News March 20, 2020 at 10:00 am

Guinea to hold referendum despite Covid-19 threat and internet challenges

Nii Ntreh March 20, 2020 at 10:00 am

March 20, 2020 at 10:00 am | News

Guinea's president, 82-year-old Alpha Conde, is interested in a third term.

Guineans will vote on whether their president should have a third term this weekend in spite of threat posed by the coronavirus, and a warning from the state telecom firm that internet will be disrupted.

The March 22 referendum on presidential term limits was moved by the government of 82-year-old president Alpha Condé.

On the same day, the country will also hold parliamentary elections.

But the state-controlled Guinea Broadband (Guilab) says it expects the internet and telephony services to be disturbed by planned maintenance work on undersea cables.

Apart from expected communication problems, Guinea also reported its face case of a coronavirus infection on March 13. The case involved a Belgian national with the European Union delegation in the country.

But the government is determined to see through the referendum nonetheless. The ruling party wants permitted three-term presidencies of six years on each term.

Since the referendum was announced at the end of last year, there have been protests, especially in the capital Conakry. Some of the protests have turned into violent clashes.

The National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), a coalition of opposition parties and interests had already warned that Guilab would shut down telephony and internet services on referendum day.

The coalition has since called for Guineans to boycott Sunday’s polls as well as nationwide protests.

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