Dr Ousmane Kaba

Dr Ousmane Kaba, leader of the Party of Democrats for Hope (PADES) on Tuesday urged President Alpha Condé to release political opponents to ease the socio-political tension in the country.

Kaba, who made an unsuccessful bid in Guinea’s presidential election, made the call in an interview with the press on the sidelines of Tuesday’s inauguration of President Condé, who was re-elected for a new term of office.

In the aftermath of the election, which was marked by several incidents that resulted in the loss of lives among demonstrators and law enforcement officials, leaders of the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) and the main opposition leader, Mamadou Cellou Dalein Diallo, were arrested and questioned by the police before being transferred to Conakry prison.

The former prime minister and leader of the UFDG, with 33 per cent of the votes, had declared himself winner in the first round, 24 hours after the election and before the end of the vote-centralization operations.

He still refuses to acknowledge Conde’s victory and considers himself the true winner of the presidential election.

For his part, Kaba, leader of the PADES, credited with less than 2 per cent of the votes, eventually recognized the victory of Condé, elected with 59.50 per cent of the votes, and congratulated him.

Kaba said he had accepted the invitation to attend the investiture ceremony to confirm that he had buried the hatchet.

Other unsuccessful presidential candidates, as well as leaders of opposition parties, also agreed to attend the inauguration ceremony on Tuesday.

The leader of PADES, who is also a former minister-counsellor of Condé, with whom he had quarrelled, said the inauguration ceremony opened a new horizon for Guinea, whose president-elect is expected to shape the future.

“We must join hands to meet challenges and banish adversity to facilitate the smooth running of the country,” argued Dr Kaba, who asked the president-elect to give priority during his term of office to the sectors of health, education, youth employment and infrastructure.

Several African heads of state and government, particularly from the sub-region, attended the inauguration at the Mohamed V Palace.