Monday, August 31, 2015

Ghana: Journalists to pay $2 (GHc8) to cover Assembly Elections

Journalists covering the September 1st District Assembly Elections will have to pay an amount of GHc8 ($2) before getting accreditation to cover the exercise.

According to some journalists in the Ashanti and Western regions, the Electoral Commission (EC) in the area has asked them to pay the amount or forfeit the coverage of the elections. Citi News’ Ashanti regional correspondent, Hawa Iddrisu who confirmed on Eye Witness News said most of the journalists have agreed to pay the amount to get the chance to cover the elections.

“Indeed, journalists in the Ashanti and Western regions have been asked to pay 8 Ghana cedis and they are willing to pay because without the accreditation they will not be allowed in the inner parameters of the election grounds.”

According to her, the Ashanti regional director of the EC Mr Paul Boateng said the commission can no longer bear the cost for the production of the accreditation, hence the charge.

Journalists who have agreed to pay the amount will be given their accreditation latest by Monday. Meanwhile, aspirants in the Ashanti region are campaigning vigorous towards the elections on Tuesday.

– By: Farida Shaibu/

Ghana: Electoral body defends decision to charge media accreditation for Assembly election

The Electoral Commission (EC) has defended its decision to charge journalists and other observers who want to cover the upcoming district level election an amount of Gh¢8 for accreditation cards. Some journalists in the Ashanti and Western regions have lamented that the EC  has asked them to pay the amount or forfeit the coverage of the elections.

This has angered many with some ournalists in the country questioning the rationale behind the payments.

However, holding on to its position, the Director of Public Affairs at the EC, Christian Owusu Parry in an interview with Citi News said such payments are not new since it’s a normal thing done by the commission.

He explained that “we do not have a budget line for preparing accreditation cards for media personnel and election observers and that is why if any media house or any group of observers want to go and observe the process, they have to pay some fees for accreditation cards.”

Parry stressed that reporters without accreditation cards “will not be allowed to cover the elections.”

On the election scheduled for Tuesday, September 1, Christian Owusu Parry said they have begun conveying the materials to the various polling stations.

“The Commission is ready for the elections. As we speak all the materials for the elections are already in the district. Training session has come to a close. We will begin putting the ballot papers and other election materials in the ballot boxes and then in the early hours of Tuesday we will send the materials to the various polling stations,” he added.

– By: Godwin A. Allotey/

Ghana: We’re ready for Assembly elections – Electoral body

The Electoral Commission has begun securing electoral materials for all polling stations across the country ahead of Tuesday’s District Assembly elections. The election was initially scheduled for March but a Supreme Court ruling forced it’s postponement to September 1.

Speaking to Citi News, the Director of Public Affairs at the EC, Christian Owusu Parry said, all necessary arrangement has been put in place for the election. “The Commission is ready for the elections. As we speak now all the materials for the elections are ready in the district. Training session has come to a close. We will begin putting the ballot papers and other election materials in the ballot boxes and then in the early hours of Tuesday we will send the materials to the various polling stations.

In another development, journalists who will be covering the election have expressed surprise at the EC’s decision  to charge them GHc8 for accreditation to cover the election.

Some journalists in the Ashanti and Western regions, say the EC  in the area has asked them to pay the amount or forfeit the coverage of the elections.

Speaking to Citi News, Christian Owusu Parry defended the EC’s decision, saying “We do not have a budget line for preparing accreditation cards for media personnel and election observers and that is why if any media house or any group of observers want to go and observe the process, they have to pay some fees for accreditation cards.”

Parry stressed that reporters without accreditation cards “will not be allowed to cover the elections.”

– By: Marian Efe Ansah/

Egypt: Parliamentary elections slated for October and November

These will be the first elections since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was elected to office

Egypt will hold its long-awaited parliamentary elections in two stages in October and November, the country’s electoral committee announced on Sunday.

Ayman Abbas, head of Egypt’s Supreme Election Committee, said 14 administrative regions will vote on Oct. 17 and 18, while the 13 remaining regions, including Cairo, will vote on Nov. 21 and 22, the BBC reports. The first phase of the elections had previously been scheduled for March, but was delayed after a court ruled part of the election law was unconstitutional.

The elections will be the first since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was elected to office last May after overthrowing Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in a 2013 coup d’état.


Ghana District Assembly level elections in figures

Barring any drawbacks, Ghanaians will go to the polls on September 1, 2015 to elect assembly and unit committee members for the all metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) in the country. In this light, your authoritative African Elections Project (AEP) brings you interesting figures (about this important local level election.

Polling is expected to start at 7: 00 am to 500 pm local time.

Below are the figures about the September 1, 2015 elections:

18,938 candidates (17,783 men and 1,182 women) will contest the September 1, 2015 district level polls.

6,135 electoral areas will be involved.

5 unit committee members will be elected in each electoral area.

1 assembly member to be elected.

30,000 polling stations will used for the elections. This is an increment from 26,002 by the Electoral Commission (EC).

40,000 security personnel from the various security agencies have been deployed across the country to for the district level elections. Out of the 40, 000, 2,085 are from headquarters of the security agencies in Accra, 649 from the prisons services while the remaining were drawn from Customs Service, Immigration Service, Fire Service, Police Service as well as the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority.

196 unit committee candidates and 29 assembly candidates had been disqualified from contesting in the election. These are mainly those who portrayed partisanship by using party emblem, students, and persons above 70 years.

216 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) will be involved

6 times Ghana will be organizing District Assembly Elections since the Local Government Act 462 was passed in 1993.

4 years: Section 5(3) of the Local Government Act 1993 (Act 462) stipulates “Elections to a district assembly shall be held once every 3 years”

16.20% in 2002 is the lowest voter turnout while 44.30% in 1988 is the highest in voter turnout in the District Assembly Elections

Source: AEP

Ghana: Let’s ensure successful district level elections

Barring any hitches, Ghanaians will go to the polls on Tuesday, September 1, 2015, to elect assembly members for the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) across the country.

Except in the Dichemso Electoral Area in the Ashanti Region, where a Kumasi High Court has placed an injunction on the elections, the district level elections (DLEs) will come off throughout the country and will also be used to elect members of the unit committees in those electoral areas.

To ensure a successful and peaceful process, the Daily Graphic would like to entreat all Ghanaian voters to show commitment to the process by going out to vote for their preferred assembly members and Unit Committee members.

As agents of development at the district and unit levels, the district assembly concept must be supported by all of us getting involved in the selection of our representatives at the local level to develop our communities.

Regrettably, voter turnout in DLEs has been consistently low over the years. Factors that account for this low turnout are numerous, including inadequate voter education by the Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), voter fatigue, fear of intimidation and disenchantment of voters resulting from the postponement of the elections from March 3, 2015 till now.

Others are religious reasons, long queues at polling stations, complacency and the perception that one’s candidate will or will not win.

The EC and the NCCE must endeavour to strategise to increase voter turnout in the DLEs.

The DLEs being a non-partisan national exercises, they should engage the EC and NCCE to immediately intensify voter education, improve access to polling stations to increase voter turnout and strengthen security at the various polling stations.

While the two bodies are working to create an enabling environment for the electorate to exercise their franchise in a free and fair atmosphere to ensure a high turnout, the Daily Graphic would like to encourage all voters to ensure violence-free elections.

To ensure that voters must behave responsibly, be one another’s keeper and avoid being incited by politicians who will lead them astray and into trouble.

Voters must avoid causing chaos and mayhem that will jeopardise the peace being enjoyed in the country.

The public is enjoined to cooperate with the security agencies to observe all electoral regulations, while the police must be more vigilant to avert any disturbance.

It is gratifying that the Ghana Police Service and other security agencies are ready to provide security for the elections.

In line with that, the timely deployment of combined teams of personnel from the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Prison Service, the Ghana National Fire Service and the Ghana Immigration Service to various polling stations and locations to maintain law and order for the protection and conduct of the election is vital.

Ghana: Apathy in District Level Elections: Accra is worse

Turnout at the forthcoming district level elections slated for Tuesday, September 1, 2015, is not expected to improve much given the poor attention the all-important exercise receives from the nation.

When participation of the electorate in the nationwide exercise comes up for scrutiny, the Greater Accra Region in particular records the worst performance among the 10 regions.

Data from the Electoral Commission (EC), since the four-yearly ritual of electing assembly members to lead Ghana’s development and good governance systems at the grassroots level started in 1988, shows that voter turnout in Accra has consistently trailed the rest of the other regions.

