Thursday, April 30, 2015

Burundi: Opposition leaders threaten to boycott presidential vote

Two prominent opposition leaders in Burundi have said they will boycott presidential elections in June unless President Pierre Nkurunziza drops his bid to stand for a third term.
Aspiring presidential candidates Agathon Rwasa and Jean Minani said on Thursday that the elections would not be free and fair if Nkurunziza was allowed to stand.
Rwasa told Al Jazeera that credible elections could not take place while the current political crisis was ongoing.
"When the constitution is thrown away, is there any room for a democratic election?" he said.
On Wednesday, a constitutional court said it would examine the legality of Nkurunziza's bid for a third term.
"Nkurunziza believes in weapons and militiamen...he prefers to spur violence not knowing he risks leaving office prematurely," Rwasa added.
Minani, the leader of the Front for Democracy in Burundi, and Rwasa, a former rebel with the National Liberation Forces, both command huge sway in the country.
The warnings to boycott, made separately by the pair, came as protests continued into their fifth day in the capital, with protesters vowing not to leave the streets until Nkurunziza withdrew his candidacy for the coming vote.
At least six people have been killed in the violence, according to the Red Cross.
Continued tensions
Al Jazeera's Malcolm Webb, reporting from Burundi's capital Bujumbura, said tensions were high in the capital, with radio stations supportive of the ruling party broadcasting tracts evocative of ethnic conflicts the country has previously experienced.
"They're not openly calling for attack, however, they are talking extensively about ethnic conflicts the region has experienced... past violence dating back to the seventies," Webb said.
"The current conflict is not ethnic, it's a political contest with Tutsis and Hutus on both sides, not a competition for power based on ethnic lines."
Meanwhile, the US warned Burundi it had "serious concerns" about the ongoing political violence in the country.
The Reuters news agency said an unnamed US diplomat had urged Nkurunziza to allow space for peaceful protest, and for the media to maintain strong relations with the international community.
Nkurunziza had in turn told the diplomat that the protests in the capital were "illegal", but said there would be no restrictions on the opposition.

Source: Al Jazeera And Agencies

Burundi: Court to examine president’s third-term bid

Venant Barubike, private secretary to the Senate president, told the AFP news agency that a motion had been submitted to the court seeking an interpretation of key articles related to a possible presidential third term.

Pierre Nkurunziza (55) became president in 2005 and is planning to seek re-election in polls slated for June, a move that contravenes Burundi’s constitution, which allows only two five-year terms.

Supporters of Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader and born-again Christian from the Hutu majority, say that although he has served two terms, he was elected by parliament for his first term and not directly by voters, making him eligible for a third term.

Opposition leaders said they would press ahead with the protests, dismissing what they said was a court loyal to the president.

Human rights activist Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa, who was arrested overnight on Monday before being released on Tuesday after calling for protests, also said any ruling would not be impartial.

“The constitutional court is composed of the darlings of Pierre Nkurunziza, and they do not refuse him anything,” said Mbonimpa.

“Civil society does not accept the constitutional court as arbitrator, we continue to support the protests.”

‘Sympathy’ with protests
At least five people have died in protests that erupted at the weekend after the ruling CNDD-FDD party endorsed Nkurunziza as its candidate for the presidential election to be held in the central African nation on June 26.

Opposition figures and rights groups say Nkurunziza’s bid for a third consecutive term does not only go against the constitution but it is also in breach of the peace deal that ended a civil war in 2006.

Hundreds of thousands of people were killed in the 13-year conflict, which divided the country along ethnic lines, between the Hutu majority and minority Tutsis.

African Union Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has welcomed the move, saying she was “pleased to note that the Burundi Senate has taken the third-term question to the constitutional court,” adding that “it must decide responsibly”.

The unrest has led to the intervention of the UN and the US, with both sending envoys to Burundi to try to end the violence.

Tom Malinowski, US assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labour, announced on his Twitter feed on Wednesday that he was travelling to Burundi in a bid to resolve the crisis.

“On my way to Burundi. Disappointed President Nkurunziza violating Arusha Accord,” Malinowski wrote, adding it was not too late for the leadership and people to keep to a “peaceful democratic path”.

On Tuesday, the government told ambassadors at a meeting in Burundi, including the US envoy, to stay neutral and said some were showing “a lot of sympathy” with protest organisers.

The post Burundi court to examine president’s third-term bid appeared first on African Media Agency.


Burundi: Profile of third-term seeking president Pierre Nkurunziza

Pierre Nkurunziza, who has caused controversy with his decision to run for a presidential third term, has ruled Burundi for nearly 10 years.

Critics of the 51-year-old, who came to power after a civil war which left 300,000 dead, say he should not run again for office as that would be unconstitutional.

His supporters feel he is justified as he was appointed by parliament in 2005 - not directly elected.
And the former rebel leader takes pride in the fact that his administration has brought peace to Burundi - and says now is the time to reap the fruits of this.

It is this image that he is keen to portray - a man of the people working to rebuild the country, one of the poorest in the world.

It has been reported that diplomats arriving for official meetings with Mr Nkurunziza have been whisked away from the capital, Bujumbura, into the countryside, where they find the president digging in the fields with local farmers.

In fact his enthusiasm for planting avocado trees is so well known that many Burundians have renamed the popular green fruit "amaPeter" after him.

"The man's simplicity is remarkable, and he always draws attention, mingling with village people in the remote rural areas where he spends most of his time," his official biography on the Burundian government website says.
This has made him more popular in rural areas, but not in the capital, where most of the opposition resides.

Born-again Christian

Before the civil war, Mr Nkurunziza, who had graduated in sports education, was a teacher and assistant lecturer at the University of Burundi.

He also coached the army football team, Muzinga, as well as Union Sporting, a Burundian first division team in the 1990s.

He now has his own side, Hallelujah FC, where "he plays as a striker and scores regularly", his biography says.

The name of the team also indicates one of his other great passions: His Christian faith.
His father, a former governor who was killed in the 1972 massacre of ethnic Hutus, was Catholic and his mother Anglican.

Now a born-again Christian, the father of five never travels without his own football team and a choir, where he combines matches against local team with evangelical prayer sessions, according to the AFP news agency.

He and his wife Denise were once reported to have washed the feet of some of those among the crowd.

It is not only the people who the president believes have put their faith in him.
"Mr Nkurunziza indeed believes he is president by divine will, and he therefore organises his life and government around these values," says presidential spokesman Willy Nyamitwe.

The name of the team also indicates one of his other great passions: His Christian faith.
His father, a former governor who was killed in the 1972 massacre of ethnic Hutus, was Catholic and his mother Anglican.

Now a born-again Christian, the father of five never travels without his own football team and a choir, where he combines matches against local team with evangelical prayer sessions, according to the AFP news agency.

He and his wife Denise were once reported to have washed the feet of some of those among the crowd.

It is not only the people who the president believes have put their faith in him.
"Mr Nkurunziza indeed believes he is president by divine will, and he therefore organises his life and government around these values," says presidential spokesman Willy Nyamitwe.

These included several ambushes along major roads, killing many travellers, including Tutsis.
He took up arms in a bid to end the long-standing dominance of the country by the minority Tutsi community.

Mr Nkurunziza was sentenced to death in absentia by a Burundian court in 1998 for laying land mines, but received an amnesty under the peace accord that ended the fighting.

Last year, he tried and failed to change the constitution, which limits the powers of his CNDD-FDD party by guaranteeing positions for the minority Tutsi group in all government institutions.

This stands at odds with his stance that he wants to overcome the ethnic tensions that led to the civil war.


Togo: Opposition leader rejects presidential poll results

Togo's main opposition party has rejected official presidential election results declaring victory for incumbent Faure Gnassingbe with 58.75 percent of the vote, and instead claimed a win for its candidate Jean-Pierre Fabre.
"CAP 2015 [Combat for Political Change] and its candidate Jean-Pierre Fabre categorically reject the fraudulent results which bear no resemblance to those compiled from reports collected in polling stations by its representatives," said coalition campaign director Patrick Lawson-Banku.
The party "is pleased about the victory of Jean-Pierre Fabre," Lawson-Banku told a news conference on Wednesday.
Fabre said he considered himself to be the West African nation's new president-elect.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) announced on Tuesday evening that Gnassingbe had won with 58.75 percent, with his main opponent Fabre picking up 34.95 percent of votes.
The results were provisional and subject to confirmation by the Constitutional Court, it added.
Fabre had hoped to oust Gnassingbe, who has been in power since 2005 and was seeking a third term of office, as well as bringing an end to nearly 50 years of rule by the president's family.
Al Jazeera's Ama Boateng, reporting from the capital Lome, said the opposition leader had used "very strong words" to denounce Gnassingbe's victory.
"We have just come from opposition party headquarters and there's a lot of emotion, there's a lot of passion there," she said.
"Jean-Pierre Fabre has spoken and has called for his supporters to protest because he talked about this being a takeover and a crime against national sovereignty. So these are very strong words."

Term limits
Both President John Mahama of Ghana and his counterpart from the Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara, have visited Togo and urged parties to try to find a way forward, said our correspondent.
The controversy surrounding the elections, Boateng said, is about how long a president should stay in power.
"In ECOWAS ... there are only two countries without term limits - and that's Gambia and Togo, so he [the president] was entitled to run for a third term," she said, referring to the regional bloc that brings together West Africa nations.
Lawson-Banku called on people to turn out in force "using all legal means to ensure that this latest takeover fails".
The campaign director was asked whether he was calling for civilians in the tiny West African country to take to the streets.

