Thursday, August 28, 2014

Limit of two presidential terms is not ideal in Africa, according to Joaquim Chissano

"Two terms is not long enough for African leaders... it is very short (...) in my case I would complete my work in a third term, although I decided not to compete "said the former President of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano, during a southern Africa lawyers' Forum which took place last week just in Victoria Falls, in Zimbabwe.
According to the newspaper New Zimbabwe, Chissano, President of Mozambique between 1986 and 2005, made these remarks when was asked by the participants of the forum for his opinion on leaders who remain in power in addition to the two presidential terms.
"We must accept the terms as they are. When I left the job (as President of Mozambique) they changed the Constitution to two terms but I don't agree with that, "said Joaquim Chissano who became the second President of Mozambique after the death of Samora Machel and, after the creation of the multi-partidarism, he won the first two democratic elections that took place in our country.
Chissano, who could have applied for a third term in 2004 but decided to abandon the power, explained that "I'm not saying that they should remain more than enough but there should be more time for Presidents to implement their ideas and policies".
The former Mozambican President also stated to the Forum that he prefers three terms for African Presidents and explained. "The first mandate is to implement some programs, while the second term serves to decide the ideas and complete everything during the third term."
"In my case I would complete my work in a third term, although I decided not to apply" concluded Joaquim Chissano who criticized African leaders who are in power for many years.

Source: Verdade

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mozambican Political Parties Discuss Election Code Of Conduct With CNE

The chairperson of Mozambique's National Elections Commission (CNE), Abdul Carimo, has called on all those involved in the general election scheduled for Oct 15, including the police, to make every effort to ensure that all citizens can participate freely in the election, as well as in the official election campaign, due to begin on Aug 31.

Stressing that all Mozambicans should work to ensure that the elections were free, fair, transparent and orderly, he told a gathering of representatives of the political parties whihc will compete in the elections here Wednesday: "We want this year's elections to be a moment of festivity, of exaltation of our Mozambican identity and of our young democracy."

Carimo was particularly concerned to discuss with the parties the role of their polling station monitors, of the polling station staff and of the police. For all these groups, the CNE has drawn up codes of conduct, based on the electoral law.

Carimo made it clear that the political party representatives had the right to lodge complaints, protests and appeals at all stages of the voting and vote-counting, starting at the polling station in the area where they are accredited.

The provincial, district and city elections commissions must issue credentials for the parties' polling station monitors up to three days prior to voting day.

The monitors can be appointed for a polling station different from one where they registered as voters, as long as it is in the same geographical voter registration area.

In order to be accredited as a monitor, any citizen must prove that he or she is a registered voter. This is normally through presentation of a voter card. In the event that the voter card has been mislaid, it can be replaced by a registration certificate issued by the CNE's executive body, the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE).

The monitors have the right to inspect all stages of the voting and the counting, including verifying the polling booths and the ballot boxes before voting begins, requesting explanations from the polling station staff, and presenting protests at anything they regard as improper.

A major change in the electoral legislation is that no polling station monitor can be arrested, even if caught in the act of committing a crime, until after the count at the polling station has concluded. This change was included after arbitrary detentions of monitors from the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) during the municipal elections held last November.

Despite the codes of conduct, opposition parties remain sceptical about the role of the police, who they accuse of acting at the behest of the ruling Frelimo Party.

The election agent of the former rebel movement, Renamo, Andre Magibire, said there was little new in the codes of conduct. According to Thursday's issue of the independent newssheet Mediafax, he pointed out that similar provisions had been included in previous codes of conduct and had been ignored by the police.

Carimo said the police had been trained in the electoral legislation so that they would respect the norms, and perform their duties correctly. "That's why I ask you to be optimistic," he told the parties. "You must understand that the success of these elections depends on the involvement of all of us, including the political parties

Source: Agência de Informação de Moçambique

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Namibia Elections: Electronic Voting machines pass first test

The new electronic voting machines (EVMs) - used for the first time yesterday during the Ohangwena by-election - appear to have worked smoothly, with no hiccups experienced.
Yesterday’s seamless transition from ballot papers to electronic voting will no doubt give the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) more reason to push forward with its plans to use the EVMs during the November general elections.