From a regional high of 44.3 per cent of registered voters in 1988, the electorates in Accra appear to have written off the system, returning an average 23 per cent. In 2002, turnout was a lowly 16.5 per cent.

Flip the coin, and you land in the Upper East Region, Ghana’s best performer as far as voter turnout at the basic and “most important elections” are concerned. The region has vacillated between 62 per cent and 34.6 per cent of registered voters.

National Trend

Between the Greater Accra and Upper East regions, the national picture of an average 40 per cent turnout is nothing to write home about. Behind the Upper East (53 per cent) is the Northern Region at 49.3 per cent and Upper West at 48 per cent.

The Brong Ahafo Region comes in at 43.3 per cent, Eastern at 42.3 per cent, then the Volta Region at 42.1 per cent, Western at 40.5 per cent, Central at 40.1 per cent and Ashanti at 38 per cent.

Most Important Elections?

Dr Amadu Sulley, Deputy Chairman (Operations) at the Electoral Commission, rates the district level elections as the one election every Ghanaian should play an active role in because it is at the base of development. “We should focus more on it than the national, partisan elections,” he told Daily Graphic in an interview.

And his call is strongly supported by Dr Eric Oduro Osae, Lawyer and Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), Accra. “It is the most important election in the life of a Ghanaian and we should start to prioritise it,” he stated in an interview .

It will seem the two are merely re-stating the national aspiration and estimation of what roles the local governance system should play as per the national constitution, but the reality so far does not support the dream else the Upper East Region, or at least northern Ghana, should be leading in many areas of growth and development measurements.

The irony is that the best performing regions are among the country’s poorest in development and if the local assembly system was designed to assist development, the converse rather has been achieved.
The situation of the best performing regions being the least developed badly exposes the functions imposed on local governance institutions (Regional Coordinating Councils; District, Municipal and Metropolitan assemblies; Urban/Town/Area/Zonal councils and Unit committees) in Act 462.

Coat of many colours

The problems contributing to the growing apathy towards the local level elections are commonplace. Local level elections organised from a centralised command is a no, no. “It does not work like that. We have to decentralise the system so that local election activities will be planned, funded and executed at the basic level,” says Dr Osae.

We have to make the exercise a priority, and prioritising the elections also means adequate funds should be committed to run the system. The EC and National Commission for Civic Education should be resourced enough to mount platforms in all electoral areas, not in selected areas so their education campaigns could reach many more people. Funding the processes should be by the country and not donor agencies who now contribute the most part. It is not sustainable and also throws our credibility as a respected democracy into question.

According to Dr Osae, the Ghanaian’s penchant to copy anything blindly is also to blame, for with a sizeable number of Ghanaians still illiterate, it beats the imagination why election materials are all printed in English when local languages would serve us better.

Again, he said, it would seem the local level elections were for ‘rural’ communities.
“It seems so because in the rural communities, the people live and farm there, they know the assemblyman who attends funerals with them and are always in touch. In the metropolis, everyone is busy attending to their work and so many do not even know and don’t care about the name of the assemblyman. What is worse, many other actors engender development so people really don’t see the relevance of the assembly member and so are not motivated.”

Dr Osae also thinks declaring the day(s) for local elections a holiday will give the exercise the needed attention and afford people who may have travelled out of the locality the chance to return to vote.
And where are the media in all this? “They are usually aloof, coming in once a while to highlight challenges, otherwise they are not interested much”, suggests Amadu Sulley. “They prefer to hype the national elections,” he adds.

Functions of Assemblies

Per the Local Government Act 1993 (Act 462), the assemblies are to spearhead the overall development of districts, including the provision of basic infrastructure, in collaboration with relevant state institutions such as the Finance Ministry and the National Development Planning Commission.
They, thus, must formulate and execute plans, programmes and strategies to mobilise the required resources such as levying and collecting taxes, rates, duties and fees, and support productive activity and social development in the district and remove any obstacles to initiative and development.
From these duties imposed by the law, the assembly member’s duties could be any or all of being a liaison officer, motivator, mobiliser, messenger, servant, consultant, reporter, convener, whistle-blower, listener, an organiser, an observer or an initiator.

A veteran’s counsel

The apathy stems from many fronts, says 56-year-old three-time assembly member Nii Amarh Ashitey, aka Oshiapem, of the La Dadekotopon Municipal Assembly (Until 2012 a part of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly).

Oshiapem is gunning for a fourth straight term as assembly member and is contesting four others at the Adobetor Electoral Area. He has seen many contestants come and go and thinks many are misled into the race with ambitions of how much wealth can come to them.

“Assembly work is a call to serve and those who offer themselves should be committed to dedicating their energies and resources to the locality.

Sadly, many enter the race with the mindset of making money and when they discover the truth, they are disillusioned. They don’t suffer the disillusionment alone, their families, friends and sponsors also get disappointed and they spread the apathy,” he says.

Some are also lured to offer themselves by the opportunity to wear the title “honourable”, but when they realise it is an empty title, they abandon their responsibilities, this leaving the electorate unfulfilled, as they don’t even see them any longer.

“Anyone who offers himself or herself should have the interest to help the people and locality overcome the development challenges. It is not about wealth creation for the individual. To think that it is the same people who vote at the national elections to elect presidents and MPs who also vote at the local elections, one should expect the same numbers.

But you know the truth. The interest is simply not there and we end up spending a lot of money to motivate, educate and entice people to vote.”

- Source://

Ghana: 40,000 security personnel to provide security in tomorrow's District-Level Elections

Tomorrow, Ghanaians will go to the polls to elect assembly members for the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) across the country.

The polls, being contested by a total of 18,938 candidates, comprising 17,783 men and 1,182 women, will also be used to elect members of the unit committees. in 6,135 electoral areas.

Each electoral area is electing five unit committee members.

Except in the Dichemso Electoral Area in the Ashanti Region, where a Kumasi High Court has placed an injunction on the elections, the nationwide exercise will come off throughout the country barring any hitches.

According to the EC, notices of poll, ballot papers and registers have been sent to the various regions and all polling centres.

It said 196 unit committee candidates and 29 assembly candidates, comprising students, persons above 70 years and those who used party emblems, had been disqualified from contesting in the election .

The EC also increased polling stations for the elections from 26,002 to 30,000. This was to ensure that no polling station has more than 850 people on the register to ensure that voting, as well as counting of ballots at polling stations, was done quickly.

Police deployment

Meanwhile, a total of 40,000 security personnel drawn from the various security agencies were yesterday deployed nationwide to oversee the district level elections slated for tomorrow.

Out of that number, 2,085 officers were drawn from the various headquarters of the security agencies in Accra and deployed to six regions to complement personnel already stationed there.

Customs and Immigration officers have been deployed to the Eastern and Volta regions respectively.

Two separate batches of prisons officers — 449 and 200 — have been moved to the Ashanti and Central regions respectively.

Batches of the police, made up of the CID, Service Workshop, Central Band and Training Schools have also been sent to the Northern and Brong Ahafo regions.

The Fire Service will be supporting officers in the Greater Accra Region.

Three regions have adequate personnel

No additional personnel were deployed in the Upper West, Upper East and Western regions. That is because, the police say there are enough officers in those regions to oversee the elections.

Officers for the Greater Accra Region will be deployed tomorrow because they did not have to travel like their colleagues who left yesterday.

The Public Affairs Director of the Ghana Police Service, Superintendent Cephas Arthur, told the Daily Graphic that the police did not foresee any disturbances, adding “But as usual, prevention is better than cure”.

The Accra-based officers from the Ghana Police Service, Prisons Service, Immigration Service and Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority were yesterday morning briefed by the Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, COP John Kudalor, prior to their deployment.

He tasked the officers to exhibit professionalism, uphold peace and ensure security in the various districts they had been deployed in.

Maintain law and order

COP Kudalor charged them to maintain law and order and also create an enabling environment for the smooth and successful conduct of the polls.

He also urged them to be punctual and to be civil with the public, adding that their prime occupation was to protect electoral officers, electoral materials, the electorate and the general public.

DCOP Kudalor urged them not to be distracted from what they were supposed to do and that they were there to take instructions from the various electoral officers at whose instances they had been deployed.

He also said patrol teams would be moving around the various electoral areas and they would not hesitate to pick up anyone or group of persons who might foment trouble.


Originally scheduled for March 2015, the district-level elections were postponed after the Supreme Court had directed the EC to do so.

That was after Benjamin Ayi Mensah, an aspiring assembly member, had dragged the EC to court.

According to the aspirant, he was denied the opportunity to file his nomination despite meeting all conditions stipulated by the EC.