"The right to protest is prescribed by law. There is no need for permission to demonstrate," he said.
Gnassingbe's father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who died in 2005, ruled Togo for 38 years after seizing power in a coup.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Egypt: Amendments to election laws completed

The Egyptian cabinet’s drafting committee on Monday finished amending laws regulating parliamentary elections, Transitional Justice Minister Ibrahim El-Heneidy has said.
Amendments to the Parliamentary Elections Law and the Law of the Exercise of Political Rights were minimal, committee member Ali Awad said.

The Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) ruled parts of the laws unconstitutional on 1 March, hence postponing long-delayed parliamentary elections originally scheduled for late March.

Meanwhile, the amended Elections Constituency Division Law was approved by the cabinet on 14 April.

El-Heneidy said at a press conference on Monday that the laws will be sent on Wednesday to the State Council, which will give its opinion, as well as the Supreme Constitutional Court.

According to the amended Parliamentary Elections Law, the new parliament will consist of 596 seats: 448 for independent candidates, 120 for party-based candidates elected through lists, and 28 appointed by the president.

As per the Elections Constituency Division Law, there will be 203 constituencies: 43 constituencies with one seat, 93 constituencies represented by two seats, 49 constituencies with three seats and 18 constituencies represented by four seats, said Refaat Abol Qomsan, committee member and assistant to the prime minister for election matters.

Previous election laws had set the number of constituencies at 237 and the parliament consisted of 567 seats: 120 for party-based candidates running on electoral lists, 420 for independent candidates and 27 appointed by the president.

In its ruling on 1 March, the SCC said the constituencies had to fairly represent the population, and the number of residents plus the number of people registered to vote, divided by two, was the correct mathematical calculation to determine each constituency, according to Abol Qomsan.

He explained that under the amended law, the size of constituencies must not vary by more than 25 percent, as required by the SCC.

Committee member and constitutional law professor Ali Abdel Aal also said that 50 percent of the seats assigned by the president in the new parliament will consist of women, as per the constitution.

Parliamentary elections constitute the third and final step in a political roadmap set forth following the ouster of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. The first two steps included passing a constitution in January 2014, followed by presidential elections in June 2014.

Once in session, the parliament will review within 15 days all laws issued under President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and his predecessor Adly Mansour.


Egypt: President pledges parliamentary elections in 2015

Egypt’s president says the country’s delayed parliamentary elections will take place before the end of 2015.

In an interview with El Mundo newspaper published Wednesday, a day before his official visit to Spain, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi says: “I give my word — they will be held before the end of the year.”

The parliamentary vote initially was set to take place in phases beginning on March 22. It is the final phase in a transition period following the 2013 ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi by the military, led by el-Sissi at the time. He says the vote was delayed because of constitutional appeals.

Egypt has not had an elected legislature since 2012, when the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that parliament’s lower chamber was not constitutionally elected.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Burkina Faso: Electoral reforms test fragile transition

On the morning of Oct. 30, 2014, throngs of protesters overwhelmed security forces in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, and burned the National Assembly building, physically preventing deputies from voting to further extend President Blaise Compaore’s tenure. That “popular insurrection,” as almost everyone in Burkina Faso now calls it, continued into the next day, driving the authoritarian president out of the country after 27 years in power.

Just over five months later, on April 7, under an interim government and with the assembly building still out of use, a new set of parliamentary deputies, including many former protesters, met in temporary facilities to amend the electoral code that will govern presidential and legislative elections this October. Most clauses will make that contest much more democratic than any held under Compaore. But some have less to do with fairness than with uprooting the remaining vestiges of the old regime. According to the new code, no one can run who actively supported Compaore’s efforts last year to subvert the constitution’s presidential term limits, thus effectively barring most members of the previous government, legislature and leadership bodies of the parties allied with him.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Togo: ECOWAS chair to mediate as opposition cries foul over poll

President John Mahama, who is the head of ECOWAS, is currently in Togo on a mediation mission after the opposition raised concerns over electoral irregularities in Saturday's presidential polls.

Starr News understands Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara accompanied Mahama to hold talks with the leadership of the political parties and the sitting president Faure Gnassingbe.

Gnassingbe has taken the lead in results declared so far. Opposition leader Jean-Pierre Fabre's CAP 2015 coalition has been complaining of widespread irregularities and wants the announcement of results to be suspended.

Gnassingbe has been in power since 2005.

In a letter to the electoral commissioner Issoufou Taffa Tabiou, the Coalition said the initial figures produced by the election commission did not match the results CAP 2015 members had recorded at polling stations.

Source: Ghana/

Togo: Incumbent Faure wins 3rd term with 58.75% of vote: official

Togo's President Faure Gnassingbe has won a third term with 58.75 percent of the vote in Saturday's polls, the electoral commission said, with his main rival Jean-Pierre Fabre taking 34.95 percent.

"The national electoral commission states that Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe has been elected based on provisional results which are subject to confirmation by the Constitutional Court," the commission's head Taffa Tabiou said late Tuesday.

Outside the headquarters of the ruling party, about 50 of his supporters danced to campaign songs late at night shortly after the results were announced.

"It is the victory of the Togolese people who want, with the president Faure Gnassingbe, to continue advancing toward progress and in peace," the presidency said.

Fabre could not be reached and his spokesman did not wish to comment.

Unsurprisingly, Fabre came out on top in Lome, the capital, which historically goes to the opposition, despite gains by Faure there.

The number of people who stayed away from the polls was 40.01 percent against 35.32 percent in the previous presidential election in 2010.

Gnassingbe's family has ruled the small west African country for almost half a century.

The president, who first came to power in 2005 on the death of his iron-fisted father Gnassingbe Eyadema, saw his bid for a third term sharply boosted by overwhelming support from the north of the country, a family stronghold.

- No limits on re-election -

The EU, Togo's leading international lender, said Tuesday the election "went off calmly, confirming the Togolese people's attachment to democracy."

The African Union and regional bloc ECOWAS also said the vote was free and transparent.

The opposition struggled to offer a real alternative, with three other candidates also going to the polls.

The most successful was Tchaboure Gogue, one of the three candidates from small opposition parties who chose to take on Fabre and the president, and took 3.08 percent of the vote.

Despite international monitors calling the vote free and transparent, opposition members had accused the government of engaging in election fraud to try to hold on to power.

However later Tuesday the tone eased, with Fabre telling AFP that he would "leave the CENI to do its work", referring to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Togolese political analyst David Ihou expressed surprise about the accusations, saying "all records" of the polling stations had been signed by "representatives of each candidate", and criticised what he termed "an obstructionist strategy" by the opposition.

Currently there are no limits on the number of times a president can stand for re-election. The opposition wants a two-term limit.

The army provoked an outcry when it first rushed Gnassingbe into office after General Eyadema died in February 2005, leaving a power vacuum following his rule of 38 years.

Gnassingbe swiftly stood down and an election was hastily organised which saw him win his first five-year term, but the result was marred by violence in which 400 to 500 people were left dead and thousands injured, according to the UN.

He was re-elected in 2010, winning against Fabre, in a vote disputed by the opposition but judged acceptable by the international commmunity.

Togo was formerly administered by Germany then France. It celebrated 55 years of independence on Monday.

Source: AFP

Monday, April 27, 2015

Sudan: EU question the constitutional legitimacy in elections

The Sudan has stated that the recent statement of the European Union on elections in the country is seeking to question the constitutional legitimacy in the country which rejects any intervention in its domestic affairs and refuses any hegemony from any foreign country.
A statement by the Ministry of Information, read by the Minister of Information, Ahmed Bilal Osman, the official spokesman, said “the government of Sudan is serious about the National Dialogue as its strategic option and requires no dictate from any one about it. And he national dialogue will be inclusive and bring together all Sudanese,
and we will provide all the guarantees for those wishing to join in the process. And the dialogue will tackle all issues, with full freedom and transparency.”
The statement has called on the EU to back the peace process and stability in the Sudan and to avoid siding with one party against the other and should not adopt the agenda of the armed opposition as this would lead to further violence and instability.
The statement has urged the EU to respect the sovereignty of the Sudan and refrain from intervening in its domestic affairs and we will tolerate no hegemony or intervention from any country in our domestic affairs, it said.
The Minister has pointed out in the statement that “now by adopting the view of the SPLA-N Sector, they will go the same path of dismembering the Sudan and boosting the armed opposition and calling overtly for the instability of the Sudan.”
The EU is not neutral and it has rejected the elections even before they are organized and we would like to reaffirm that the parties that took part in the current elections are more than those which participated in the 2010 elections.
The EU which participated in the supervision of the 2010 elections we were aware that they were just paving the way for the referendum that led to the cessation of the south and now by adopting the view of the SPLA-N, they are walking the same path of disintegrating the Sudan through supporting the armed movement and thus encouraging the
instability in the country.
The statement said the Sudan welcome the mediation of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel to discuss with the armed opposition the cessation of hostilities and then the ceasefire on the known security bases.
It said Sudan was also to implement all steps that were within the road map and the Addis Ababa document for creating a climate conducive to creating a national dialogue.
It stressed that the national dialogue shall take place inside the Sudan and that there would be no dialogue outside the Sudan save the discussion on procedural matter that would pave the way for this dialogue.
The statement said the elections were carried out in a peaceful climate and in neutrality and integrity and that any breaches should be sorted out with the National Election Commission which is the same commission that supervised the 2010 elections.
It said the judiciary system is also the place for undoing any injustice, besides there are still three weeks for any injunctions and complaints.
These elections, the statement read by the Minister stressed, represent the will of the Sudanese people and it has to be pointed out that more than 42% of the illegible voters took part in the process which is a percentage well over those recorded in most of the European countries where the percentage has not exceeded 35%.
The statement said the reason behind the EU campaign was to question the conditional legitimacy and that Sudan was sure its great people with their national awareness “will frustrate this sinful plan.”

