Monday, August 26, 2013

Rajoelina bows out of Madagascar vote after ban

Madagascar’s transitional president Andry Rajoelina said Friday he will step down after the country's presidential elections later this year, following a court's decision to ban him and two other leading presidential hopefuls from running.

Madagascar’s transitional president Andry Rajoelina said Friday that he “respects the decision of the special electoral court” to ban him from running in the country's next presidential election.

“I am ready for a peaceful and democratic handover of power after the elections,” Rajoelina said in an address broadcast on state radio and TV on Friday night.

The electoral commission and the United Nations announced on Thursday that the first round of the presidential election would take place on October 25, followed by a possible runoff and legislative elections on December 20.

On August 17, the special electoral court had rejected the applications of eight presidential candidates including the incumbent Andry Rajoelina, former first lady Lalao Ravalomanana and ex-president Didier Ratsiraka.

Rivalries between supporters of the three candidates have underpinned political instability since Andry Rajoelina toppled president Marc Ravalomanana from power in 2009.

But although Rajoelina claimed he had “sacrificed his personal ambition for the love of the nation”, he has emerged from the transition period with the upper hand, according to Radio France Internationale (RFI).

His main rivals, Marc and Lalao Ravalomanana, have been sidelined, while two approved candidates are close to him and could help him maintain his influence if one of them was elected, RFI noted.

The Ravalomanana camp has rejected the court’s ruling, describing the vetting of candidates by the court as a “farce”. “We will continue our fight for free and fair elections,” they said in a statement on Friday.

The international envoy appointed by the Southern African Development Community, Joachim Chissano, welcomed the approval of the candidates’ list and the electoral calendar as well as Andry Rajoelina’s statement on Friday.

Source: France24

Saturday, August 24, 2013

GHANA :Police hunts for rumour mongers on social media

The Ghana Police Service says it is on the lookout for persons who are using social media to create fear and panic ahead of the Supreme Court Ruling on the 2012 Election Petition.
According to the police, it is stopgap measure to ensure interacting on social media is sanitized.
The Supreme Court will on August 29 give its final ruling on the Presidential Election Petition challenging the legitimacy of President John Mahama.
The police has assured the entire citizenry of maximum security ahead of the verdict next Thursday.
As part of security arrangements, Police Public Affair Director, DSP Cephas Arthur said they would be monitoring the social media to apprehend rumour mongers.
He disclosed that, they have received complaints from person who claim to be receiving messages on various social media platforms of possible chaos in Ghana during and after the Supreme Court ruling.
DSP Cephas Arthur added that the security has adequately prepared to deal with all who attempt to foment trouble.
"If you write anything on social media that creates panic and alarm you are committing a criminal offense and you will be dealt with accordingly".
DSP Arthur said there is no cause for alarm ahead of the historic ruling because the security is ready to mitigate any chaos.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Opinion: The Will of the People