This time round, another hitch to the elections was from the Dichemso Electoral Area in the Ashanti Region, where a Kumasi High Court has placed an injunction on the elections.

Low turnout

Voter turnout in district-level elections has been persistently low over the years. And factors that would account for a low turnout this year would include inadequate voter education by the Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), voter fatigue, fear of intimidation and disenchantment of voters resulting from the postponement of the elections from March 3, 2015 till now.

Others are religious reasons, long queues at polling stations, complacency and the perception that one’s candidate will or will not win.

- online

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ghana: Court places injunction on District Assembly elections

The district level elections scheduled to come off next Tuesday have suffered another setback.
A Kumasi High Court has granted what it calls, limited injunction following an application by a disqualified aspirant.

The elections in Dichemso will not come off, at least for seven days whilst the court looks into the matter.

Kwabena Senkyire who is seeking re-election as an assembly member for the Dichemso electoral area in the Ashanti Region was disqualified following a petition claiming that he is affiliated to the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The aspirant said he was cheated because no one called him to hear his side of the story; all he got was a disqualification letter.

Counsel for the plaintiff, Adom Appiah, described the suit as a breach of the rules of natural justice and is happy that the court has heard their plea.

Kwabena Senkyire is not the only one who has problems with the EC.
Dominic Nsiah Asare, is also threatening to go to court.

He argues that the overwhelming evidence presented by the NPP’s Vice Presidential Candidate in the 2016 election, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is a clear indication that the voters' register is bloated and cannot be used for the District level elections.

In a response to this, Principal Public Relations Officer for the Commission, Sylvia Annor said the EC is working on the claims made by the NPP.

It is for this reason that it asked all political parties to present their concerns about the register by September 22, 2015 in order for an appropriate solution to be found to the issues raised, she added.
She, however, says the EC will abide by the Kumasi High Court’s ruling.

The Supreme Court had earlier directed the EC to postpone the local level elections originally scheduled for March 2015, after it was dragged to court by Benjamin Ayi Mensah.
The aspiring assemblyman said he was denied the opportunity to file his nomination despite meeting all conditions stipulated by the EC.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Burkina Faso: Meet the 22 presidential candidate hopefuls for the Oct polls

The filing of nominations for the presidential election on October 11 ended Friday at midnight. The final list will be published on August 29.

We must now wait for August 29 to hear the final and official list of candidates for the presidential election on October 11. Friday, August 21 at midnight (the date of the closing of the deposit), 22 people had filed their applications before the Constitutional Council.

Each candidate was able to pay the bail of 25 million CFA francs.

Who are the contenders for the presidency? Portraits of main candidates among the 22 who filed their case.

Zéphirin Diabré

Former leader of the opposition, Zéphirin Diabré (55) is the candidate of the Union for Progress and Change (UPC), the party of which he is the leader and he created in March 2010. Formed at the High School of Commerce of Bordeaux (France), it is propelled to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Mines from 1992 to 1994, then to the Economy and Finance until 1996. It will then briefly President of the Economic and Social Council in 1996-1997, before becoming the director for Africa and Middle East of Areva (2006-2011) and Deputy Director General of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York from 1999 to 2006. We have long known that he wants to succeed Blaise Compaore.

Eddi Komboïgo

Ahmed Ouoba / AFP
Eddi Komboïgo is the new president of the Congress for Democracy (CDP) party Compaore. Businessman deemed to Burkina Faso, Eddie Komboïgo is the head of the financial audit and accounting Komboïgo and Associates (CAFEC-Ka). This is a close friend of Diendéré Gilbert, former Chief of Staff and especially right arm Blaise Compaore. They are both from Yako, capital Passoré and Diendéré including being godfather of marriage new boss of the CDP. This proximity has probably earned Eddie Komboïgo the ransacking of his home in Ouagadougou during the popular uprising of October 2014.

Roch Marc Christian Kaboré

Ahmed Ouoba / AFP
Roch is regarded Kaboré with Zéphirin Diabré, as one of the favorites of the next presidential Burkinabe. Former Prime Minister and President of the National Assembly, this former most loyal Compaore had stormed out of the scheme in January 2014 with two other relatives of the former president: Salif Diallo and Simon Compaoré. Opposed to the will of the head of state to change the constitution to remain in power, the three men had then founded the People's Movement for Progress (MPP) and joined the opposition.

Ram Ouedraogo

Born in 1951 in Ivory Coast, Ram Ouédraogo returned to the country in 1984, thanks to the revolution that will rename Upper Volta in Burkina Faso. Founding father of the first Green party Burkinabe Burkina greens of the Union (UVDB), he was, in 1999, Minister of State and Member of Parliament in 2002, before creating a new party, the Rally of Ecologists of Burkina (RDEB) in 2005. He has twice been a candidate in a presidential election. In 1998, he arrived second behind Blaise Compaoré with 6.61% of votes. It gets only 2.04% of the vote in the 2005 election.

Ablassé Ouédraogo

Ahmed Ouoba / AFP
The party chairman Faso otherwise Ablassé Ouédraogo has, like other opponents evolved in the shadow of the Compaoré regime. Former member of the Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP), he was successively Minister of Foreign Affairs (1994-1999) and Special Advisor Blaise Compaore. Economist recognized, it then goes through several international institutions, including as Deputy Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) before playing the mediators of the African Union in various crises, such as Madagascar, and being elected in 2012.

Gilbert Noël Ouédraogo

Former leader of the opposition, but also transport minister after supporting the head of state in 2005, the son of former Prime Minister Gérard Kango Ouedraogo, Gilbert Noel, 46, is deputy mayor of Ouahigouya and leader of the Alliance for Democracy and Federation / African Democratic Rally (ADF / RDA). Third political force, it was part of the former presidential party but strongly opposed the referendum on the amendment of Article 37.

Yacouba Ouédraogo

Last Minister of Sport and Recreation Blaise Compaore, Colonel Yacouba Ouédraogo has created his own political party, the Union for Burkina again (UBN), the name of the association he headed since 2011. UBN has covenanted with the Convention of Democratic Forces of Burkina former Minister for Literacy, Amadou Dicko Diemdioda.

Adama Kanazoé

Member of the Youth Alliance for independence and the republic (AJIR) Kanazoé Adama is a young politician who is in his thirties. Economic operator, he is a director of the Holding Company Business and Development in Africa (HBDA), a group that develops activities in logistics, communication and distribution of telecom products.

Saran Sérémé

Issouf Sanogo / AFP
Opponent of Compaoré regime Sérémé Saran is the president of the Party for Development and Change (PDC). Nicknamed "the Amazon of Tugan" - the name of his fief in the north of the country - she became the face of the revolt of October 2014. A few days before the big event which led to the fall of Blaise Compaoré, Saran Sérémé organized a big march of women against the proposed constitutional amendment. Defector from the Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP), the former ruling party of Compaoré, she slammed the door in 2012 after his training was denied sponsorship legislative. After the departure of Compaore, his name had briefly been mentioned to head the transition.

Djibril Bassolé

Vincent Fournier for JA
Djibril Bassolé is a part of the CDP, the former ruling party. Gourounsi 57, a native of the province of Kossi (Northwest), he was special representative of President Compaoré in the Togolese crisis, in 1994 and Niger in 1995. Deputy Minister then security minister between 1999 and 2007, it then accesses the Strategic Foreign Ministry from 2007 to 2008 and then 2011 until October 2014, with the fall of Blaise Compaore.

Jean-Baptiste Natama

Former cabinet director of the President of the Commission of the African Union, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Jean-Baptiste Natama is the candidate of the Patriotic Convergence for Renaissance / Progressive Movement (CPR / MP), movement of which he is president . Military (he participated in the "Christmas war" between Mali and Burkina Faso in 1985), he then held various positions in international organizations. It was among other senior adviser to the representative of the World Food Programme of the United Nations in Burundi and Rwanda (1999-2000), expert analyst at International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in 2001. His name was also circulated to take the head of the transition.

Sankara Bénéwendé

© Vincent Fournier / Jeune Afrique
© Vincent Fournier / Jeune Afrique

56 years old, Bénéwendé Sankara, who has no family relationship with Captain Thomas Sankara, will be the candidate of a coalition of nine political parties said sankaristes. Twice an unsuccessful candidate in the 2005 presidential and 2010 deal with Blaise Compaoré, Ms. Sankara has long been described as "lawyer of lost causes" in Burkina. Defender of striking students pursued by the old regime, it is illustrated in the case of Norbert Zongo, a journalist murdered in 1998 while investigating the disappearance of driver of François Compaoré, the younger brother of President Compaoré. He is also the lead counsel in the iconic Thomas Sankara case, reopened in late March after two decades of political and legal battles unheeded under the old regime.

