By Joseph Kamanda :
President Ernest Bai Koroma has returned home after attending the
inauguration ceremony of the newly elected President of the Republic
of Guinea, Professor Alpha Conde..
The historic and colourful ceremony at the Palace of the People in
Conakry was attended by twenty Heads of State, including Presidents
Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Blaise Campaore of Burkina Faso, Helen
Johnson Sirlef of Liberia, Abdulai Wade of Senegal, as well as former
President Olusengu Obasanjo of Nigeria and the French Foreign
The President was met on arrival at the Gbessia International Airport
by Guinean Prime Minister Jean Marie Dori, foreign Affairs Minister
Bakari Fofana and Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to Guinea Adikali Foday
Sumah. A Military Guard of Honour formed part of the welcoming
Addressing the ceremony, Guinean Interim President General Sedou Ba
Konate paid glowing tribute to African Countries that have made the
transition from a military to a democratic Democratic State. He
thanked President Blaise Campaore, ECOWAS and the International
Community for their mediatory roles in restoring democracy in Guinea.
Speaking in a somber tone, President Alpha Conde stressed the urgent
need to address issues related to the development of Guinea and the
Guinean people, noting that all political differences should be put
aside in the interest of the country, while promising collaboration
with the Mano River Union, ECOWAS, the African Union and the
International Community at large. ‘Guinea is back”, he concluded
After taking the oath of office, Professor Conde shook hands with the
visiting Heads of State, with whom he also had a group photograph.
Special messages were delivered at the ceremony by a representative of
the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Rose Ashanigro and
former Nigerian President Olusegun Obansanjo.
President Koroma also met the Sierra Leone Community at the Embassy in
Conakry where he reminded them that both Sierra Leone and Guinea are
two sister countries and Members of the Mano River Union, and
therefore should celebrate Guinea’s victory in joining democratic
countries of the world.
The president cautioned them to be law abiding and serve as
ambassadors of Sierra Leone, informing them that he and the Guinean
President have vowed to work together to improve trade and strengthen
bilateral ties between the two countries.
Sierra Leone’s high profile participation at the Guinean President’s
inauguration was conspicuous by the high powered delegation, including
eight Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Chukuma Johnson
and representatives of the key border districts of Kailahun – Chairman
Tom Nyuma; Paramount Chief Alie Bala Sama Marah 111 – Koinadugu and
Chairman S.A.S.Sankoh – Kambia.