CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — Guinea President Alpha Conde was sworn into office Tuesday for a third term after a violently contested election.
Conde said he would “govern differently,” promising to fight corruption and serve Guineans who elected him to another term in office. He urged Guineans to “forget the divisive past,” and work toward a future of unity and hope. The 82-year-old spoke at a ceremony attended by several African heads of state.
Conakry, Guinea’s capital, was secured for the inauguration by the police and the gendarmerie.
“We heard this beautiful speech from the president,” said Ansoumane Camara, a civil society member. “We expect him to act. Because with him, since 2010, it’s always the same promises, but never acts. We wish him good luck.”
The Guinean opposition, which says nearly 100 people have died in election-related violence, shunned the ceremony.
“The city is completely militarized by government to validate its constitutional coup. This is the image that will stand out internationally,” said opposition leader Ibrahima Diallo who fought for months against Conde’s third term in office.
Guinea’s electoral commission declared that Conde had easily won a third term with 59% of the vote, though opposition candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo maintains he won the election. The commission said he received only 33% of the vote.
Guinea had seen months of deadly political unrest after the 82-year-old Conde backed a constitutional referendum, approved by voters in March, that effectively allows him to serve two further five-year terms. The opposition boycotted the referendum.
Conde came to power in 2010 in the country’s first democratic elections since independence from France in 1958. Many saw his presidency as a fresh start for the mineral-rich country mired by decades of corrupt, authoritarian rule.
Opponents, though, say he has failed to improve the lives of Guineans, most of whom live in poverty despite the country’s vast mineral riches.