Françoise Toé

Invested late June candidate of the Party for Democracy and Progress / Socialist Party (PDP / PS), Françoise Toé is little known to the general public. Expert accountant by training, she heads the firm Seccapi. She previously held the position of National Secretary for External Relations of the PDP / PS it represented in France.

Barry Tahirou

Chairman of the National Renaissance Party (PAREN, an opposition party founded by Laurent Bado) Tahirou Barry is a lawyer of 39 years. Born in Gagnoa in Ivory Coast, he rose through the ranks of his party from 1999 before taking the head in 2002. After some journalistic experience, Tahirou Barry works at the University of Ouagadougou (where studied) as director of human resources.

Victorian Tougouma

Little known Burkinabe Victorian Tougouma represent the African Movement of peoples (MAP). Entrepreneur in the logistics transport 42, he also chaired the Junior Chamber International of Burkina (JCI).

Issaka Zampaligré

Independent candidate, is a lawyer Issaka Zampaligré the Bars of Hauts-de-Seine (Paris region) and Burkina Faso. 50 years old, he was born in Tenkodogo, capital of the Central East region.

Harouna Dicko

Opposing the Compaoré regime Harouna Dicko is the president of the new Political Rally (RPN). In 2010, his candidacy was the only one (of the eight registered) has be dismissed he had "not paid bail of 10 million CFA francs (about 15 000), and filed sponsorship certificates "required by the Electoral Code.

Salvador Maurice Yaméogo

Maurice Yameogo Salvador, a son of the first president of Upper Volta, who took the name of Burkina Faso under Sankara era, is one of the last to have filed its case to the Constitutional Council. He is head of the Rally of Democrats for Faso (RDF).


Burundi: President retains key ministers in new government

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza Monday announced a new government following his re-election to a controversial third term. Observers note several key ministers from the ruling CNDD-FDD party have been retained.

They include Foreign Minister Alain Nyamitwe, who told VOA recently Nkurunziza is ready to form a more inclusive unity government.

Innocent Muhozi, general manager of the banned independent Renaissance Radio and Television Network of Burundi, said the return of Alain Guillaume Bunyoni as Public Security minister suggests Nkurunziza wants to continue the crackdown on his critics.

“This new government, for me, is not a surprise because it includes the main figures of the former government, including the foreign affairs minister, the defense minister, and the finance minister. Then, there’s also the comeback of the former security minister, Alain Guillaume Bunyoni, who in the Hutu days was seen as one of the main figures of the ruling party and the government.  So, it seems that it is a government of non-inclusion, but may be willing to fight against those they will have to confront,” he said.

The new government includes Emmanuel Ntahomvukiye as Defense Minister, Madame Aimee Laurentine Kanyana as Justice Minister, Tabu Abdallah Manirakiza as Finance Minister and Pascal Barandagiye as Interior Minister.

At his inauguration earlier this month, Nkurunziza promised a more inclusive government of national unity. He also said he would welcome a review of Article 129 of the constitution, which excludes parties with less than five percent of the vote from being part of a national unity government.

Muhozi said there is nothing inclusive about the new government.  Instead, he said, the new government has become more repressive.

“I don’t see anything inclusive in this new government.  As has been said by many observers, if you look at what is going on every day, people are arrested, people are tortured, people are disappearing and many people believe the police or the intelligence agency are responsible for those things.  It is quite clear that what is going on is just a continuation of what has been going on,” Muhozi said.

Muhozi said it would be impossible to have a government of national unity at the moment in Burundi.


Uganda: 89 percent Ugandans okays electoral reforms - Poll

By Eriasa Mukiibi Sserunjogi
Kampala — A poll conducted by Afrobarometer, a reputable Africa-wide firm, shows that 89 per cent of Ugandans would like to see change in at least one aspect of the electoral system ahead of next year's election.

The poll results come with just a month left to nominations for next year's elections. Opposition politicians and civil society groups have complained that government has disregarded meaningful reforms.

The poll results were released last Friday. The poll was conducted between May 8 and May 26, but the results will be released in four phases, this being the first.

Dr Frederick Golooba-Mutebi, the Afrobarometer lead investigator for the poll, said another batch of results will be released today with the remaining two expected in September and October.

The theme of the first batch of the poll results, Dr Golooba-Mutebi said "was an indirect response to supporters of NRM that it is the 'disgruntled' Opposition members who were demanding for electoral reforms."

Mr Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister for the Presidency, doubted the accuracy of the results, saying Ugandans have confidence in the electoral system as demonstrated in their aspiration to vote next year.

"If you see the enthusiasm Ugandans show while registering, updating and reviewing their registration particulars and finally the voter turn out, you will without a doubt know the confidence Ugandans have in the electoral process," Mr Tumwebaze told Daily Monitor yesterday.

Poll findings

- 57 per cent of those interviewed said the President should stop appointing members of the Electoral Commission.

- 86 per cent wanted candidates convicted of vote-buying barred from running in any elections for at least five years.

- Eight out of 10 respondents wanted election results to be declared at the constituency level.

- 55 per cent said presidential candidates should be required to name their running mates before the elections.

- 89 per cent of the respondents had at least one issue which they wanted changed regarding the conduct of elections.

- 49 per cent of those interviewed said voters were bribed during elections.

- 27 per cent said voters were threatened with violence at the polls.

- 20 per cent said the Opposition were effectively prevented from challenging for power.

- 48 per cent said the votes are not always counted fairly.

- 45 per cent said elections do not enable voters to remove non-performing leaders from office.

These being partial results, some of the questions which were put to the respondents were not released, and neither was the data set.

Support for elections high

- 87 per cent view elections as the best way to choose leaders. Based on this, the pollster concluded that there is "a gap between popular demand for and actual supply of high-quality elections," which the firm said "may help explain majority support for a number of proposed electoral reforms."


South Sudan: President expected to sign peace deal

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has agreed to sign a peace deal aimed at ending his country's 20-month-old civil war.

In a letter obtained by VOA's South Sudan In Focus program, the East African bloc IGAD says the agreement will be signed Wednesday in Juba, South Sudan's capital.

IGAD has been mediating talks to end the war between Kiir's government and rebels led by his former deputy, Riek Machar.

Machar signed the agreement in Addis Ababa on August 17, but Kiir refused, saying that peace under the deal could not be sustained.

The United States has threatened sanctions against leaders on both sides of the conflict unless they make progress toward ending the war.

The conflict has displaced an estimated 2.2 million South Sudanese from their homes.

The French news agency, AFP, quoted Kiir spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny as saying the government still has reservations about the deal, even if Kiir signs it.

The Kiir government objects to power-sharing provisions, calls to demilitarize Juba, and seeing foreigners in charge of a commission that would monitor implementation of the deal.

The leaders of Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan are expected to be on hand Wednesday for the signing of the agreement.


Tanzania: Governing party hit by another defection as campaigning begins

Campaigning for Tanzania’s October 25th presidential elections began Sunday. The ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party has dominated Tanzanian politics since independence in 1964. This time, observers say, the race promises to be the closest in that country’s history.

The CCM has suffered two major defections to the opposition. First, former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa, once seen as a possible ruling party nominee, left and became the presidential candidate for a coalition of four major opposition parties.

On Saturday Frederick Sumaye, who was Prime Minister from November 1995 to December 2005 under President Benjamin Mkapa, also left the ruling party, to join the opposition CHADEMA party.

Freeman Mbowe, chairman of CHADEMA, said the two former Prime Ministers left CCM because they are convinced the party has failed to bring meaningful development to Tanzania.

“Apparently Mr. Sumaye has left CCM because he’s convinced that CCM is not the party that will be able to really steer Tanzania into fundamental development that is desperately needed in this country. And in this case he has decided to join forces with other former Prime Minister who is our presidential candidate in the general elections in October,” he said.

There have been reports that Ibrahim Lipumba, chairman of the Civic United Front party, Tanzania’s second-biggest opposition party, had resigned in protest over Lowassa becoming the presidential candidate of the opposition.

Mbowe said Sumaye had said he left the ruling CCM party to strengthen the opposition, and not to seek any leadership position.