Exactly a week ago, the Supreme Court of Ghana decided against putting the General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party in prison for his deeply offensive and contemptuous utterances about the court in general and its President in particular.
On the same day, the military in Egypt took off its glove of pretence and cracked down hard and fatally on peaceful protesters demanding the restoration of their elected President.
Both events occurred in the name of protecting the “Expressed will of the people”, the animal that goes by the generic name of Democracy. Here in Ghana, we have been engrossed for more than eight months in the effort to determine whether it was President Mahama or Nana Akufo-Addo who secured the real mandate of “us the people of Ghana” in the general elections of December 2012. 
In Egypt, President Mohammed Mursi, elected by universal adult suffrage, has been overthrown in a military coup supposedly carried out in response to demands by the ‘overwhelming majority’ of Egyptians; though no one has told the world how this majority was arrived at.
In our own backyard of Africa, the outcome of elections held in Zimbabwe has been welcomed as “free and fair” by distinguished Africans who observed them in the name of African institutions but roundly condemned by observers representing the “free world” as ‘troubling and fraudulent’.
What has amazed me and continues to baffle me is the reaction of the leaders of the so-called free world to the specific events in Egypt and Zimbabwe in  recent weeks, and the constantly shifting and convenient stance of the US and the Western world as to what constitutes “the will of the people” or democracy.   
In this, and on reflection, at every major opportunity over the six decades of my life on earth, Lord Palmerstone’s 18th century doctrine that, “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests”, has continued to shape the “free world” view of democracy and what constitutes “the will of the people”.
US Secretary of State, John Kerry, who welcomed the military overthrow  of the democratically elected President Mursi of Egypt, said of the Zimbabwe elections: “The United States shares the same fundamental interests as the Zimbabwean people: A peaceful, democratic, prosperous Zimbabwe that reflects the will of its people and provides opportunities for them to flourish. For that to happen, the Government of Zimbabwe should heed the voices of its citizens and implement the democratic reforms mandated by the country’s new constitution.”
True, the brutal crackdown on the peaceful demonstrators by the Egyptian military (resulting in close to 1000 deaths) has been condemned by President Obama and all the leaders of the “free world”. This condemnation has been followed with inconsequential pronouncements about the punitive measures, disappointment and displeasure about the barbaric slaying of people expressing their abhorrence about the fact that their will, which they freely expressed in elections conducted under universal adult suffrage (i.e. Democracy a la Free World), has been yanked away by force.
Yes, the US and its allies have been embarrassed to condemn human rights abuses. What they have palpably failed to do is the outright condemnation of the overthrow of a democratically elected president through a military coup and the necessary imperative of restoring President Mursi’s rule.
Egypt is just the latest example of the underlying hypocrisy and cant of the West in the global geopolitics founded on the age-old tensions and struggle between the Christian and Islamic world views. Whenever the crusades of the 11th century pop up in their modern forms, the “free world” tweaks its supposedly non-negotiable view of democracy to suit the “permanent interest” agenda.
My first introduction to the whole United Nations business came in the form of Resolution 242, which was passed in the immediate aftermath of the 1967 war between Israel and Egypt. Its basic construct was that the basis for achieving a long and lasting peace was for Israel to retreat to its pre-war borders. Forty-six years on, much Arab land has been overrun with Jewish settlements. The ‘free world” has mouthed displeasure at the blatant breach of international law by Israel in the same breath that it has looked on approvingly at serious abuses of human rights, all in the name of the indispensable and overriding need to protect their ally, Israel.
When the “free world” encouraged the Palestinians to hold “free and fair” elections and “the will of the people “was manifested in a victory for Hammas (the more strident and pro-Islam party), the West conveniently branded the winners as a “terrorist organisation” and refused to deal with it, rather preferring the defeated but Christian-influenced Fattah.  They conveniently forgot that David Ben Gurion and the founder members that fought for and created the state of Israel were also labelled as terrorists who are now revered and worshipped as visionaries by the same free world?
I am baffled to this day by the terminologies used by the Western media to describe the factions in the terrible civil wars that engulfed Marshall Tito’s Yugoslavia in the 1990s. There were Bosnian Serbs, Bosnian Croats, and wait for it, Ethnic Muslims. The Christian factions were described by their nationality, while the Islamic faction was labelled by its religion, an undertone that looked unconcerned at the brutal massacres of the Muslims, which were so excessive that they embarrassed President Clinton, who intervened in Bosnia, and Tony Blair, in Kosovo.
You may be asking: “Why is Tarzan taking us through all this?” The purpose of my detour into recent history has everything to do with us also beginning to fashion our democracy in line with our own sense of where we have come from without jettisoning the fundamental and non-negotiable principle that whatever process we adopt to choose those who govern in our name must be founded on “The will of the people”. 
A major reason why Africa has retained the descriptor “Worst in sub-Saharan Africa”  for every major calamity of human sufferance in the modern world — hunger, AIDS, infant mortality, poorest”  —and so on and so forth, is that we swallow and worship the “free world” notions hook, line and sinker. We have embraced and clothed this in the wonderfully benevolent concept of development partnership. We have continued to depend on the handouts from the ‘Free world”, when we should be emulating the handshakes of the Chinese who were poorer than us less than 25 years ago.
“A friend in need is a pest” is my most favourite joke of my red-ferreted “free-word” comedian of the 1970s, the incomparable and late Tommy Cooper. As we stand on the eve of the most momentous political decision in Ghana’s history since 1957, let us seek solace in the instinctive context of togetherness and being each other’s keeper, which is the root of our culture and traditions, to accept the outcome of the long drawn tussle to determine the real expression of “the will of the people” on December 7, 2012.
The Supreme Court listened to the collective appeals of Ghanaians and decided not to put Sir John in prison, even though they convicted him (he did not escape as many reported wrongly). Yes, we are of the modern world and belong to the global village but we should also realise that our democracy must be grounded in the domestication of origins and experiences of Ghanaians and be always weary of the shifting sands of the free world’s notion of democracy, which is also founded on their self-interest.  
By Charles Wireko-Brobby/Daily Graphic/Ghana