Burundi: Ruling party nominates president for third term amid protest

 Burundi's ruling party chose President Pierre Nkurunziza to run for a third five-year term on Saturday, a move critics say is unconstitutional and may trigger unrest in the east African country.

Opposition groups promised protests if Nkurunziza ran, saying it would undermine a peace deal that has kept the country calm for a decade since an ethnically fuelled civil war ended in 2005.

Two months before the presidential election, Nkurunziza was nominated at a meeting of nearly 1,000 members of his party, which grew out of a Hutu rebel movement.

"No one will stop the CNDD-FDD party," the president declared.

"I call people to go to the election in peace," he said after the decision. "But I would like to warn everyone: whoever wants to create problems with the ruling party elected by the people, he'll find himself in trouble."

Party chairman Pascal Nyabenda urged the police and security forces to take action against any street protesters.

Any flare-up in Burundi threatens broader repercussions. It could draw in next-door Rwanda, where 800,000 mainly Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in a 1994 genocide, and create turmoil in an area where other presidents, including Joseph Kabila in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, are nearing the end of their constitutionally defined term limits.

Burundi's constitution says the president is elected for a five-year term, renewable only once. But Nkurunziza's supporters say his first term should not count because he was chosen by parliament rather than having been voted into office.


The ruling party says it will be up to the constitutional court to hear any appeals against its candidate. Opponents say they do not trust the courts to give them a fair hearing.

"Once Nkurunziza is declared the candidate, we won't wait. The next day, over 300 civil organisations engaged in a campaign against a third term for Nkurunziza will descend on the streets," prominent civil society activist Pierre Claver Mbonimpa told Reuters before the nomination was announced.

Opposition politician Agathon Rwasa urged anyone protesting to avoid violence, but said he was not calling for demonstrations now to avoid giving the ruling party a reason to "harass and persecute people."

He called on regional countries and international powers to put more pressure on the president to step aside.

Some opposition supporters staged street protests earlier this month, including on April 17 when demonstrators scuffled with police. Any clampdown on rallies could stoke tensions in a nation which has suffered from decades of ethnic violence.

African leaders and Western nations have been pushing Nkurunziza not to run. The United States and the European Union indicated they could take steps if violence erupted.

“On sanctions, I don’t think we have mouthed the word, but we are practising the lip movements," one senior Western diplomat in the region said before the decision, adding any such action would target individuals behind violence, not the nation.

Burundi's civil war pitted the army, then dominated by the ethnic Tutsi minority, against rebel groups mostly of the majority Hutus. The army now includes both ethnic groups and has absorbed rival factions. Experts fear it could fracture if tensions rise.

 (Reuters) -

Sudan: Opposition leader calls for popular uprising to overthrow the regime

The chairman of the opposition alliance National Consensus Forces (NCF), Farouk Abu Issa, has thanked those who supported him during his detention and vowed to be at the forefront of the forces seeking to topple the regime through popular uprising.

JPEG - 39.1 kb
NCF leader Farouk Abu Issa (R) arrives at the premises of the National Umma Party on 12 April 2015 (ST)
Sudanese authorities on released Abu Issa earlier this month along with rights activist Amin Mekki Madani and the dissident member of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) Farah Agar following four months of arrest for signing a political charter calling for a comprehensive process with the rebel groups last December.

Abu Issa said in a letter on Sunday that the Sudanese people made their release possible, saying “I thank all the brave women and men who had attended the trial”.

“We heard their chants while we were behind bars. They turned the regime from a plaintiff to a defendant and a criminal”, he said.

He thanked his defence team as well as the political forces and in its forefront the “Sudan Call” forces besides the civil society organizations inside Sudan and abroad.

“Sudan Call” forces include the rebel umbrella Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), National Umma Party (NUP) and the NCF.

The veteran leader also praised the Sudanese expatriates and those who launched social media campaigns to demand their release besides the refugees and the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) for showing solidarity with the detainees.

Abu Issa further thanked the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and its chief Thabo Mbeki, the three members of the Sudan troika, including the United States, United Kingdom and Norway, the European Union (EU), the German government, human rights organisations and the regional and international lawyers associations.

The opposition leader said he would firmly work to overthrow the regime, pointing he will not give up on the Sudanese people demands for ending wars, restoring democracy, holding corrupt people accountable and bringing criminals to justice.

He called for unifying opposition work and building on the elections boycott campaign to overthrow the regime through the popular uprising.

“All conditions are now ripe to overthrow the third military junta through the [popular uprising] and to establish the democratic alternative and build the state of equal citizenship, rule of law and independent judiciary,” he said.

Abu Issa also praised the Sudanese people for boycotting what he called the “election farce”, saying “we must continue our struggle to overthrow the regime through popular uprising”.

Sudan’s election has been boycotted by major opposition parties leading among other reasons to a very low turnout.

The opposition had demanded postponement of polls until the formation of a coalition government to oversee the vote and ensure its fairness.

The final results of the elections will be officially announced on Monday.

Sudanese president Omer al-Bashir and his ruling party are expected to win comfortably after more than 25 years in power.

(Sudan Tribune)

Sudan: Incumbent Bashir wins with 94.05 percent of vote

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir extended his quarter-century in power with a landslide 94.05 percent victory in presidential elections, organisers announced on Monday.

The 71-year-old looks set to tighten his grip on the unstable oil producer, facing a divided and diminished opposition that mostly boycotted the poll held earlier this month.

Bashir told voters during the campaign only he could steer Sudan away from the chaos engulfing several Arab countries where he said Western-backed aspirations for democracy, that flourished in the 2011 "Arab Spring" uprisings, took priority over stability.

But Sudan is not free of challenges.

Sudan has faced a rebellion in the Darfur region since 2003 and a separate but linked insurgency in Blue Nile and South Kordofan since the secession of South Sudan in 2011.

Bashir himself is facing arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court over charges that he masterminded genocide and other atrocities in his campaign to crush the Darfur revolt. He denies the charges and refuses to deal with the court.

Bashir's critics complain of a crackdown on media, civil society and the opposition and reject his assertion that Sudan would become a haven for extremists under a different president.

Apart from security, Bashir has campaigned on issues such as improving access to water and farmland that most affect the nearly half of Sudan's population of 37 million people in poverty.

The economy has recovered somewhat since a freefall immediately after South Sudan's secession, thanks to lower oil costs and bumper harvests, but unemployment and inflation remain high.

(This version of the story corrects to show Bashir won 94.05 percent of vote not 94.5 percent)


Egypt: Parliamentary elections postponed until after Ramadan

Egyptian parliamentary elections have been postponed by a few months. The minister for relations with parliament, Ibrahim El-Heneidy, said the vote would not be scheduled before Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, which begins on June 18 this year, Al Ahram reported on Thursday.

Elections - the third and last step of the Egyptian roadmap towards democracy - were originally scheduled between March and May. Last month, the vote was postponed indefinitely over the unconstitutionality of two electoral laws.


Burkina Faso: EU supports electoral process with $11 million

The European Union (EU) will disburse 7 billion CFA Francs (about 11 million U.S. dollars) to support Burkina Faso’s electoral process, an official source said on Wednesday.

Most of the money will be disbursed during the transition period, said Burkina Faso’s government spokesman Frederic Nikiema.

Besides that, EU will also give Burkina Faso a loan of 109 million U.S. dollars as budgetary support for the 2015-2016 financial year, he said.

He added that the World Bank had given Burkina Faso budgetary support of 101 million dollars to support efforts to fight against poverty and unemployment.

Burkina Faso is currently going through a transition period following the fall of Blaise Compaore’s regime in October last year. The country is set to hold its general elections in October. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Togo: Observers says election was peaceful but turnout low

Togo's presidential election took place without major incidents, although turnout appears to have been just over 50 percent, West African and local election observers said on Sunday.

No results have yet been published, but incumbent Faure Gnassingbe is widely expected to win a third term. The vote on Saturday pitted Gnassingbe against four challengers, led by Jean-Pierre Fabre.

ECOWAS, West Africa's regional bloc, said its observer mission had not seen any incident that might undermine the vote and declared the process "free and fair".

The grouping called on leaders and citizens to abstain from violence and intimidation -- a reminder of Togo's history of post-election troubles.

Hundreds died after the 2005 election that brought Gnassingbe to power following the death of his long-ruling father. Unlike many of its neighbors, Togo has no term limits in its constitution, meaning Gnassingbe is free to run for as many terms as he wants.

Security forces have stepped up patrols and the streets of Lome were quiet on Sunday. Initial results of the poll are expected later in the evening.

