Guinea’s President Alpha Conde has refused to call of a controversial referendum on Sunday that could allow him to stay longer in power.
He is defying the coronavirus pandemic to hold the referendum and local level elections.
Guinea has already confirmed coronavirus cases with fears the outbreak could increase should people gather for the election.
Almost 5 million registered voters will be participating in the vote with civil society groups calling for a postponement after the pandemic.
Conde’s ruling party spokesman Amadou Damaro Camara said the election would not increase the number of coronavirus infections.
He said the pandemic cannot prevent the votes from going ahead.
Last month Guinea’s President Alpha Conde called off the parliamentary election and constitutional referendum as concerns grew over the credibility of the electoral roll for the process.
President Conde said he had postponed the process over to seek clarity on claims of the inclusion of two million suspected FAKE voters on the electoral list.
The Guinean leader at the time informed ECOWAS and the African Union about the votes taking place in two weeks.
“It is out of national and sub-regional responsibility that we accepted a slight postponement of the election date,” Condé said on national television.
Defiant despite pressure
He explained that “We must always remain within the framework of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) and the African Union”.
“This is neither a capitulation nor a retreat,” Mr Condé said as he assured that “the people of Guinea will freely express their choice through the referendum and freely choose their deputies.”
At the time the country had not recorded any case of the Coronavirus and the pandemic had not become severe across Africa.
President Alpha Conde has come under intense pressure since last year when reports emerged that he could seek a third term in office.
The referendum intends changing the country’s constitutional to possibly prolong Conde’s stay in power.
The opposition has opposed the intended referendum, triggering several protests that have ended deadly in some instances.
Alpha Conde is 81 years of age and is due to end his second and final five-year term next year.
He became Guinea’s first democratically-elected leader in 2010 and was re-elected in 2015.
But he has not ruled out running again. Conde has however asked his government to look into drafting a new constitution.
He has said that there was the need to overhaul the constitution to take address pressing social issues, such as banning female genital mutilation.