“According to the press conference that took place in Dar es Salaam, where he announced his departure from CCM to the opposition, he (Sumaye) did mention that he’s not coming into the opposition because he is seeking any particular post. But he thinks it is high time that Tanzania strengthens the opposition so we will have two main political parties like the way it is in the U.S., where you have Democrats and Republicans or the way it is in the U.K. where they have the Labour Party and the Conservatives,” Mbowe said.

He said the opposition welcomes the defection of other experienced ruling CCM supporters because the opposition wants to form the next Tanzanian government.

Mbowe said both Sumaye and Lowassa have said they left the ruling party because it was corrupt and also because it failed to bring meaningful development to Tanzania.

“They both confessed that the government of the day in Tanzania under the CCM party is a very corrupt government. They also claimed that the government has mismanaged the economy lost mandate to lead the development of this country," Mbowe said.

He also said the two defecting former Prime Ministers blamed the CCM for the way the party handled the nomination process of John Magufuli as the CCM’s presidential candidate.

“They think the process was not democratic. They were kind of sidelined in the process; they felt justice was not done to all the candidates the way it’s supposed to be according to the regulations and the constitution of the CCM party,” Mbowe said.

Addressing supporters Sunday when the CCM launched its campaign for the October election, CCM candidate Magufuli promised to end “corruption, embezzlement, theft and abuse of office” if elected Tanzania’s next president.

Magufuli also promised to set up a “special court to deal with the corrupt, economic saboteurs and embezzlers”.

-VOA online

DRC: Electoral body defers governors election indefinitely

Originally scheduled for August 31 and postponed to October 6, the election of governors in the new provinces of the DRC was finally postponed indefinitely. A decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) which refers to "various constraints" in the installation of these newly created entities.

In a press release dated August 21, the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) announced not to be able to organize the election of governors and vice-governors in the new provinces from the last cutting. Involved, "the installation of new provinces [that] meet various constraints, including the fact that the new provincial assemblies have, in most cases, completed their special session without exhausting the agenda," says the text .

"Accordingly, the CENI informs of national opinion it studies ways to harmonize its schedule to make it compatible with the implementation process of new provinces", the statement added. In other words, the election of governors in the 16 new provinces from the recent territorial division, postponed to October 6 when it was originally scheduled for August 31, is postponed indefinitely.

While waiting to fix the date of the elections, the CENI decided to extend the date of filing of nominations for governor and deputy governor posts, also allowing candidates already registered to complete their files already deposited or removed.


Côte d’Ivoire: POECI leverages ICTs for peaceful elections

Côte d’Ivoire’s October presidential election will test the nation’s progress in the five years following the outbreak of electoral violence in 2010. Violence that erupted after the last presidential poll left 3,000 Ivorian citizens dead while thousands more fled to neighboring countries. Conflict began when then-President Laurent Gbagbo refused to leave office after a defeat by his political rival, Alassane Ouattara. Gbagbo remains on trial with the International Criminal Court (ICC) for perpetrating crimes against humanity. His party, the Front populaire ivorien (FPI), and the ruling Rassemblement des Republicains (RDR) are participating in an ongoing process of national reconciliation, although challenges remain.

With political violence a continued concern in 2015, civil society efforts to gather and disseminate trustworthy information on the entire election process will be critical in maintaining peace and public confidence. Ivorian GNDEM member La Plateforme de la Société Civile pour l’Observation des Elections en Côte d’Ivoire (POECI) (POECI or the Platform) has taken an innovative, multi-pronged approach to pre-election observation, including the avid incorporation of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

[Click here to continue reading]


Monday, August 24, 2015

Ghana: Group urges EC to clean voters register before election 2016

The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers CODEO wants the Electoral Commission to ensure a clean voters register for the 2016 elections.

This come on the back of the EC’s call on political parties to state their stance on the NPP’s proposal for a new register since, according to the party, the current one is bloated and discredited.

Speaking in an interview with Citi News, the Co-Chair of CODEO, Professor Miranda Greenstreet stated that the EC should be able to assure Ghanaians that the voters register is credible enough for the upcoming elections.

“I must be quite honest that from the point of view of CODEO, we do not believe that an election can be organized if the register is not good enough. But there are several ways in dealing with the register. A register can be cleaned up, you can start a new register, you can try and eliminate all the problems and we are not in a position to tell the Electoral Commission to scrap the whole register because there are several ways that this can be done. So we leave it at the moment to the EC.”

In another development, the Chairman of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), Kofi Portuphy has said, it would be expensive to heed to calls by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for a new voters register.

He argued that the country at this point did not need a new voters register, citing economic issues as a major factor for this.

“We must always be thinking about the economy in terms of what it takes to build a register. If a nation cannot afford it, what do we do? So there are other ways of looking at the register not necessarily saying let's change it, I’m saying that it is expensive,” he said in a Citi News interview.

Source: Citifmonline

Burkina Faso: Oct. 11 election dominated by old political guards

DAKAR (Reuters) - An ex-prime minister and several ministers were among 22 candidates who registered for Burkina Faso's October election, a court said on Saturday, meaning the West African country's next president would likely come from the old political guard.

Friday was the deadline for candidates to register for the Oct. 11 vote on the successor of long-time president Blaise Compaore, who was toppled in October by street protests as he tried to extend his 27-year rule.

A turbulent transitional government changed the electoral law in April to exclude anyone who supported Compaore's bid to stay in office, but the top court of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the highest appeal tribunal in the region, overruled that in July.

Amongst the favourites is former prime minister Roch Marc Kabore, a long-time stalwart of Compaore's regime who split away last year to found the opposition People's Movement for Progress (MPP). Kabore enjoys support among Burkina's business community and traditional leaders.

Another leading candidate is Zephirin Diabre, a former finance minister under Compaore, who worked for French nuclear group Areva before founding his Union for Progress and Change (UPC) party in 2010. Former foreign minister Djibrill Bassole will also represent a coalition of opposition groups.

Compaore's former ruling party, the Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP), named a little-known businessman and former member of parliament, Eddie Komboigo, as its presidential candidate in July.

The transition has been marred by tensions between the powerful Regiment of Presidential Security (RSP), Compaore's well-armed praetorian guard, and the government led by Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida, a former second-in-command of the elite unit.

Transitional authorities have vowed to clamp down on corruption and two former ministers in Compaore regime were arrested last week as part of an ongoing investigation.

(Reporting by Nadoun Coulibaly; Editing by Daniel Flynn)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Guinea-Bissau: New PM sworn in amid opposition

(Reuters) Guinea-Bissau President Jose Mario Vaz named a new prime minister on Thursday in a bid to end a power vacuum after he dismissed the previous premier Domingos Simoes Pereira last week, according to a decree read on state radio.

The appointment of Baciro Dja, formerly minister of presidential affairs, was condemned by some members of the ruling PAIGC who called for a public protest in the coastal capital of the small West African country.

Pereira remains head of the PAIGC, a role which would ordinarily also grant him the title of prime minister.

However, tensions have grown between the president and his former political rival Pereira, fed by overlapping duties in Guinea-Bissau's semi-presidential system.

"The leadership of the party is now holding a meeting and we will make an announcement at the end," Pereira told Reuters by telephone.

The former Portuguese colony has a long history of political instability and has suffered nine coups or attempted coups since 1980, the most recent of which took place in 2012. Elections last year returned the country to democratic rule and unfroze international aid.

Drug traffickers have taken advantage of the chaos and used the country as a transit point for smuggling cocaine between South America and Europe.

Guinea: Opposition sign reforms deal ahead of October election

(Reuters) - The Guinean government signed an agreement with the opposition on Thursday, making concessions on two points of contention and raising hopes of a peaceful presidential election in October.

Government sources said the deal, reached after two months of negotiations, allows for more opposition representation in local administration and envisages reform of the elections commission.

"We needed to put an end to the political crisis and allow the organisation to hold a peaceful and inclusive presidential election," said Moustapha Koutoub Sano, one of the main government negotiators.

Guinea's opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo also welcomed the agreement, but added that it was up to the government to ensure it was implemented. "The government has a certain responsibility with regards to the opposition," he said.

Top African bauxite producer Guinea has a history of electoral violence. Anti-government demonstrations over the terms of the presidential vote in April and May led to at least six deaths, according to Amnesty International.

The West African country has not held local elections since 2002 and the opposition alleged that President Alpha Conde's Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) party had packed local constituencies with supporters, creating a structural bias.

As part of Thursday's agreement, the government pledged to give the opposition representation in 128 of Guinea's 343 districts. The government also proposed replacing two recently deceased members of the electoral commission with opposition candidates.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Uganda: Australia based cardiologist to run for president in 2016 election

Ugandan, Australia based cardiologist Dr Aggrey Kiyingi says he is still on course to stand for presidency in the 2016 general elections.