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mozambique: Deadlock Remains in Government-Renamo Dialogue

There has been another meeting between delegations of the Mozambican government and the country's main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, ended without any consensus on Monday. This was described as the 15th ordinary round in the government. Renamo dialogue and hit the same obstacle as most of the previous rounds. Renamo wants to push the government into accepting its position on the electoral legislation, but the government wants to move onto other matters on the agenda. Renamo itself had put onto the agenda the composition of the defence and security forces, the depoliticisation of the state apparatus and unspecified economic questions. The government wants to discuss disarming Renamo's illegal security force, its Presidential Guard was an issue that became pressing when armed Renamo men attacked vehicles on the main north-south highway, near the small town of Muxungue, in late June. But Renamo refuses to move onto other issues without a political agreement on changes to the electoral law. The government has repeatedly stressed there is no way that it can accept the main Renamo demand which is for equality between Renamo and the ruling Frelimo Party on the National Elections Commission (CNE). The head of the government delegation, Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco, once again told Renamo it should go ahead and submit its proposals to the country's parliament, the Assembly of the Republic. On Monday, the Assembly chairperson, Veronica Macamo, promised that, as soon as the Renamo proposals were received, they would be distributed to all deputies. The relevant working commissions of the Assembly would be asked for written opinions on the proposal, and the Assembly's ruling board would schedule the matter for debate. The current extraordinary sitting of the Assembly is due to end on Thursday - but if the Renamo proposal was indeed received, then the sitting could doubtless be extended. Pacheco pointed out that the Renamo parliamentary group is entitled to deposit proposals for legislation or amendments and needs no go-ahead from the government to do so. Renamo could deposit its document with the Assembly immediately. He thought Renamo stood to gain from this, since the government has accepted in full 12 of the 19 points contained in the Renamo document, suggested that four be reformulated, and had rejected just three