Election commission officials estimated late on Saturday a turnout of 50-55 percent, down from around 60-64 percent in previous votes.

A network of local observers said turnout was 52 percent in the polling stations they witnessed.

"Voting was calm and the polling stations worked for voters, even though there was a low turnout," said Paul Amegakpo, the head of the CNSC civil society movement.

Amegakpo said some voters had struggled to find their names on lists at polling stations. Uncertainty over the process before election day probably also contributed to the low turnout.

Togo's vote was delayed by 10 days after opposition parties called for the election lists to be cleaned up. Fabre had also rejected the use of an electronic system to send and collate results, warning it might be used to rig results.


Togo: Incumbent takes early lead in presidential vote tally

Togo's President Faure Gnassingbe took an early lead in the first results from Saturday's presidential vote released on Monday.

Results from six of 42 voting districts showed Gnassingbe with 64 percent, ahead of 33 percent for his nearest rival, Jean-Pierre Fabre, the head of the election commission said.

The rest of the votes were shared between the three other candidates, election commission chief Issoufou Taffa Tabiou told reporters. More results are due later in the day.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised Saturday's vote and called on the country's political leaders to "continue to maintain the peaceful atmosphere" of the election process.

An observer from the regional bloc ECOWAS said Sunday there was no major incident in the voting.

Togo's Independent National Electoral Commission has until six days after the polls closed to announce the results.  Officials said turnout among the 3.5 million eligible voters was between 53 and 55 percent, which is far lower than the nearly two-thirds of voters who took part in the 2010 presidential election.

President Gnassingbe is seeking a third five-year term, which would keep his family in power for nearly 50 years. He assumed office in 2005 upon the death of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled the former French colony for 38 years. Rights groups have criticized Togo for using violence against protesters.

Opposition leader Jean-Pierre Fabre, who also ran for president in the last election, is expected to come in second in the single-round presidential poll.

Given Togo's history of post-election violence -- hundreds died in clashes after the 2005 vote -- diplomats and observer teams have called on leaders to maintain the peaceful atmosphere.

Security forces stepped up patrols as results were ferried to the seaside capital, Lome, for compilation.

The ballot was delayed by ten days to allow election experts to clean up the voter rolls, which the opposition said contained numerous errors that might favor the incumbent.

Some material for this report came from Reuters.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Burundi: President set to kick off re-election bid amid anger

Burundi's president is poised to declare his controversial bid for re-election, the country's ruling party said Thursday, with the opposition branding the move as a coup and vowing more protests.

Opposition parties, church leaders and top diplomats have been demanding President Pierre Nkurunziza respect a constitutional limit of two terms in office, fearing the small central African nation could be plunged back into violence.

But Nkurunziza's CNDD-FDD party -- which has also been accused of suppressing dissidents and activists -- said it would designate its candidate at a congress on Saturday. A senior party source confirmed to AFP that the choice to anoint the president for another term "has already been made".

Presidential elections in Burundi are scheduled to be held on June 26.

"Whatever happens, it will be President Nkurunziza, regardless of the consequences," the official said. The ruling party's president, Pascal Nyabenda, meanwhile insisted that the result was not a foregone conclusion and that "it is up to party members to decide".

Opposition parties and civil society groups are campaigning for the president not to run again.

The influential Catholic Church has also spoken out against his expected attempt to stay put, while the UN Security Council has also warned that the upcoming elections in Burundi -- only emerged from a brutal 13-year civil war in 2006 -- could turn violent.

Earlier this month UN rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein warned that the country was at a "crossroads" between a fair vote that would boost the country and a route back to its "horrendously violent past".

- Thousands fleeing threats -

An opposition coalition leader, Leonce Ngendakumana, said it was clear that it was now certain that Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader, football fanatic and evangelical Christian, was set to defy opponents and attempt to stay in power.

"This is a constitutional coup and he and his party will be responsible for the consequences. We will not allow him to trample over the constitution," he said.

The opposition leader also promised fresh demonstrations, despite a government warning made earlier this week to call out the army if protests escalate.

"We will appeal to CNDD-FDD party members to come to their senses and save the country. Otherwise the Burundian people will have to rise up as one to reject this constitutional coup," said Vital Nshimirimana, head of a prominent NGO forum and the main leader of the campaign to block a third term.

Thousands of Burundians have fled the country in recent weeks to neighbouring Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the UN's refugee agency, which has also warned the that the numbers of refugees could swell "with more political tension rising and more acts of violence being reported."

Many are fleeing threats by the pro-government militia Imbonerakure, the youth wing of the ruling CNDD-FDD party.

Police clashed with protestors in the capital Bujumbura last week, and 65 people were arrested and charged with rebellion.

Burundi's constitution only allows a president to be elected twice -- for a total of 10 years in power -- but Nkurunziza argues he has only been directly elected by the people once.

For his first term, beginning in 2005, he was selected by parliament. The opposition boycotted the last elections in 2010, alleging fraud.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sudan: Troika envoys summoned over criticism of elections

 Sudan’s foreign ministry has summoned on Tuesday the United Kingdom, Norway, United States and the European Union ambassadors to Khartoum following their criticism of Sudan’s elections.

In a statement released on Monday, the three members of the Sudan Troika expressed regret over what they described as failure by the Khartoum government “to create a free, fair, and conducive elections environment”.

They said the “outcome of these elections cannot be considered a credible expression of the will of the Sudanese people”.

Sudan’s foreign ministry described the statement as “a blatant interference in the country’s affairs”, accusing them of deliberately ignoring rebels’ shelling of South Kordofan during the elections.

The acting undersecretary of Sudan’s foreign ministry, Abdalla al-Azrag, has conveyed to the ambassadors Khartoum’s official protest and condemnation of the wrong information and preset positions included in the troika statement about Sudan’s elections.

The foreign ministry said it “condemns in the strongest words the troika statement which represents a blatant intervention in the internal affairs of the country”.

Al-Azrag handed over each ambassador Khartoum’s response to the Troika statement, stressing the election is “a pure Sudanese affair and no other party has the right to intervene or to express an opinion”.

The foreign ministry further accused the troika countries of deliberately ignoring violent acts carried out by the rebels during the elections, saying the latter shelled South Kordofan capital Kadugli in order to sabotage elections.

In a subtle criticism of attacks levelled by rebel groups during the elections in conflict zones, troika countries said they condemn “acts of violence during the election period”, but it did not go into details as the two parties were involved in the ongoing violence there, the Sudanese army by the bombing and the rebels by the shelling.

The Sudanese foreign ministry pointed in the letter handed over to the ambassadors and seen by Sudan Tribune that “the whole world saw the electoral process in Sudan which was conducted in a peaceful climate and with the participation of several regional and international monitoring missions from around the world”.

The letter also said that reports of monitoring teams have stressed integrity and transparency of the election process and underscored that it met the international election standards.

It pointed to the participation of a considerable number of political parties in the elections, saying that most of the opposition parties which boycotted the polls did not object to the holding of elections.

The foreign ministry renewed Sudan’s commitment to go ahead with the national dialogue initiative following announcement of polls results and formation of the new government.

Sudan’s election has been boycotted by major opposition parties. They had demanded postponement until the formation of a coalition government to oversee the vote and ensure its fairness.

The final results of the elections will be officially announced on 27 April.
ncumbent president Omar Hassan al-Bashir is expected to win again after more than 25 years in power.

Meanwhile, Sudan’s minister of information and the government spokesperson, Ahmed Bilal Osman, described the troika statement as “dangerous” and “biased towards the opposition and armed bearers”, saying it encourages continuation of violence in Sudan.

He told the pro-government Sudan Media Center (SMC) on Tuesday that polls was held in a calm atmosphere and has not witnessed violence, saying Troika is not a neutral party.

“Therefore we will not allow [the troika countries] to mediate [between the government and the opposition],” he said.

Sudan Tribune

Guinea: Opposition calls for protests over elections

Guinea's opposition called for protests across the country against a disputed election timetable Thursday after days of violent clashes in the capital, even as the president ruled out any review.

Violence between supporters of the opposition Union of Republican Forces (UFR) and police during unauthorised protests in Conakry have left several dead in the last two weeks, but supporters are undeterred and seeking to consolidate their regional backing.

Conakry governor Soriba Sorel Camara made a statement on public radio ahead of fresh protests planned for midday (1200 GMT), criticising sections of the opposition for having "chosen the street" to make their case.

He accused activists of "acts of rare barbarity" including "stoning public and private vehicles, seriously wounding public order officials" and urged the public to go about their normal business.

Guinean President Alpha Conde said on Wednesday the country's constitution ruled out the kind of changes to the election timetable sought by opposition supporters.

"The Guinean constitution requires that presidential elections take place on a precise date," Conde told reporters after a meeting with French President Francois Hollande in Paris.

"We will do everything possible to maintain order in the republic."

Guinea's opposition boycotted parliament in March in protest over the timetable for the presidential ballot, accusing Conde of using the Ebola epidemic as an excuse to postpone voting.

The opposition had called for the local elections -- originally planned for the beginning of 2014 -- to be held before the October presidential vote but they are not due to take place until March 2016.

- 'Outstretched hand' -

Opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo's supporters claim the timetable was pushed through without consultation and gives the ruling party an unfair advantage.

After protests in Conakry on Monday Diallo, who lost to Conde in the second round of a 2010 election, called on his supporters to take to the streets once again on Thursday, but this time all across Guinea.

