Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Less than a week until historic elections in Guinea... and you can help!

This essay is part of an occasional feature on this blog that presents compelling stories from elsewhere in the world, particularly Africa, that are little reported in the American media. It's part of my campaign to get people to realize there is a lot going on in the world outside the US, IsraelStine and the Trumped Up Enemy of the Month. A list of all pieces in this series can be found found here..

Republished with permission from Friends of Guinea blog.

Campaigning and preparations in Guinea are well underway for the June 27 poll, expected to be the first ever free and democratic elections in the country's history. Some 24 candidates are contesting the presidential election, none soldiers.

The US NGO the Carter Center has sent a delegation to monitor the vote and has described the campaign as 'positive.' The African Union has also praised preparations.

The Economist had a profile of the head of state Gen. Sekouba Konate and his efforts to ensure that both the elections and the future civilian administration remain free of military meddling. Additionally, the army chief of staff Col. Nouhou Thiam warned that there would be no immunity for soldiers involved in the Sept. 28, 2009 massacre.

However, Foreign Policy warns that challenges remain beyond the formal election. It published an article on 'Guinea's economic junta' which noted that the army's domination of lucrative mineral contracts won't end with the ascension of a democratic head of state.

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Also from FOG blog:

Our colleagues at Alliance Guinea have launched a 'high-tech election monitoring system' in support of this Sunday's presidential election in the country.

The system, GV10 Witness (or GV10 Temoin, in French), will allow Guineans on the ground to report violence, threats of violence, fraud and other serious incidents via SMS, email and Twitter.

The messages will then be posted to the website www.GV10Temoin.org on a map of Guinea, organized by incident location and type of incident or report. People monitoring the elections – whether election administrators and observers, international media, civil society organizations or the general public – will then be able to follow developments on the site or through email updates.

This effort will require volunteers to process the information. If you'd like to help, please click here for more information.

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