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), a body mandated to manage elections in Malawi, has distanced itself from the conduct of some registration staff that is turning back people before the official closing time, and has since issued a warning on the same. “The Malawi Electoral Commission has received reports that some registration staffs are closing registration centers and turning back people before the official closing time of 4 pm. “The Commission wishes to express disapproval of this irregularity, and stresses that closing time for registration centres to the public is 4 pm on all days the centres are open,” Willie Kalonga, Chief Elections Officer for the electoral body has indicated. The Legal Affairs of the Malawi Parliament engaged the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) on the progress of the registration exercise that the Malawi electoral body is conducting. This comes few days before the second phase of registration for the forthcoming elections in Malawi rolls out on August 8, with MEC declaring that the first phase had minute challenges which will also act as stepping stones in the second and subsequent phases. “ So far registration has run smoothly and turn out for registration has been impressive and satisfactory. There were no major challenges hampering registration. Registration for the 2014 Tripartite Elections will be conducted in ten phases each spanning fourteen days including weekends and public holidays. The second phase started on August 8, 2013 and ends on August 21, Tembo Tight-Lipped On Final List of Contestants At MCP Convention Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President, John Tembo, on Friday said the final list of candidates to compete for the party's presidential position would be known right at the convention on Saturday. Speaking to journalists, Tembo said the total number of contestants was 12, but he said delegates would decide on the final list of contestants. He also said the question of who is contesting will be known at the convention and it will not be decided by the delegates alone, even some of the contestants themselves may decide to pull out from contesting."The MCP leader said at one point he had offered not to contest but, he said, the parties National Executive Committee (NEC) had persuaded him to contest and ensure that the convention was successful. Malawi Congress Party (MCP) delegates held the party's convention at the Natural Resources College (NRC) in Lilongwe on Saturday and commonly rejected the presidential candidature of John Tembo. Earlier in his opening address, Tembo had hinted that he was retiring from his role as president of the party, but he kept expressing interest in contesting saying it was up to the delegates to decide whether he should contest or not. But before voting commenced, chairperson for the MCP convention, MacDonald Lombola, explained to the delegates that since the party's constitution bars Tembo from a third term run owing to the fact that he had lost twice on presidential elections before, they should first carry out polls to decide whether he should contest or not. Lombola said the process of conducting the deciding vote would be carried out by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) which was managing the voting process of the convention but the delegates unanimously shouted against Tembo's re-run.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Zimbabwe: First Day of Special Voting Marred by Serious Logistical Nightmares - ZESN

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), a coalition of CSOs observing the ongoing special voting for security personnel and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) officials in various parts of the country has issued a statement saying the process has been chaotic with multiple problems hampering the voting process. According to ZESN, their observers have reported recurrent problems in all polling stations around the country. These included the late opening of polling stations, shortage of sensitive voting materials such as indelible ink, ZEC stamps, ballot papers and boxes. They also stated that there was lack of consistency at polling stations on the availability of electronic and hard copies of the voters’ roll and the slow pace of voting in areas where the process had commenced. “In most of the centres ZESN observers noted that voting did not start at stipulated time. At some polling stations, for example at Dangababi primary school in Bubi district Matabeleland North, voting commenced at 1500 hours. Furthermore, some polling stations only received ballot papers after 1400hrs such as Fatima high school in Lupane district and Bubi Tatazela hall, which points to the lack of preparedness of ZEC for the Special Voting Exercise.” Read the ZESN Statement. AEP Get the latest news and updates on elections in Africa by following us on twitter @africanelections and like our facebook page

Profiles of Mali's 2013 presidential candidates

Despite security concerns and warnings that the country is not ready for elections, Mali goes to the polls on July 28 in the first presidential vote since last year's coup. FRANCE 24 profiles some of the candidates in the 2013 race. The official 2013 presidential campaign kicked off shortly after the July 6 lifting of a state of emergency, which was imposed when the French offensive began in January. Mali’s constitutional court has approved 28 candidates, including four former prime ministers and a female candidate. Here are some of the leading contenders for Mali’s presidential race: THE VETERANS Ibrahim Boubacar Keita: The 68-year-old veteran politician, known as “IBK”, was Mali’s prime minister from 1994 to 2000. Following his resignation from office, IBK launched the Rally for Mali (RPM) party in 2001. He has made two previous, unsuccessful bids for the presidency – in 2002 and 2007. IBK lost both elections to former Malian president Amadou Toumani Touré (aka “ATT”), who was ousted in the 2012 coup. Born in Koutiala in southern Mali, IBK was educated in Mali and France, and has held top positions at various international NGOs in addition to diplomatic postings and political posts. IBK was the frontrunner in the scrapped 2012 election and was supported by a number of smaller political parties. Soumaila Cissé: Born in Timbuktu in northern Mali, Cissé, 63, was the runner-up in the 2002 presidential poll, losing the second round to ousted president Amadou Toumani Touré. A year after the 2002 poll, he founded the Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD) party. Educated in Mali and France, Cissé is a software engineer by training and has worked in several French companies. A former finance minister, Cissé fled his Bamako home following the March 2012 coup after he was attacked by Malian soldiers loyal to coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo. On the campaign trail, Cissé has called for the junta to stay away from political power. Modibo Sidibé: At 60, Sidibé has variously served as Mali’s prime minister, foreign minister and presidential chief of staff. Born in the capital of Bamako, Sidibé was a police chief before launching his political career. Considered an ATT (Amadou Toumani Touré) loyalist, Sidibé has been arrested several times since the March 2012 coup. In a recent interview with FRANCE 24, Sidibé insisted he did not have a complicated relationship with the Malian army or the Sanogo-led junta, which ousted ATT. "I do not confuse the junta and the Malian army," he maintained. Tiébilé Dramé: Born in the southwestern Malian town of Nioro du Sahel, Dramé was foreign minister in the transitional government from 1991 to 1992 following the 1991 coup. The 58-year-old politician stood for presidential elections in 2002 and 2007, losing both elections to Amadou