Diallo said the motivation behind the president's refusal to budge on the timetable was fear of defeat if the local vote was brought forward.

"It is not as easy to commit fraud in local elections as it is in national ones -- he would not be able to justify hijacking the vote," the opposition leader told AFP.

Conde's Rally of the Guinean People party "couldn't justify victory in a presidential election" if it suffered heavy losses in a local vote, Diallo added.

Justice Minister Cheick Sako, who is charged with negotiating with the opposition, played down his leader's comments and urged the opposition not to refuse the "outstretched hand" of the government.

The last election in Guinea -- September 2013's parliamentary vote -- was delayed by almost three years, stoking deadly ethnic tensions that have dogged the nation's politics since independence.

Conde came to power in 2010, becoming the former French colony's first democratically elected leader.

One of the poorest countries in the region despite vast potential for mineral exploitation, Guinea was run by a succession of autocratic rulers after gaining independence from France in 1958.

Togo election preview

On 25th April 2015 Togo will go to the polls in an election which sees the incumbent, President Faure Gnassingbé, attempt to extend his family’s rule of the country into a sixth decade. A recent report by the Tournons La Page (Turn the Page) campaign group noted that 88 percent of the Togolese population have only known one ruling family and it seems likely that this percentage will continue to rise.

In February 2015, the ruling l’Union pour la République (UNIR) selected Gnassingbé as their presidential candidate despite demands from opposition parties for a presidential term limit which would have prevented Gnassingbé from running. In 2014, this call for a presidential term limit became a rallying cry for Togo’s various opposition parties and a proposal was put before the country’s national assembly in June 2014. However, the odds were definitely stacked against the opposition, which needed 80 percent of the national assembly – where the UNIR hold 62 of the 91 seats – to vote with them to alter the constitution. Unsurprisingly, the proposal was rejected. Following this, the opposition parties focussed on cultivating popular support for the cause, which was given impetus by the formation of the coalition Combat pour l’Alternance Politique (CAP) party in October 2014. This was demonstrated in November 2014, when large scale protests broke out in Lomé. It was reported that thousands took to the streets to call for constitutional change and were met by a heavy police presence. Togo’s Security and Civil Protection Ministry announced on state television that all necessary measures would be taken to prevent demonstrators from reaching Togo’s parliament and the police used tear gas and rubber bullets to quell the protests.

Although further demonstrations took place in late November and early December, the turnout was reportedly considerably smaller on both occasions. Nonetheless, the opposition managed to organise negotiations with the ruling party over constitutional changes in January 2015. These soon broke down as it became clear that the UNIR was not willing to discuss presidential term limits and both the opposition and the ruling party blamed each other for the breakdown in negotiations. Nevertheless, presidential term limits and constitutional change remain a key aspect of Gnassingbé’s closest competitor’s campaign. CAP’s presidential candidate, Jean-Pierre Fabre, has stated that he is committed to constitutional reform which would weaken the position of the presidency. This would not only include imposing a presidential term limit of two five year terms but also a strengthening of the power of the prime minister. Thus, term limits remain a key topic of this year’s election.

Fabre also ran against Gnassingbé in 2010 and secured 33.9 percent of the vote under the Union des Forces du Changement (UFC) party; he subsequently challenged the legitimacy of the election and declared himself the winner. Although the creation of the CAP coalition has definitely improved Fabre’s chances of challenging Gnassingbé through uniting different parties, the opposition remains divided. This even includes on matters such as whether to compete in the election as six smaller parties, and influential civil society groups such as Organisations de Défense des Droits de l’Homme, are calling for a boycott. There is certainly rising discontent over Gnassingbé’s continued rule, as shown by a recent teachers’ strike in March 2015 which drew hundreds of supporters, but it questionable whether this will equate to votes for Fabre.

Furthermore, it is unlikely that Gnassingbé and the UNIR will allow themselves to be removed from power through the ballot box. The government has demonstrated its willingness to use force to impose its rule and this was again shown in March 2015 when the army was called to support the police in response to the teachers’ strike. In preparation for Election Day the government announced that the armed forces will vote on 22nd April so as to allow them to provide security on 25th April, and Gnassingbé replaced the head of a special 8000 strong election security team (FOSEP) by presidential decree on 16th April. Although it has been reported that the former head of FOSEP was suffering from ill health, the decision still demonstrates Gnassingbé’s focus on election security. Thus, it appears that Gnassingbé is bolstering his position in terms of security in anticipation of opposition to his expected victory. Moreover, despite the 10 day delay to the election due to irregularities concerning the voter registration list – which has been resolved by International mediators – there remains a strong possibility of electoral fraud based upon previous elections.

Thus, Togo’s election and post-election atmosphere could be quite tense. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has announced that it will send 100 election observers to Togo for the election and the group’s chairman, Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama, has warned that “the whole international community will be watching you”. Mahama also added that all candidates must be prepared to accept the election results and that there can be “only one winner”. This statement is presumably aimed at Fabre after the election in 2010. Nevertheless, it is likely that Fabre will challenge Saturday’s election result if he loses again as he approaches this election in a stronger position politically than in 2010. If this results in protests, they will undoubtedly be met by a security crackdown for which Gnassingbé appears to be preparing. Although similar protests were predominantly peaceful in 2010, there is a possibility that if protests do arise they may see a return to post-election violence like that seen in 2005.

Togo: Election set to solidify Gnassingbe dynasty?

Five candidates will compete for Togo’s highest political office in elections expected to extend the 10-year-rule of President Faure Gnassingbe. Gnassingbe, 48, is likely to gain a third mandate, following in the footsteps of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled the small West African nation rich in phosphates, limestone and marble for 38 years.

Gnassingbe junior was installed as president by the army in 2005 after his father died. He briefly stepped down under international pressure but won a hotly contested election months later and was re-elected in 2010.

Gnassingbe’s ruling Rally of the Togolese People party blocked several attempts to limit the president’s term in office in the nation of 6.8mn people.

Gnassingbe is the frontrunner mainly because the divided opposition has been unable to agree on a joint candidate who would be able to garner enough votes to pose a threat to the Gnassingbe candidacy.

Main challenger Jean-Pierre Fabre, 63, leads opposition coalition Combat for Political Change (CAP) is believed to have the best chances.

Former education minister Aime Tchaboure Gogue, 68, who heads radical opposition party Democrats Alliance for the Integral Development, will also compete for the presidency.

The two other candidates are soldier-turned-businessman Gerry Komandega Taama, 40, whose New Togolese Engagement party enjoys the support of the youth, and former human rights activist and lawyer Tchassona Traore, 55, who leads the Citizen Movement for Democracy and Development party and is campaigning for constitutional reforms.

Roughly 3.5mn people are registered to cast their vote during the presidential polls on Saturday.
Initially scheduled for April 15, the election was delayed by 10 days after opposition parties said the electoral roll included thousands of double registrations by Gnassingbe supporters.
The candidates later agreed on an updated but still “imperfect” voter list.

Despite the irregularities, voters are likely to see Gnassingbe as a safe vote that ensures peaceful elections. Many Togolese have vivid memories of the post-election violence in 2005 that killed more than 500 people.

The incumbent also has support because he initiated numerous infrastructure projects, including new roads, major renovations to the port in the capital, Lome, and a new airport.

Gnassingbe also started to revive Togo’s tourism sector by building several new hotels, including the luxurious, 100m tall 2 Fevrier (February 2) flagship project.

The European Union is planning to fund 1,200 observers, while the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union will send their own monitoring teams. Provisional results are expected by May 1, with final results being announced on May 3, according to the electoral commission.


Togo: Opposition counts on transparency to win poll

Togolese opposition leader Jean-Pierre Fabre believes he can win Saturday's presidential election given the poll's high level of transparency, a senior opposition leader has said.

"With the recently found consensus about the electoral roll, the elections will indeed be more credible than those of previous years," Patrick Lawson, vice-president of the the National Alliance for Change, told The Anadolu Agency three days before the polls.

Earlier this month, the Independent National Electoral Commission purged the electoral list, which had included thousands of duplicate names that the opposition worried would work in favor of incumbent President Faure Gnassingbe, who is running for a third term.

"Although it was difficult to clean the electoral register in ten days, we nevertheless considered the development to be an improvement. And that was sufficient for us to engage in the race," Lawson said.

"Yet this electoral roll should be reviewed thoroughly later on. All we could do was remove the duplicate names, but there are still some remaining, which is normal given the short time given," Lawson, Fabre's campaign manager, added.

Lawson cited 1998 presidential elections, when the international community questioned the legal framework of the elections and the opposition alleged massive fraud.

In 2005, election-related violence led to between 600 and 1,000 dead following similar accusations, he recalled.

But unlike previous Togolese elections, the opposition is less concerned this time around.

"This time I can assure you that we have invested a lot in the vote, so the will of the people will be reflected in the outcome," he said.

"We made sure that we would receive the vote count records in time, so that no fraud can be committed," he added.

Lawson urged political parties to strive to ensure that Saturday's elections passed peacefully.

"We do not want to see disputes and violence this time. It is necessary for all stakeholders to make sure that no fraud takes place," he said.

"If this is the case, I believe everyone will accept the verdict of the polls and we will be ready to acknowledge our defeat and shake hands with the winner," he added.