ECN Chairperson Notemba Tjipueja said at a lunchtime press conference held at the Ohangwena Constituency Office that most voters were able to operate the EVMs without any problem.
Tjipueja said although the verification process was slowing down the entire process, as laptops were not being used, the actual voting using the EVMs was much quicker than with ballot papers.
“During the national elections we will use laptops for the verification process along with the EVMs, so the process will be even faster,” said Tjipueja. Registered voters and political party agents who spoke to Namibian Sun at the polling stations were generally upbeat about the new technology, with many admitting that the voting process was made easier and faster.

At the Onhuno polling station, Melia Josef, 83, said although she is not too familiar with technology, she did not have problems using the EVM, as she had attended the voter education sessions held before the by-election. “It wasn’t difficult at all. I came here today because I want a councillor,” said Josef. The by-election saw Swapo’s candidate Johannes Hakanyome go head-to-head with RDP candidate Vilho Shimwooshili. The by-election became necessary following the death of the previous councillor, Maria Kombwana, earlier this year. RDP agent at the Okatope polling station Jeremiah Ismael said he had not seen anything of concern or worth reporting. The Swapo agent at the same polling station, Panduleni Shetunyenga, also insisted that the voting process appeared to be running smoothly and that voters were not struggling to use the EVMs.

Young voters in school uniform and older voters with canes turned up in numbers at the polling stations, although no more than 100 people could be counted at any single polling station at a time.
Presiding officers insisted that the low numbers at the polling stations were mainly due to the fact that 33 polling venues were set up throughout the constituency, and the use of the new machines meant that the voting process was much faster. Ohangwena Police Commissioner Tylves Kampolo told Namibian Sun that the entire process had been peaceful. “No intimidation and confrontations between political parties have been reported so far. The behaviour of the community has been good and the security provisions made at the polls are intact,” said Kampolo. It was expected that the by-election results at each polling venue would be posted around 22:00 last night. The winner was expected to be announced at the Ohangwena Constituency Office after midnight.

Source: Namibian Sun

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Nigeria: INEC Holds Enlarged Election Stakeholders Forum In Delta

In preparation for the conduct of a hitch free and credible general elections in 2015, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has convened an Enlarged Election Stakeholders Forum in Asaba, Delta state. Speaking at the meeting, which was attended by all political parties, civil society organisations and other stakeholders in the state, the Delta Resident Electoral Commissioner, Gesila Khan, said that INEC has put every machinery in place ahead of the 2015 elections.

The REC emphasized that the Commission has embarked on a tour of all political party offices to sensitize them on the pending electoral activities, which include the distribution of Permanent Voters’ card, continous voters’ registration exercise and election procedures. The Enlarged Election Stakeholders Forum, which witnessed a large turnout, gave room for cross fertilization of ideas between INEC and majority of the stakeholders. The State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Gesila Khan, said that the meeting was a deliberate policy of the Commission to keep its strategic election stakeholders abreast of its plans so that they could buy into the various programmes and help drive them deep down the grassroots.

The various stakeholders, who spoke at the Enlarged Election Stakeholders Forum, observed that although the meeting was a welcome development, the time frame issued by INEC for the voters’ registration exercise was too short. They, therefore, appealed for an extension of time to enable the electorates participate fully in the election, to allow political parties prepare extensively for the forthcoming elections. While giving assurance that INEC would do everything possible to make the exercise smooth and hitch free, the Commission has taken delivery of the Permanent Voters’ Card (PVC) meant for the registered voter in Delta State.

Source:  This Day

Ghana: EC Begins Voter Registration after Delays

The Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana has begun a 10 voter registration that will allow any eligible voter especially those turning 18years after 2012 register. The registration which was intended to start in June this year was postponed exercise because they could not secure the services of teachers who were invigilating BECE and later delayed due to a Supreme Court case brought against the EC on the use of the NHIS card as identification for the registration of first voters. 

Plans by the EC to also allow NHIS card as an acceptable identification for registration received a strong challenge from political parties resulting in a legal battle led by the PNC National Youth Organiser Abu Ramadan, and a private lawyer Kwasi Danso-Acheampong. Following the court ruling, Principal Public Relations officer Sylviah Annoh said the EC in compliance with the Supreme Court ruling will not accept national health insurance cards as identification by applicants.

"Prospective applicants are expected to have old voter ID card, national identification card, drivers’ license or a passport. If you are an applicant and you don't have any of these you can have two guarantors", she said. She added that the exercise will start from 7am to 6pm every day and will end next week Wednesday 13 August 2014. Meanwhile, the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) says it will also deploy 350 of its field volunteers to observe the exercise.