Guinea opposition announces alliance with ex-junta chief

Cellou Dalein DialloGuinean opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo has announced a political alliance with ousted former junta chief Moussa Dadis Camara.

The military dictator seized control of the west African state in 2008 when longtime strongman Lansana Conte died, ruling for close to a year before being forced into exile by an assassination attempt.

Diallo told AFP he had found a “common understanding” with Dadis Camara as the pair spoke in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou last week, adding that they had met on several occasions over the years.

Diallo said they agreed that there had been a “tribalisation of the political debate, the tampering — or if you will, the butchering — of the electoral register, a refusal to respect the normal order of elections”.

“On all these issues, the former junta president and I have the same analysis, the same views and, above all, we expressed the need for political change in our country. This is why we will try to work together,” Diallo told AFP late on Monday.

Guinea’s opposition is convinced that Guinea’s local authorities, whose mandate expired in 2010, are completely under President Alpha Conde’s control and has boycotted parliament in protest.

The parties accuse Conde of using the Ebola crisis as an excuse to delay local elections to keep his cronies in power, to help him rig presidential polls scheduled for October.

In May, Dadis Camara told reporters in Ouagadougou, where he has been living since 2010, that he intended to run for president.

While he was in power, security forces massacred at least 157 pro-democracy protesters during a rally in Conakry Stadium on September 28, 2009.

Two months later he was shot in the head by his former aide-de-camp and was flown to Burkina Faso for treatment, where he has remained ever since.

Diallo said his people would talk to Dadis Camara’s camp to “see how we can work for the establishment of real democracy in Guinea”.

“We will try to forge a political agreement that will seal an alliance for the next elections and for the positions we take on issues of interest to the nation,” he said.

He said that if either of them made it into a second-round run-off against Conde, the other would offer his backing.

In an interview published last weekend by the weekly magazine Jeune Afrique, Camara confirmed that he had “exchanged ideas” with the opposition leader.

“We will see how our parties work together and whether we can form a coalition or not,” he was quoted as saying.

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