However, Lawson believes that if elections are transparent, Fabre will win the top post.

"Fabre's victory, if it happens, will be a victory for all Togolese. There will be no witch hunt. Whether you are from the south, north, east or west, we are all the sons of this country. And as such, we should unify our efforts to build it together," he said.

Five candidates will vie for Togo's presidency, with the frontrunners expected to be Gnassingbe, in power since 2005, and Fabre.

The candidate list also includes Aime Gogue of the opposition Alliance of Democrats for Integral Development; Komandega Taama of the opposition New Togolese Commitment Party; and Mohamed Tchassona Traore of the Citizens' Movement for Democracy and Development.


Togo: Security forces begin voting in presidential poll

The Togolese security forces started voting early on Wednesday in several polling centers across the country ahead of the presidential election slated for 25 April 2015, APA notes here.

In the polling center of Adidogome technical school (in the outskirts of Lome), many members of the security forces could be seen lining up in the early hours of the morning to vote.

With their voters cards in their hands they were for the most part wearing uniform.

“I feel satisfied because we have noticed that everything has gone well. It started well. We have 22 polling stations in this Adidogome School. All the polling centers are open on time, Kuassi Ankou, the Chairman of the local electoral commission in the area told APA.

The anticipated vote has required the establishment of 214 polling stations in 47 polling centers across the country. The security forces will ensure the conduct of the polls on 25 April in calm and serenity.

Five candidates are running for presidency including the incumbent Faure Gnassingbe and the main opposition leader Jean Pierre Fabre.

Source: APA

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Burundi: 'Postdicting' Burundi's elections


By Lonzen Rugira
"Please pray for us," a friend pleaded in a WhatsApp message last week, before sending a picture reference with the captions: "It is getting out of control." It a picture of law enforcement officers battling a crowd that had poured to the streets to denounce the third term push for President Pierre Nkurunziza.

I, like many Rwandans, follow closely the political developments in Burundi for a number of reasons. In the case of conflict, many understand very well its potential to spill into Rwanda by virtue of the shared border. More importantly, however, is the brotherly camaraderie that Rwandans share with Burundians, which makes people from both countries concerned about the welfare of the other. It is a fondness that is informed by deeply shared cultural ties, including language, which bring into question the logic and wisdom of the states that were created, and bequeathed, by colonialism. However, that's a story for another day.

Today's subject is one person's cry for prayer. It is a cry that, without a doubt, many Burundians are presently making to loved ones, and to anyone else willing to listen. The message is: We are very afraid.

Moreover, the alarms went off a long time ago. But we hit snooze. Stories about the potential for Burundi to descend into social unrest as a result of the upcoming elections have been around for quite some time.

However, most of these were dismissed as the rituals of the media. Many thought they were the usual drum bells of those who never tire to predict doom in Africa, particularly during electoral cycles.

It is for this reason that predictions of an "impending" clash between the supporters of Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim from the North and those of Jonathan Goodluck, a Christian from the South, were roundly ignored.

But Burundi is not Nigeria. One need not be a fortunate-teller to speak about chaos and Burundi's elections. In any event, such a person cannot be said to be predicting chaos; instead, what he or she would be doing is, in fact, an exercise in "post-dicting."

That's because refugees, a sure indicator of chaos, are already pouring into Rwanda, and a few towards Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Reports are estimating that by last week at least 8,000 had settled in four camps across Rwanda's side of the border, in the districts of Nyanza, Bugesera, Kirehe, Gisagara.

All this got me thinking. I thought about the friend's predicament, the plight of the refugees, the possibility that their lives will never be the same again, as a result of this dislocation, and considered the official response from their government, that they should ignore the "rumours" and return home to vote.

Such thoughts ultimately bring one back to the question of democratic practice in Africa. For one thing, there's the argument that Burundi's democratic approach, of confrontational contestation, is more sustainable than Rwanda's model that seeks consensus from would be political adversaries.

As a result, Rwanda's approach has been dismissed in academia and in the international media as cosmetic in nature, despite its ability to coalesce competing interests for the single purpose of delivering improved outcomes for the country's citizens.

Whatever the judgement, it is becoming clearer that confrontational politics breeds social unrest. This, of course, is not to say that all political systems based on this approach must necessarily produce violence, as Nigeria has shown.

Nigeria may have dodged the bullet. However, Burundi has not; and the situation portents for far worse.

The point is that they create conditions that increase the potential for the political disagreements to spill into the lives of ordinary citizens who may have very little to do with whatever the disagreement is about.

Therefore, we need to think long and hard about democracy, democratic practice, and what its purpose ought to be in the lives of all citizens, who in the end are its main casualty due to conditions of limited mobility.

If we can't build a mature democracy of practitioners who are focused on improving the lives of the people they lead; if the outcome is to uproot people from their homes into the destituteness of refugee life, indeed, if the outcome is unmitigated violence, then perhaps this whole thing of elections is not worth it.

If I'm not being a democrat by defending the welfare of the ordinary person, then so be it. Indeed, one is likely to rebut that the fact that Burundians are able to 'freely' demonstrate against their government is democratic practice, as is the fact that a big number of its elite has denounced efforts to push for a third presidential term. However, such a response would be no different from that of the government that the fears of the thousands of refugees are unfounded, and that their decision to flee was grounded in nothing but rumours.

On a final note, the predicament under which my friend finds herself cannot be separated from the larger lessons that we ought to take from what is happening in her country. First, we ought to roundly denounce all politics that does not place the welfare of citizens at the heart of government business. Second, to support all politics whose raison d'être is its citizens, and to let anyone call it by whatever term they wish.

Sudan: Electoral body says 4.8 million voted

Khartoum — The head of the National Election Commission NEC), Mukhtar El Asam, announced on Sunday that the number of votes cast in the presidential and parliamentary election reached 4.800 million. 13.8 million Sudanese were eligible to vote.

He predicted that the percentage of the voter turnout will lie between 36 and 38 percent in the end. "It may reach 40 percent", he said, stressing that the low numbers were expected.

The numbers do not include voters abroad, and in El Gezira state, where the voting process was extended, because of logistical problems. For the same reason, the start of the election was postponed to Friday in El Tina, Um Baru, and Karnoi localities in North Darfur.

The voting process abroad commenced on Friday too, in the seven centres in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, the UK, and Belgium.

The election was suspended in the insecure border areas of El Dibab in West Kordofan, northern Abyei, and seven constituencies in South Kordofan.

On Friday, the counting of the ballots started. The election period, scheduled for 13-15 April, was extended with one day, to boost the extremely low turnout on the first three days.

El Asam said that about 80 percent of the votes cast in Khartoum state have been counted, showing a victory for the ruling National Congress Party, and its leader, President Omar Al Bashir.

Sudan: Opposition to reject poll results

Khartoum — The Sudan Appeal signatories will not recognise the outcome of the election, nor the government that will be based on it.

The allied opposition forces, who signed the Sudan Appeal, a political communiqué calling for regime-change, in December last year, have held meetings with US, European, and African officials. They informed them that the Sudanese ruling party needs to be pressured to accept a transitional government, and a no-fly zone in the war-torn regions of Darfur, South Kordofan, and the Blue Nile.

After a press conference in Khartoum on Sunday, Siddig Yousef, prominent leader of the Sudanese Communist Party, told Radio Dabanga that the Sudan Appeal forces will not accept the results of the presidential and parliamentary election that took place last week.

"Though the National Election Commission announced that the voter turnout was more than 30 percent, we all know that it was less than 10 percent in reality."

According to Yousef, the election was not based on political principles. Pointing to the victory of independent candidates in the northern Sudanese constituencies Abu Hamed and Dongola, he said that the election was "a contest between persons and between tribes".

He stressed that the opposition forces will not recognise the new government. "We will continue with the Leave! campaign until the Khartoum regime is toppled."

Yousef further noted that of the more than 30 anti-election activists who were detained shortly before and during the election, some were released. "Others, among them a number of students of the University of El Fasher in North Darfur, are still being held by the security apparatus."

'Real proportion'

Dr Maryam El Mahdi, Co-Vice President of the National Umma Party (NUP), who also participated in the press conference, told Radio Dabanga that "the Sudanese people, with their boycott of the election, have brought back the ruling National Congress Party to its real proportion.

"Even the head of the National Election Commission, Mukhtar El Asam, could not deny the poor voter turnout. He announced that it was 38 percent, which means that two thirds of the Sudanese population do not want this government to continue. This regime, led by Omar Al Bashir, eventually has to comply with the will of the people."

El Mahdi also stressed that the Sudan Appeal forces will continue their Leave! campaign to bring down "this dangerous regime", and called on "all the Sudanese to stand up and start a popular uprising".

She said that the allied opposition forces also launched a campaign to stop the fighting in South Kordofan, the Blue Nile, and Darfur. "We are pressuring for a ceasefire in South Kordofan, the Blue Nile, and South Kordofan, in Sudan and abroad, to enable humanitarian access to the affected in these regions and the exchange of detainees.

"We further held meetings with US, European, and African officials, and told them that the Sudanese ruling party needs to be seriously pressured to accept a six year transitional government."

Sudan Appeal

On 3 December, representatives of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance, the NUP, the National Consensus Forces (NCF, a coalition of opposition parties), and the Civil Society Initiative (CSI), signed the Sudan Appeal in Addis Ababa.