Ghana: Supreme Court sets April 16 for sitting on Election Petition

The Supreme Court of Ghana hearing the election petition brought by three leading members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has set 16th April 2013 to begin sitting. The court has therefore asked the petitioners in the case to file affidavit of witnesses they intend to call. The 2012 presidential candidate of the NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo, his running mate Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and Chairman of the NPP Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, petitioned the Supreme Court challenging the results of the December 7 presidential elections, and requested the court to annul 4,670,504 of the valid votes cast during the election at 11,916 polling stations where alleged irregularities took place. Early on, the Supreme Court narrowed the essence of the petition to two, based on which they would give their ruling after parties in the case have advanced their arguments. The court would first establish whether or not there were statutory violations, irregularities, omissions and malpractices in the 2012 general elections. And secondly, whether the violations, irregularities, omissions and malpractices affected the results of the election.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Mali, une election sans enjeux

Le second tour de l’élection présidentielle malienne est prevue le 11 août . Une completion perçue comme “inéquitable” entre Mr. Ibarahima Boubacar Kéïta du RMP et Mr. Soumaïla Cissé de l’URD. Dans cette course, IBK arrivée en tête du premier tour avec près de 40% de credit électoral semble plus proche du palais Koulouba que Cissé qui lui dispose d’un “profil plus approprié” analysent des maliens . IBK a déjà collecté le soutien de la presque totalité des formations politiques en lice pour le premier tour. Même si on peut noter quelques discidences au sein de celles qui ont décidé de convoler avec IBK. Mais celles-ci ne devraient pas inquiéter les camps IBK qui garde une dent contre Cissé pour son soutien à l’ancien Président Mr. Amadou Toumany Touré. Car, de notre enquête auprès des électeurs Maliens, le défi du second tour pourraient être entre autres le taux de participation, le parti pris en faveur IBK du ministère de l’administration du territoire, tutelle du processus electoral, pendant le permier qui est évocatrice de la position de Junte du capitaine Amadou Sanogo dont il réprésente dans le gouvernement de Mr. Dioncounda Traoré. Certains Maliens pensent qu’un nouveau President qui ne soit pas ressortissant du Nord arrangerait plus le processus de reconquête de cette zone devastée par différentes factions Juhadistes. C’est qui expliquerait le score de IBK au premier tour. Alors que d’autres évoque “une fraude massive” avec des complicités diverses. Un éventuel soutien officiel du movement indépendantiste de l’Azawad, le MNLA, à IBK pour faciliter la victoire de victore “écrasante, car le MNLA ne voudrait pas négocier l’indépendance de l’Azawad avec un ressortissant de sa zone d’occupation”. Au délà de la position du MNLA “l’usage abusive de la cart NINA ainsi qu’aux multiples disfonctionnement denouncés par les différents organismes d’observation du premier tour jouéraient en faveur de IBK”. Le facteur communautaire est aussi cité comme “obstacle majeur” pour Cissé, dans sa conquête démocratique de Koulouba. Sa proximité avec le Président déchu, Amadou Toumany Touré semble profiter à son adversaire. Cependant, tous les maliens inerrogés sur le sujet, reconnaissent le profil inattaquable pour la construction d’un Mali écomiquement fort. Cette opinion n’est pas sans critique: “Cissé a a un bon profil et a occupé des postes juteux mais n’a jamais partagé sa fortune. Sinon étant plus jeune par rapport à son concurrant et intellectuellement plus compétent mais IBK c’est la force de la Junte”. AEP Get the latest news and updates on elections in Africa by following us on twitter @africanelections, connect with us on LinkedIn and like our facebook page

