A former close ally of Guinean President Alpha Conde, Ousmane Kaba, on Saturday became the first opposition figure to throw his hat into the ring for a presidential election slated for October.
Guinean voters are on tenterhooks to see if Conde, 82, will seek a third term — constitutionally he may only serve two, and those doubts are fuelling opposition against him and his RPG party.
“I accept your proposal to be your party’s candidate for the forthcoming presidential election, which we are going to win,” Kada told a meeting in Conakry of some 200 delegates of the Party of Democrats for Hope.
The first round of the poll is set to take place on October 18 though the date has not yet officially been set.
An economist aged 65, Kaba has held several ministerial posts but was thrown out of the Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) in 2016 having been an influential player after public criticism of Conde.
The RPG will choose its candidate at an August 5-6 convention in Conakry. Conde has said only that “the party will decide” who goes forward to the poll.
The National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), grouping the main opposition parties and representatives of civil society, has urged voters to force Conde to leave office after dozens of civilians died in street protests last year which were brutally put down.
Conde came to power in 2010 and was voted back in 2015, although critics say his rule has since swung towards authoritarianism.
In March, the opposition tried to scuttle a new constitution put to a referendum by Conde, saying it was a ploy to reset the number of his years in power and open the way to a new mandate.
According to the official results, the constitution was approved by 91.59 percent of those voting, with a turnout of 61 percent