Monday, December 8, 2014

Electoral fraud in Africa: Technical and Solutions

At a time when Africa is preparing for presidential elections in 2015 more, it should question the fraud techniques and propose means of control. We define electoral fraud temptation to want a camp away in his favor all or part of the electorate. How is fraud elections today in Africa and how can you protect yourself?

First, fraud happen at institutional and administrative level. First, the fraudster conceals its intentions in the general census of the population operations by performing the shrinking electoral stronghold of the enemy (gerrymandering). For example, Cameroonians have learned the hard way from the general population census in 2005 that the regions of the Coast and West (stronghold of the opposition) were not the most populated of Cameroon to the regions of the Far North and Centre (stronghold of power in place).

The fraudster also hides its intentions in the electoral law. For example, we can tighten the conditions of eligibility to vote or to exclude all or part of opponents or the electorate. This is the case of the Ivorian, exclusion of the Diaspora, the denial of dual citizenship, the handling of the age limit (minimum or maximum), living constraints in the country (increase years required), etc. Also observed cutting biased electoral boundaries. In opposition strongholds legislative eg fewer seats is allocated to reduce the volume of eligible candidates and fewer polling stations to reduce the number of votes cast while in the fiefdoms of power sufficiently inflated seats and fill it multiplies the number of offices to facilitate voting by supporters. For example, in Guinea in 2010, there was the existence of polling stations under 10 voters in opposition strongholds that helped offset the impact of local victories.

In the organization of elections, there was a partisan composition of the electoral commission and the electoral body that remains in favor of power. Citizens identified as part of the opposition supporters are not always registered to vote or lists, they are diverted from their usual places of residence in order to discourage them from voting. Added to this is the organization of multiple voting, charter and logistical problems such as printing and the unequal distribution of cards and ballot or lack of lighting in polling stations. In Cameroon, the electoral calendar is kept secret by the government in power until the last minute in order to make short political opponents and making possible fraud operations which also go especially to the operation level computer input. This important technique is to falsify the electronic data to enable the desired result. This involves the improper allocation of votes, the creation of duplicate or fictitious voters (does not meet the requirements to vote because of their death or their minority).

The biggest factor favoring fraud before, during and after the voting is still corruption. The money used to buy votes, observers, political leaders, etc. For example, election campaigns are unequal. The richest see their campaigns favored even between elections by playing on the absence of relevant monitoring indicators. This requires the use of state resources in the service of a candidate (logistics, public media, public officials, public finances, etc.). Also, corrupt political leaders call for boycott, forbearance or non-inclusion of their supporters in the electoral lists. Corruption also applies in particular tellers (representatives of candidates) who accept awards against ballot stuffing and falsification of records. This does not save the members of the Constitutional Council that reject the appeal and international observers whose reports are often complacent about certain candidates.

The equation to solve throughout the voting process is to ensure compliance with the basic principles of a democratic election are transparency, neutrality, free competition, free representation and the free participation. Today, the multi-polarization of voting complicates the process. As it stands, the organization of the vote is given to an electoral commission (independent), while securing and programming of the vote remains with the politicized public administration, and the proclamation of the final results in the hands of During the Supreme or constitutional course subservient to the executive. Clearly, the government still pulls tied. Should be entrusted all the voting apparatus (including programming, security and the proclamation) to the electoral commission (independent).

To mobilize a fair electoral body, it should progress to the vote either on presentation of an electoral map, but on presentation of an identity document issued by the municipality (population control). It would not invest to register as a voter, but to regularly update a register of inhabitants per district so that each person can vote and control his vote in his neighborhood as in Switzerland. Electronic applications today allow this and make it possible to set up parallel systems of centralization of the votes. Also, it is appropriate to require the outright cancellation of the elections in the event of war atmosphere that helps maintain violence in an electoral stronghold to compel supporters of the opposition to give up to vote as was the case in the Ivory Coast in 2010 with the damage that we know. Candidates, voters and civil society should be enabled to engage in pre-election litigation permitting demands respect for the electoral law. Finally, the investigative press should organize to contribute to electoral transparency.


Louis-Marie KAKDEU, PhD MPA &

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