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Zimbabwe: Mugabe wins poll with 61.09% of the vote

Zimbabwe's President has won the 2013 presidential election with more than 2.1 million votes. His long-time rival MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai came in second with over 1.1 million votes. Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chairperson Rita Makarau said that of the 6.4 million registered voters almost 3.5 million cast their ballots in Wednesday's presidential poll. The three other candidates who contested the presidential election were Welshman Ncube (MDC) who got 92 637 votes, Dumiso Dabengwa (ZAPU) received 25 416 votes, Kisinoti Mukwazhe (ZDP) gained 9931 votes. Mugabe has been in power for 33 years. His Zanu-PF party is ecstatic about his win. Party spokesperson Psychology Maziwisa says the win shows that the people of Zimbabwe have spoken and clearly chose Mugabe as their leader. He says they will be celebrating all through the night. Maziwisa says they will have victory parties in all 10 provinces. Meanwhile, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangarai says his MDC party will use all legal, political and diplomatic means available to dispute Wednesday's poll. He says the disputed poll has plunged Zimbabwe into a constitutional, political and economic crisis. Source: SABC Get the latest news and updates on elections in Africa by following us on twitter @africanelections and like our facebook page

Mali Election: Keita and Cisse face-off in second round

Voters in Mali are going to the polls today to elect a new leader in a second round of presidential elections Voters will choose between former Mali Prime Ibrahim Boubacar Keita who won the first round of Mali’s presidential election with 39.24% and Ex-Finance Minister Soumaila Cissé who came second with 19.44%. Soumaila Cisse has been campaigning on the promise of education reform, an overhaul of the army and a plan to create 500,000 jobs. Whiles Front-runner Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, known universally by his initials IBK and seen as a front-runner pledges to restore Mali's battered dignity and has urged voters to give him a "clear and clean" majority in the run-off. The first round of voting was praised by observers for being peaceful and credible with France hailing the election a success and the European Union (EU) saying it had gone well marked by enthusiasm among voters. The election was contested by 27 candidates. Some 6.8 million people were eligible to vote at 21,000 polling stations across the country and recorded a 51.5% turnout. This elections process is meant to draw a line under a tumultuous 18 months that saw soldiers topple the president before separatist- and al Qaeda-linked rebels seized and occupied the north of the country. AEP Get the latest news and updates on elections in Africa by following us on twitter @africanelections and like our facebook page

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Former Prime Minister Leads in Mali Poll

Former Malian Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita holds a comfortable lead and could win an outright first-round victory in the West African nation's presidential election, according to preliminary results released by a government official. Keita's rivals immediately rejected the partial results, calling for the minister of territorial administration, who is in charge of the elections and made the statement on Tuesday, to resign and an international commission to be established to tally the vote. Voting in the polls on Sunday was peaceful and observer missions have praised the process, but tensions rose as the announcement of results neared. “There is one candidate, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who has a wide margin compared with the other candidates,” Colonel Moussa Sinko Coulibaly, the minister of territorial administration, told journalists in the capital, Bamako. “If maintained, [it means] there will not be a need for a second round,” he said. The results represented a third of ballots cast from constituencies across the country, he said. Amadou Koita, spokesman for ex-Finance Minister Soumaila Cisse, who Coulibaly said was currently in second place, called the announcement “scandalous” and questioned why the minister refused to give figures to back up his statement. The election was contested by 27 candidates. Some 6.8 million people were eligible to vote at 21,000 polling stations across the country. Contributions from Al Jazeera Get the latest news and updates on elections in Africa by following us on twitter @africanelections and like our facebook page