In the two-page communiqué, they call for the ending of the civil wars in the country, the dismantling of the one-party system, and the rebuilding of Sudan based on democratic principles and equal citizenship.

The signatories agreed that if a peaceful regime-change cannot be achieved by a broad national dialogue, it should be enforced by an intifada.

NCF leader Faroug Abu Eisa, CSI chairman Dr Amin Mekki Madani, and legal consultant of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) Farah El Agar were detained by security officers in Khartoum, a day after their return from Addis Ababa. They were tried for charges of instigating violence against the state and violating the Constitution, until they were suddenly released on 9 April, four days before the start of the election.

During the last week of February, the Sudan Appeal signatories met in the German capital, where they agreed on a joint position paper that became known as the Berlin Declaration, on the contents of a preparatory National Dialogue meeting that, they stressed, should be facilitated by the AUHIP, and take place before the election would commence.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga on 11 March, Yasir Arman, SRF External relations officer and SPLM-N Secretary-General, said that "in the event Al Bashir elects himself in the April election, we will take the necessary steps to declare him an illegitimate and non-recognised president, with the support of the international and African communities".

Sudan: Elections conducted by the same commission hailed by Britain and America, turnout was 45%

Khartoum - The President of the National Election Commission Prof. Mukhtar Al-Asam said the 2015 elections was managed by an independent Commission,  which was the same commission that managed the 2010 elections which the United States of America, Britain and Norway testified in favour of its integrity. He said it managed the elections in a higher level of accuracy and integrity this time.

Al-Asam added in an interview with Sudan News Agency (SUNA) yesterday, that the commission was appointed in 2009 during the term of the interim governance and was selected in the presence of Sudan’s People Liberation Movement and the National Gathering when they were part of the Parliament in which the National Congress Party represents 52% and the opposition 48%.
He elaborated that the Commission stands on the top of the system followed by 18 high committees   formed by the same level of neutrality and integrity comprising of six members and a chairperson, then comes the centre’s of elections and their committees and all their members totaling 60,000 Sudanese nationals selected by the Commission from qualified Sudanese elements non-partisan and not loyal to the government.

He went on to state that the independent commission has involved the participant parties in all the steps including demarcation of constituencies , the electoral record, the nomination and the electoral campaigns. Alasum said that the commission has allowed during polling the presence of the representatives of the political parties and the agents of the candidates inside the centers’ throughout the periods of tally and sorting and the signature of the results prior to announcing them in the presence of the journalists and the observers from the different countries and regions.

He said the turnout percentage has reached 42% on Tuesday without including the data coming from five states, saying that this percentage which is expected to increase further exceeds the international percentage and it is a percentage higher than the turnout percentage in the last elections in the United States and Britain.

He added that all the observers including the observers of the African Union, the Arab League, China, Russia, and Latin America along with all the group of domestic and international observers have testified that the election operation was conducted with full integrity and neutrality without any polarization and the failure of a number of the candidates of the ruling party boosts the integrity of elections.

Al-Asam outlined that elections progressed quietly and safely with any reports of electoral violence.

Sudan: Ruling party contradicts government, admits low voter turnout

Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) admitted Tuesday to a low voter turnout in the recent elections, less than a week after the Sudanese government dismissed remarks about poor participation at the polls due to voter apathy. The NCP’s secretary for political affairs, Mustafa Osam Ismail, attributed the small amount of ballots cast compared with the number of registered voters to Sudan’s old electoral register, which still contains names of the deceased and former citizens.

“There were millions of names that were not revised such as names of the dead and citizens who have become South Sudanese nationals,” Ismail told Radio Tamazuj, an independent news service for Sudan and South Sudan. “Many electorates have changed their residences, besides students who have graduated as well as military posts that have been changed.”

However, the NCP said last week the Sudanese government was pleased with the turnout during the four days of voting, which concluded Friday. “We can confirm that we are satisfied about the people’s participation. For those who are talking about low turnout, we believe they are not aware of what is happening or deliberately intending to talk about low participation,” the NCP’s deputy chairman, Ibrahim Ghandour, told China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Ghandour’s remarks came after electoral observers estimated two-thirds of Sudan’s 13.3 million registered voters did not cast ballots in the elections. Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who led the African Union’s observation mission for Sudan’s polls, said the low turnout was likely due to the lack of electoral competition. “I believe 30-5 percent of voter cast their votes,” Obasanjo told Sudan’s state-run SUNA news agency.

The election results are expected to be announced April 27. Incumbent President Omar al-Bashir is expected to win re-election after the main opposition parties boycotted the polls by not fielding candidates. Bashir has ruled for a quarter century and his reign is not expected to be affected by an International Criminal Court warrant for his arrest in connection with war crimes in the North African country’s Darfur region after the court halted its probe in December, citing a need to “shift resources to other urgent cases.”

However, the controversy over Bashir’s rule has sparked violent clashes between government troops and armed opposition groups. The Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), the military wing of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement opposition party, shelled rockets on major towns in South Kordofan state at the start of the polls last week in an attempt to disrupt voting. The SPLM-N, which is banned by the Sudanese government, also seized ballot boxes in the conflict-torn southern state earlier this month in an effort to sabotage the general elections.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Togo: Electoral body receives first batch of ballot papers

The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), Issifou Taffa Tabiou has approved Sunday a first batch of 850,000 ballots. They will be used for the advance poll of the armed forces and will be in 214 offices and will be transported to remote Celi, including Kpendjal, Cinkassé, Oti, Tohoun, Tandjouaré and Dankpen '.

The ballot papers will be distributed to the 8994 country's polling stations across the nation in the coming days.

A J-5 of the presidential election, this phase marks the final stretch of the election process began several weeks ago, explained Tabiou.

Togo: ECOWAS chair meets presidential hopefuls

The President of ECOWAS, John Dramani Mahama, left Lomé in late afternoon after a short visit in Lome. A supervision mission of the electoral process to 5 days of the presidential election.

He met with five candidates, including incumbent President Faure Gnassingbe.

"My discussions with candidates in this follow-up meeting of the elections were friendly and fruitful. I have noted a willingness of everyone to have peaceful elections in Togo, 'he said.

If the electoral register no longer debate, some opposition candidates stressed their concern about the ballot, the transmission of results, the security of the election process and polling.

'All the issues have been discussed with the CENI. The answers are satisfactory. One problem is the lack of communication between the Election Commission and candidates' said the Ghanaian president. This should be resolved quickly.

Mr. Dramani Mahama wished to recall that INEC was the only institution empowered to declare the results; he invited all candidates and all political parties to avoid giving results, including trends.

After the vote, there will be only one winner, he insisted. And that winner is the Togolese Republic.

The President of ECOWAS hoped that the presidential election next Saturday takes place in such good conditions as in Nigeria.

'The whole community is watching to Togo and as has been the case in Nigeria, where the elections were peaceful without any problem, we hope to see the same thing here in Togo ", concluded John Dramani Mahama.


Togo: ECOWAS validates the electoral process

The President of ECOWAS, John Dramani Mahama, made on Monday a visit of several hours in Lome. The opportunity to speak to all candidates in the presidential election of April 25 its congratulations on the quality of the countryside and the climate of peace prevails.

He met with President Faure Gnassingbé, with all contenders in the Chair and representatives of the Electoral Commission (INEC).

This second visit of the head of state of Ghana in a few weeks demonstrates the support of ECOWAS in the electoral process initiated by the Togolese government. While every effort has been taken to ensure a credible and transparent elections, says the entourage of John Dramani Mahama.

In fact, everything happens consensually concerning the organization of the poll and the results collection device which will be overseen by the CENI.

The President of ECOWAS took the opportunity to ask all candidates to respect the outcome urns that will be announced by the Electoral Commission and by it alone. Any action, any dispute will be through him, he said.

Burundi: Over a million people marched for peace

Throughout the Burundi This Saturday, March 28, 2015, over a Million Burundians who mobilized throughout Burundi for the Peace March organized by the Burundian government to relax the atmosphere days of the early democratic elections in 2015 ...

In Cibitoke, the popular African President of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza SE [ ] had joined the people of Buganda Commune for a walk for Peace.

The President, HE Nkurunziza asked the CIBITOKE population to remain calm because the elections will be held in wonder and serenity. SE Nkurunziza commended the people of CIBITOKE which responds well during the assault late December 2014 rebels came from the DRC Congo. He asked them to continue this way.

Most impressive were the inhabitants of the Commune in Bugabira KIRUNDO Province, there are nearly 100,000 people who were raised in a sort of bush and chanting that they wanted "the President" ... Respect the will of the Burundian people!

In Bujumbura,   Mr. Saidi Juma, Mayor of the city, was the head of the procession of the march for Peace, which began at the roundabout of the United Nations to end the port of Bujumbura. A participant of the march, interviewed by Agnews, said: "  It is necessary that HE Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations and its lackeys, Mr. Perfect Onanga-Anyanga, the former head of the United Nations Office in Burundi BNUB hunting of Burundi for incompetence, cease! It is not the UN that helped Burundians to recover their country. This is not to say that the UN Burundians need to be directed by not respecting the rule of law Burundians ". The atmosphere was warm. A large crowd was spilled on the track section to the edge of Lake Tanganyika. Prosper BAZOMBANZA, Vice President of Burundi, assured in his speech, noting that security is across Burundi.