Mr Kiyingi, in an interview with the daily monitor on Wednesday asserted that he has already secured travel documents to enable him return to the country and pick nomination forms.

He said, despite all challenges and crime cases he is facing, he has finished securing his journey back to the country to engage in the Ugandan electoral process.

“Of course, I will pick nomination forms, but at the last minute.” Kiyingi said adding that “You know that I have worked on security details carefully. Government has already sent squads to Kenya and Tanzania.”

Mid last year, Dr Kiyingi announced he will be returning to Uganda to stand for the presidency. However, since his announcement, Police has been looking for him to answer charges of murdering Moslem clerics together ADF rebels.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cote d'Ivoire: Gbagbo party faction urges Oct election boycott


ABIDJAN— A hardline faction of former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo's party called on Tuesday for a boycott of a presidential election in October meant to cement the West African nation's revival following a 2011 civil war.

Gbagbo is awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court for his alleged role in crimes against humanity committed during the conflict, sparked by his refusal to acknowledge defeat in the last presidential vote in 2010.

His Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) has boycotted parliamentary and local elections since the crisis but party president Pascal Affi N'Guessan has pledged to participate in the Oct. 25 polls and was last week picked as its candidate.

Hardliners led by Gbagbo's former foreign minister Aboudramane Sangare have refused to recognize N'Guessan as the FPI's leader.

"The Ivorian Popular Front ... asks its militants, sympathizers and the sovereign people of Ivory Coast not to associate themselves with an election farce with unforeseeable consequences," they said in a statement.

Their decision to boycott is likely to further divide Ivory Coast's principal opposition party and bolster the chances of incumbent President Alassane Ouattara, already heavily favored to win re-election.

It is also likely to deal a blow to the National Coalition for Change (CNC), a new political formation headed by former Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny which the hardliners joined earlier this year.

Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa grower and French-speaking West Africa's largest economy, has seen a rapid post-war recovery under the stewardship of Ouattara that has turned the heads of foreign investors.

The government and many analysts believe peaceful polls could usher in a wave of foreign investment.

The Sangare faction, which has called for Gbagbo's immediate release by The Hague court, said the government had failed to meet its other demands, including the replacement of the head of the election commission.

It also criticized what it called the "unilateral" revision of voter rolls by the government. And, reviving a longstanding practice of questioning Ouattara's nationality, said he was ineligible to run according to the Ivorian constitution.

In the statement, the party urged its supporters to "remain mobilized, awaiting the Party's rallying cry and ready for the future battles to liberate and restore Ivory Coast."

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Ghana: Voters' register "heavily compromised" - Opposition

The New Patriotic Party has justified its calls for a new Voters' register saying it has overwhelming evidence to prove that the current register used for the 2012 election is “heavily bloated”.

At a press conference organised by the party at the Alisa Hotel on Tuesday, the vice presidential candidate of the NPP, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, said the party has presented a documented evidence to the Electoral Commission to convince them on the need for a new voters' register.

According to Dr. Bawumia, the percentage increase in the voters' register in 2008 and 2012 is “abnormally high” which must be probed by the EC.

“During the 2012 election cycle, the EC presented different figures for total number of registered voters... Brong-Ahafo and Volta regions recorded high numbers during the special registration for NHIS cards,” he said.

“We have submitted our evidence to the Electoral Commission,” Dr. Bawumia said, adding, “we are making this public statement because we believe we owe it as a duty to the Ghanaian people to let them know and understand why we are making this call to the EC”.

Source: Ghana/

Ghana: 76,286 Togolese in voters’ register – Opposition alleges

The New Patriotic Party has alleged over 76, 286 people with same names and pictures are in the voters’ registers of both Ghana and Togo.

Presenting what he termed “a damning revelation” which should trigger the need for a new voters’ register in Ghana before the 2016 elections, the vice presidential candidate of the main opposition party Dr Mahamudu Bawumia said the uncovering of these foreign nationals in the register is just “10% of the search.”

“Our investigative team obtained the Togo voters’ register which was publicly displayed prior to the 2015 Togolese elections. Using facial biometric recognition technology, the system has found 76,286 potential matches of the same people, with the same names and faces on the Ghanaian as well as Togolese voters registers; some 2000 of which we present in the power point presentation,” Dr Bawumia stressed at a news conference Tuesday.

“I should note that so far, we have only completed less than 10% of the work on the Togolese register and we will begin work on comparing the Ivorian register with Ghana’s shortly and follow that with the Burkina Faso register.

“Even though our investigations are on-going, we are presenting our initial results because time is of the essence in this matter of a new electoral register. The EC, as we speak, is in the process of taking a decision on the issue and we have to make an input into this process at the earliest opportunity."

He added: “What is more troubling with the findings so far is that many of the pictures of the Togolese citizens on Ghana’s register were not taken in a live environment but rather scanned from existing pictures and documents. We actually have an incredible situation of one polling station in Ketu south constituency (Temporary Booth Shikakope-Apekotuime) where most of the pictures on the voters register were scanned.

“The question therefore is how these scanned pictures got into the EC voters register? This could only have been done by people with the necessary security permissions to do so. The evidence is therefore incontrovertible that Ghana’s voters register has been compromised. It is not a document we can rely on for free fair and transparent elections in Ghana.”

“We recommend that a new voters’ register should be ready by July 2016… The evidence, we have shown you is damning and shows that Ghana’s voters register has been compromised,” Dr Bawumia noted.

He said there is a need for a new register by June 2016 "to replace the over-bloated one".

Source: Ghana/

Ghana: Opposition urges EC to beg Nigeria for support to compile new voters register

The Vice Presidential candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has advised Ghana's Electoral Commission (EC) to seek support from their counterparts in Nigeria if they feel incapacitated to embark on a new voters registration ahead of the 2016 elections.

According to him, the NPP has presented the EC with credible evidence and tangible reasons why the current voters register must be revised for the 2016 elections.

“We have given them concrete and inevitable evidence that shows that the voters register has been compromised and cannot be used for the 2016 elections.

“If they don’t have the equipment, they should talk to their colleagues in Nigeria, the machines they used for their elections are still there; they will give it to them,” the former deputy governor of the Central Bank stated at a press conference organised by the party today, Tuesday August 18.

He continued : "Our investigative team obtained the Togo voters register which was publicly displayed prior to the 2015 Togolese elections. Using facial biometric recognition technology, the system has found 76,286 potential matches of the same people, with the same names and faces on the Ghanaian as well as Togolese voters registers; some 2000 of which we present in the power point presentation.

"I should note that so far, we have only completed less than 10% of the work on the Togolese register and we will begin work on comparing the Ivorian register with Ghana’s shortly and follow that with the Burkina Faso register. Even though our investigations are on-going, we are presenting our initial results because time is of the essence in this matter of a new electoral register. The EC, as we speak, is in the process of taking a decision on the issue and we have to make an input into this process at the earliest opportunity".


South Sudan: President snubs power sharing deal

A South Sudanese rebel spokesman said President Salva Kiir refused to sign Monday’s peace deal aimed at ending the country's 20-month civil war because he is afraid of power sharing.

According to mediators at the talks, Kiir did not sign the agreement and asked for 15 days to consult with his constituencies.

The decision is seen as the latest blow to peace talks sponsored by the East African bloc IGAD, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, as well as several other countries, including the United States and China.

Rebel spokesman Stephen Par Kuol said that although the agreement is not perfect, rebel leader and former vice president Riek Machar signed it for the sake of peace and the welfare of the people of South Sudan.

“Out of concern for the lives of our people and the suffering they have been going through for almost two years now, our reaction was just to sign it.  And we have seen that it is an agreement we don’t have all what we want in it, but it is an agreement that we can live with, compromising some of our political aspirations for the sake of peace and welfare of the people of South Sudan,” he said.

Par Kuol said the agreement addressed the formation of a transitional government of national unity.

“The document has provisions for the establishment of a transitional government of national unity mandated to accomplish among so many things, the writing of a permanent constitution and preparing the people of South Sudan for the next election to elect their own leaders,” he said.

He said the agreement also provides for the creation of a “hybrid court” to ensure accountability for crimes committed during the 20-month long civil war.

“The transitional government of national unity is also mandated to introduce security sector reform in the country, formation of a new national army, and peace and reconciliation through something we call national healing process during the transitional period of 30 months.  That means, in two and half years, we will prepare the people of South Sudan to write their own constitution,” Par Kuol said.

