guinea. With Guineevote, no politician will bribe the youth for a t-shirt, money, loaf of bread, for their vote anymore.
Communities have played a big part to bad politics, no one is against that structure of the society but when it comes to manage government departments, they must step aside and rather promote unity, non-violence…..
We demand the politicians to come to us, sit with us, explain to us in detail what they are offering to the people of Guinea. We demand you, politicians, to get us involved in your program so we can do it together. We want promises – yes – but we want to be part of the transformation of those promises.
The youth of Guinea doesn’t deserve to flee their country searching for the better, risking their lives at sea or just dying there, arriving to Europe to end up sleeping rough. The country is amazingly rich to give a job to all, to offer better salaries to civil servants. Infrastructures must be built, school, justice….The Ebola epidemic has hit the economy, it’s a fact but with hard work, figures can be reverted.
It was all my right to take part in this project, I took the opportunity with both hands, and I did it with passion and will carry to do so until the end.
The #Guineevote project is a first for Guinea……………I’m so pleased.
Alhoussein Fadiga (London)