A MUYINGA , Victor BURIKUKIYE, Vice-President of the CNDD-FDD national, stated in his speech for the occasion during the March, the authorities had understood the message of Burundians ...
This national march for peace organized by the Ministry of Interior of Burundi, ended in joy and calm. There was no overflow. What we must remember is that the message was clear to those trying to fiddle against Burundi. Western anti-Pierre Nkurunziza, with their minions (servants) stashed in Burundi's capital Bujumbura, will have that to behave. All the deep Burundi despite calls an "anti-Burundians' Church, already knows who he wants to vote. In 1993, the same people (and their Western friends) said no to choice of Burundians of people by murdering the person Fire Melchior Ndadaye, National hero. Today, the People of Burundians wants revenge. He wants to show him and vote their choice and not the one we want to impose him ...

DAM, NY, Agnews, Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Nigeria: President denies expending over $10 billion To win poll

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has denied spending two trillion Nigerian naira (more than $10 billion) to win votes for his ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the recent general elections after a Nigerian newspaper accused the outgoing president of doling out the cash to PDP officials and close aides in an attempt to influence outcomes at the polls. Some officials allegedly used the cash to purchase expensive cars and other luxury items rather than distribute the funds to voters and groups.

Punch Nigeria newspapers said Jonathan had set up a committee to audit how his PDP campaign funds were used after a disappointing result in the general elections, despite giving campaign coordinators, party members, government officials, special advisers, support groups, close aides and friends two trillion Nigerian naira in cash. “The president is not happy. They all went on property and car shopping. This was the most expensive election in history of this country, yet there was no result,” a source close to Jonathan told Punch Nigeria newspapers Sunday. “The sad part was that even after the president lost on March 28, more money was given to all of them to make up for the dismal outing by winning their states during the April 11 elections. But that turned out to be a bad decision because apart from losing the governorship election, we didn’t perform well in the other elections.”

Jonathan also requested any unspent funds to be returned; however, there are no receipts to show that individuals within the PDP’s circle collected the money, Punch Nigeria newspapers reported. “They must give an account of the money since they didn’t use it for the election,” the source told the newspaper Sunday. “The president is not particular about the funds spent on genuine campaign needs like the hiring of jets, advertisements and the rest that also cost billions of naira. His focus is on the individuals that collected billions to deliver their states but couldn’t even win their polling booths.”

Jonathan’s spokesman, Reuban Abatai, released a statement after the story was published Sunday, saying the allegations were “mischievous, false and embarrassing,” the Premium Times said.

“The president has not set up any committee as alleged in that story. It also is not true that the presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party used state funds, or spent N2 trillion during the campaigns,” Abatai, said in the statement. “We are particularly worried that since the March 28 and April 11 elections, some persons have continued to work very hard to diminish the Jonathan presidency. They need to be reminded that the time for politics is over; it is now time to focus on the incoming government, with emphasis on national development and moving the country forward.”

Jonathan lost the March 28 presidential election to Muhammadu Buhari, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) opposition party. Jonathan’s PDP also lost majority rule in both chambers of parliament as well as more governorship and legislative positions to APC candidates in the April 11 gubernatorial elections. The outcome of the general elections concludes the PDP's 16 years of majority rule in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s GDP in 2013 was 80.2 trillion naira, or $510 billion. More than 70 percent of Nigeria's federal budget is currently spent on the salaries and benefits of a million public officials.


Sudan: Independent candidates win big in elections

Independent candidates have won several constituencies in Sudan’s general elections which produced sweeping victory for the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).

In the Abu Hamd constituency in the River Nile state, independent nominee, Mubarak Abas, has defeated former MP and NCP candidate, Mohamed al-Barajoub.

Journalist Mohamed Abdel-Basit told Sudan Tribune that Abas won votes of his Rubatab tribe besides votes of his opponent’s tribe, Manaseer, saying the former MP did not support issues of resettlement of his people who were affected by the construction of the Merowe dam.

NCP chairman in the River Nile state, al-Hadi Abdallah, told the pro-government Sudan Media Centre (SMC) they formed a committee headed by the NCP deputy chairman to engage in dialogue with the wining independent candidates in the state.

Preliminary tallies also showed that Independent candidate, Mubarak al-Nour, has won a surprise victory in the national constituency in the locality of Al-Fashaga in Gedaref state in eastern Sudan following fierce competition against the NCP candidate.

Ashorooq TV correspondent in Gedaref said that al-Nour’s victory constitutes a major shift in the historical record, pointing the result will have positive impact in wining prospects of independent candidates in the future.

Also, the independent nominee, Abu al-Gasim Bartam, has defeated the NCP candidate, Bilal Osman, in the constituency of Dongola in the Northern state.

Baratam addressed large crowed of his supporters in Dogola following news of his victory on Saturday, pledging to represent all people of the constituency.

Chief Editor of the Al-Wifaq newspaper, Rihab Taha, saw the victory of Baratam as a proof of the true competition and integrity of elections, saying Dongola was historically a stronghold for the Sudanese Islamists.

NCP also lost three constituencies for the independent candidates in South Darfur state.

The head of the higher elections committee in South Darfur state, Suleiman Abdel-Rahim, said that 336,000 out of the 1000,000 registered voters have casted their votes, saying they are haven’t yet received results from eight polling centres due to poor communication.

According to the results, NCP lost two constituencies in the locality of Kateela including the geographical constituency number six which was won by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the national constituency number 10 which was won by the a splinter faction of the National Umma Party (NUP).

The candidate of the Federal Umma Party (FUP) Omer Suleiman Adam has won the elections in South Darfur capital, Nyala following fierce competition against nominees from the Sudan Liberation Party (SLP) and the National Liberation and Justice Party (NLJP).

Osama Atta al-Manan, nominee of the DUP led by Mohamed Osman al-Merghani has won central Nyala constituency.

Independent candidate Hamid Sharif won the national constituency in the locality of Kass while Ismail Abdallah the emir (leader) of the Islamic movement (IM) in the state won the east Nyala constituency.

Mohamed al-Tahir Aseel, an independent nominee has won the national constituency number seven in the locality of Ed el-Firsan following fierce competition against candidates from the DUP and United Umma Party (UMP).

The independent nominee Harazim Ahmed al-Mahboub has won the national constituency in the locality of Tulus while the candidate of the NLJP, Fathi Mohamed Issa won the geographical constituency.

Mohamed Adam Bahshain, the candidate from the DUP won the geographical constituency of Surgaila while the NCP candidate and former finance minister Ali Mahmoud won the national constituency in the locality of Rihaid Al-Birdi by acclamation.

On the other hand, the National Umma Party/Collective Leadership (NUP-CL) nominee Ahmed Barsham Mohamed won the geographical constituency in Rihaid Al-Birdi.

The semi-official SMC reported that an independent candidate has won the national constituency in Abu Kershola in South Kordofan.

Independent candidate, Ali Youssef Dafa’allah, has won the geographical constituency number 21 in Singa in Sennar state while another independent nominee; Salah Ahmed al-Nour won the national constituency.

Also, the independent nominee Al-Tayeb Ahmed Ali has won the geographical constituency in Hantoub in the Gazira state.


However, unofficial preliminary results showed that incumbent president and NCP candidate Omer Hassan al-Bahir has won sweeping victory in the various states.

According to the Andadulu Agency tallies of elections, based on 25 polling stations across the country, indicate a landslide victory for Bashir, with some stations recording a 90% win for the incumbent ruler.

“In capital Khartoum, Bashir scored significantly higher than his competitors for the country’s highest office, according to unofficial results collected from ten polling stations in the capital,” the Turkish agency said.

Parliamentary candidates from the ruling NCP) also scored much higher than their competitors in Khartoum.

In South Darfur, unofficial tallies from five polling stations indicate a victory of over 90% Bashir in the presidential poll.

Bashir also scored over 90% of the vote in the Gezira state, according to figures from 10 polling stations.

The incumbent president and candidate of the ruling party ran against some dozen of unknown independent candidates, as the opposition parties boycott the presidential and parliamentary elections.

Meanwhile, the Arab League (AL) monitoring mission said Sunday that Sudan’s general elections were carried out “transparently and in accordance with international standards”.

The head of AL mission, Alaa al-Zuhairi, said at a press conference in Khartoum the mission has deployed 40 observers that travelled to all Sudanese states during the elections, adding that observers visited 1,000 polling stations and monitored the count in 31 stations.

Al-Zuhairi said although the mission registered some errors in the distribution of some voter lists at polling stations, no security violations were registered during the election due to the heavy deployment of security forces across Sudan.

He described Sudan’s elections as “important and positive move within the framework of enhancing the democratic path in the country”, stressing AL’s keenness to support Sudan to achieve peace and economic development.

The AL official also pointed to the need for continuing the comprehensive national dialogue at a later stage following elections, saying the dialogue must include all political forces and should discuss all Sudanese issues without exception.

Sudan’s election was initially scheduled to end on Wednesday, but the National Elections Commission (NEC) extended the vote for an extra day due to low turnout.

The elections were dogged by logistic, administrative and security difficulties, according to the electoral body.

NEC began tallying votes on Friday, with electoral observers estimating that only a third of Sudan’s 13.6 million registered voters went to the polls.
Voters also elected 425 members of parliament and 2,235 members of state legislative councils.

The final results of the elections will be officially announced on 27 April.

Sudan Tribune