On the government's Twitter account, the South Sudanese president said, "Peace that cannot be sustained cannot be signed." He also wrote, "If it is signed today and then tomorrow we go back to war, then what have we achieved?"

Par Kuol said Kiir did not sign the agreement because he wants to continue the war which he has “imposed” on the people of South Sudan.

“Salva Kiir, under the watchful eye of the international community, has introduced a police state and by creating the current tension in Juba and in greater Equatoria State, he wants to expand the war because it is the war that will keep him in power.  With peace, the people of South Sudan will choose their own leaders, and I don’t think that they can choose Salva Kiir,” Par Kuol said.

Par Kuol said the rebels had thought Kiir would sign the agreement because he showed up in the room where it was to be signed.  Before leaving South Sudan Sunday for Ethiopia, Kiir sacked four state governors by decree and replaced them with military generals.

The sacked governors are Major General Clement Wani Konga of Central Equatoria State, Colonel Joseph Bangasi Bakosoro of Western Equatoria State, Nyandeng Malek of Warrap State, and Major General Simon Kun Poch of Upper Nile State.

Par Kuol said the “wrongful dismissal” of what he calls elected governors is an indication Kiir wants to continue the war.

Source: VOA

Monday, August 17, 2015

SADC: Election takes centre stage in regional summit

THE political situation in the region, especially concerning elections, economic integration and security, will top the agenda of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State Summit, which kicks off here on Monday.

President Jakaya Kikwete is expected to address the summit and bid farewell to his counterparts on Tuesday.

Deputy Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Dr Mahadhi Juma Maalim, told the ‘Daily News’ here that the SADC Ministerial Council had deliberated on the agendas that would be discussed by the Heads of State for further action.

“They will discuss political situation in member states, especially the recent elections in Lesotho and upcoming general elections in Tanzania and other member states.

They will also discuss defence and security, especially instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho and Madagascar”, Dr Mahadhi said.

According to the deputy minister, the Heads of State would deliberate on the development of the process of merging East African Community (EAC), SADC and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

Other things to be discussed include gender issues, HIV/ AIDS, TB and malaria. The Heads of State will also elect a new chairman to replace the current chairman, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, and new chairman of TROIKA (Organ of Politics, Defence and Security), replacing the current chairman, South African President Jacob Zuma.

They will also elect vice-chairpersons for the same. “They can also raise new agenda depending on eventualities. But President Kikwete will address the summit as part of his programme to bid farewell to his counterparts”, said Dr Mahadhi.

The deputy minister confirmed information circulating here that SADC member states were convincing Tanzania to chair the TROIKA.

“It’s true that some member states were convincing Tanzania to become chair of the TROIKA but we have not accepted because this is an election year in our country.

But secondly, we were TROIKA vice-chair two years ago; so it’s better to give chances to other member states,” he asserted.

Dr Mahadhi noted, however, that still President Kikwete would make a final decision on the matter.

Meanwhile, according to Tanzania’s High Commissioner to South Africa, who is also accredited to Botswana, Namibia and Lesotho, Ms Radhia Msuya, the Heads of State would also discuss industrialization in the bloc.

“Last year they discussed about industrialisation strategic action for SADC; so they’ll discuss its implementation,’’ the high commissioner said.

Industrialization is a key factor in bringing economic development in SADC member states, Ms Msuya told the ‘Daily News’ at the Grand Palm Hotel yesterday.

Tanzania: Watch out for the most tightly contested election in history

Tanzania's October 25 General Election will be the most tightly contested election in the country's history after hugely popular former Prime Minister, Edward Lowassa, defected from the ruling party to join the main opposition bloc.

Lowassa defected in late July after he was eliminated from the list of presidential aspirants for the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM). He announced his intention to run for the opposition bloc Chama Cha Demokrasia and Maendeleo (Chadema) shortly after.

Lowassa claims that he unfairly lost his bid to become the ruling party's candidate. He now represents a union of four political parties fighting for the adoption of a new constitution.

Given that Lowassa commands huge support, especially from young people, this is the first time during the history of multiparty politics that the country's opposition has a genuine chance of winning. [Click here to continue reading]


Tanzania: Media urged to observe ethics in covering elections

By Pius Rugonzibwa

Mwanza — Editors who are ethics custodians in media houses have been challenged to avoid cheap politics and make sure editorial independence comes first while handling stories covering the general election.

Apart from observing ethics and ensuring professionalism throughout the election period, editors have been told to make sure they provide adequate mentorship to their subordinates in newsrooms as they cover the elections.

Presenting a paper during a training organised for Lake Zone editors and editorial representatives from various media houses on Wednesday, a senior editor, Mr Jesse Kwayu, Of IPP media said elections are trying times for editors.

"It is yet another crucial time where editors have to exercise a high level of professionalism and integrity by drawing a clear line between editorial independence and cheques," he said.

According to Mr Kwayu, while stories on elections are a hot cake, editors are supposed to carefully judge them and scrutinise motives.

It was agreed that during the general election, there is likelihood of editors receiving biased stories in favour of certain politicians with personal agenda and interests not stipulated in their parties election manifestos which are contrary to guidelines governing candidates, he said.

As for candidates and their backgrounds, Mr Kwayu said editors are this year obliged to expose candidates with questionable accumulation of wealth as well as being in the know of the budgets of political parties.

"These parties are spending public money during the election, therefore it is imperative for the editors and reporters to be certain before carrying stories on their spending throughout the session," he emphasised.

As the public is keenly following the social status of the candidates particularly those vying for presidential posts, it is crucial that editors take their roles seriously in reporting.

The training on reporting on elections was made possible by various players in collaboration with the Media Council of Tanzania who has prepared a special manual for journalists and media houses as a guiding tool.

According to MCT, it is imperative for reporters and editors covering the election to capture the bigger picture, bearing in mind the social, economic, political and cultural consequences of uninformed or corrupted choices.

The manual underscores the importance of additional knowledge for reporters and editors on electoral matters and related activities which require more than reporting skills.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Uganda: Opposition coalition quit talks with governing over reforms ahead of polls

Opposition political parties under The Democratic Alliance (TDA) yesterday announced their immediate withdrawal from all forums of dialogue with the ruling National Resistance Movement as a sign of discontentment with the passing of the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2015, without the major reforms they had proposed.

Flanked by leaders of the different parties that make up the alliance, Prof Frederick Ssempebwa, the TDA chair, recounted different engagements to have reforms, which he said had been ignored by the government prompting them to make the move.
“All political parties under the alliance will commence a process of withdrawing from the Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) and from the National Consultative Forum (NCF) with immediate effect.”

The formulation of the NCF laid down in the 1995 Constitution and operationalised under Section 20(4) of the Political Parties and Organizations Act No.18 of 2005 only came to effect in 2011.

The Forum is currently comprised of more than 35 member political parties and organisations with a Secretariat at the Electoral Commission. The EC secretary also acts as secretary of the Forum. It is currently chaired by NRM and deputised by the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).

On the other hand, IPOD comprises all the registered political parties with at least one seat in Parliament.
These include the Conservative Party (CP), the Democratic Party (DP), FDC, Justice Forum, (JEEMA), Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC), and NRM.

By ignoring what he said are people’s views, Prof Ssempebwa, who in the past chaired the Constitutional Review Commission, said the executive and Parliament had left the Opposition with no choice.

“The actions of this government led by President Museveni and the decision of the 9th Parliament are clearly at variance with the will of the people of Uganda. We feel that they have absconded from their representative duty and overthrown the power of the people as enshrined under our Constitution. It is increasingly clear that comprehensive reforms can only be undertaken under a new government.”

He added that donor and tax- payers’ money to the tune of Shs 5b spent on 1POD and Shs 1b on the National Consultation on Free and Fair Elections exercise, which developed the Citizen’s Compact, had gone to waste.

The law don observed that government no longer listens to citizens and so, it was incumbent upon Ugandans to do everything constitutionally possible to cause regime change so that meaningful constitutional reforms can be undertaken.

“The TDA pre-occupation will be to accelerate our efforts to bring about the end of this regime in order to bring about a transitional government of national unity. To achieve this objective, all options to bring this regime to an end sooner than later remain our focus.”

Deputy government spokesperson Shaban Bantariza said the opposition was free to do whatever they want as long as it was within the confines of the law. “What we are witnessing is political freedom. They have the freedom to leave IPOD. They can do whatever they think will give them political mileage, the population will be the final arbiter,” he said.

Following protracted negations, NRM and the Opposition political parties under the IPOD arrangement, on February 5, agreed on 43 out of a total of 48 reforms discussed. The remaining four, including the reinstatement of presidential term limits, were deferred for further discussion. But when government tabled reforms, it also ignored those that it had agreed on with the Opposition.

Citizen’s Compact reforms

•President’s tenure should be restored to two five-year terms.
•Size of Parliament should be reduced in line with modest resources of the State.
•New independent and impartial electoral commission must be established.
•New verifiable register of all voters, which should include eligible Ugandans in the diaspora, must be compiled.
•Voting for LC3, LC5, Parliament and President should be conducted on one day.


Burundi: Opposition leader calls on president to step down

“Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza has “declared war” on his people by clinging onto power”, a leading opposition politician said Thursday, demanding he step down to allow a “political transition.” ~ Leonard Nyangoma

These accusations from the opposition follow Burundi’s ruling party  terming the re-election of President Pierre Nkurunziza a “divine miracle”

Leonard Nyangoma, a veteran political leader who heads the opposition CNARED coalition, said Nkurunziza had “declared war” on his people and demanded his “immediate departure” from office.

Nyangoma described the situation in Burundi as extremely serious saying that both the political, socio-economic situations were deteriorating day by day.

Nkurunziza’s efforts to run for a third term in office sparked protest, failed coup and fleeing of Burundi citizens who are currently refugees in neighbouring countries.

His supporters claimed that he had a right to run for office, despite the unrest the decision provoked. The elections held last month were boycotted by the opposition and the international community condemned them as being neither free nor fair.

Security forces are targeting opponents of Nkurunziza with “numerous arrests, torture, killings and atrocities,” Nyangoma said, speaking from Europe, where he is now based.  AFP reported.

There are fears both within the country and outside that Burundi could plunge back into civil war.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Nigeria: President lauds youths contributions to credible polls

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja praised the contributions of Nigerian youths to the outcome of the 2015 elections.

President Buhari, who spoke on the occasion of the 2015 International Youth Day, commended Nigerian youths for the significant role they played in making the 2015 elections “a model for democratic governance in Africa”.

The President said he was very concerned, however, that economic growth in Nigeria has not translated into “commensurate and improved social outcomes, especially for our 60 million young people who make up the majority of the population”.

Buhari noted that “although educational attainment by Nigerian youth has increased significantly in the last decade, the relevance of curricula, quality of education and skills required to meet the demands of the job market still remains a challenge for the country”.

The President assured Nigerian youth that his administration “is poised to provide an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive so as to ensure greater opportunities for jobs to be created for our young people”.

He said his government was also determined to provide adequate infrastructure to boost the ability of “our job creation institutions to increase opportunities for our young people”.

Apart from paying special attention to the growth of small and medium scale enterprises, the President said his administration will also explore the option of boosting intervention funds to encourage domestic industrialization and manufacturing.

Buhari reaffirmed the commitment of the All Progressives Congress administration to fulfilling its campaign promises to Nigerian youth.

“Change for us is not a mere political slogan, but the beginning of a new era desired by the majority of Nigerians,” the President concluded.


Tanzania: Church bans members from voting in Oct. 25 polls

Thousands of Christians in Tanzania reportedly have been banned from voting in the East African country’s upcoming general elections. The Watch Tower church in Kitika village has forbidden its more than 4,000 worshippers from participating in the Oct. 25 polls, alleging it is against their religious teachings, the Tanzania Daily News reported Tuesday.

One of the church’s spiritual leaders, Jonas Simulunga, told the Tanzanian newspaper the followers had been barred from voting in all elections since the country gained independence in 1961. The Watch Tower churchgoers were also banned from joining political parties, running for office and donating blood, which is considered a “sin,” Simulunga said.

The Watch Tower church was founded by self-appointed “Pope” Enock Sindani and its universal headquarters are located in Kitika along the shores of Lake Tanganyika. Branches of the church were set up in other locations on the African continent, including neighboring Zambia. Simulunga said the followers at the Zambia Watch Tower church were also barred from voting.

Four opposition parties have joined forces to take on Tanzania’s ruling Party of Revolution, known by the acronym CCM, in the upcoming presidential election. The ruling party, which has governed for five decades, announced last month it had nominated public works minister John Pombe Magufuli as its presidential candidate. Magufuli appears to be the favorite to replace Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, who was in office for the maximum two terms, according to the Associated Press.

Jehovah's Witness

Christian separatist leader Elliott Kamwana introduced the so-called Watch Tower movement to sub-Saharan Africa in the early 1900s. Kamwana was inspired by the teachings of Charles Taze Russell, a religious leader who started the Jehovah’s Witnesses and its official religious body, Watch Tower Society. After becoming a Jehovah’s Witness, Kamwana established a branch church known as the Watch Tower in Malawi in 1906, according to the Dictionary of African Historical Biography.

Within three years, the religious leader had baptized 10,000 followers. Kamwana preached the end of colonialism and that Christ’s second coming would abolish hut taxes and banish Europeans from the African continent. British colonial authorities deported Kamwana from Malawi to South Africa and banned the Watch Tower movement. But the churches secretly continued his teachings and the movement spread into modern-day Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and, apparently, Tanzania.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Guinea: President Alpha Conde to run for a second term

Unsurprisingly, Alpha Condé, President of Guinea outgoing, was invested Tuesday presidential candidate in October by his party, the Rally for the People of Guinea (RPG).

It was at the end of a three-day conference that the ruling party has nominated - unsurprisingly -. Forthe its next presidential champion in Guinea Alpha Conde , 77, elected in 2010, will thus represent 11 October .

In front of a few thousand of his supporters and sympathizers gathered in Conakry, the outgoing president declined to "take stock" of its mandate, believing that this mission returned to the people. "I came to commune with you. Commune with these women, these young people came from different provinces of the country ", he has merely stated, in a speech punctuated militant slogans, yellow T-shirt - color of his party - with his effigy, chanting including: "A sudden KO", for a first round victory.

"We will ensure that the private sector in Guinea, through the public-private partnership, through association with foreign partners, the real engine of development in Guinea," said the now president candidate .

Deposit doubled to two months of the presidential

But two months of voting, the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) announced a series of measures, without explanation, which will not be without consequences for some potential contenders for the succession of Alpha Condé. The amount of the deposit required to run for the presidential and was doubled from 400 million Guinean francs (GNF, about 99,000 euros) in 2010 to 800 million GNF. And campaign spending limit has meanwhile increased by almost seven to GNF 20 billion (more than € 2.4 million) against 3 billion GNF (over 369,000 euros) in 2010.

-By Jeune Afrique with AFP

Congo: Millionaire governor gears up for 2016 election bid

By Aaron Ross and Bienvenu-Marie Bakumanya

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo's richest and most powerful provincial governor is courting disaffected parties in President Joseph Kabila's coalition, fuelling speculation he is preparing a 2016 electoral challenge, political sources say.

Moise Katumbi, the 50-year-old governor of copper-rich Katanga province in the southeast of the vast African nation, is also getting help from top Washington lobbyists pushing for an orderly vote in November next year, U.S. filings show.

Although Katumbi, owner of top flight Congolese soccer club TP Mazembe, was coy about his ambitions when contacted by Reuters, one source close to him said he would throw his hat into the ring as a presidential candidate in the next month.

"Moise will declare one year before the date scheduled for the start of the electoral campaign," the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. The election campaign officially opens on Sept. 20 next year.

    Kabila has ruled the former Belgian colony since his father's assassination in 2001, winning disputed elections in 2006 and 2011.

The constitution says he must quit next year but Kabila has refused to say whether he will leave office, angering opponents who accuse him of behaving like many African 'Big Men' who cling to power beyond their mandate.

At least 40 people died in January in protests against revisions to the election code that demonstrators said were a pretext to delay the presidential vote.

However, analysts say a formal Katumbi bid with declared support from some of Kabila's partners could be sufficiently serious to force Kabila into the open.

"The most immediate effect would be a total remaking of Kabila's base," said Pascal Kambale, former Congo country director for the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa.

"If he reacts mildly it will be an indication that he is himself not interested to stay in power any longer than constitutionally needed."

    A government spokesman has said that Kabila intends to respect the constitution.

With a large support base in Katanga and vast sums at his disposal, Katumbi is viewed by many analysts as the most credible successor to Kabila. As a governor, Katumbi was credited with restoring infrastructure and supporting the booming mining sector, although critics accuse of him of lacking a long-term vision and using the office to advance his own business interests.



Katumbi's camp has also deployed a top law firm in Washington, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, to lobby for U.S. support for timely elections.

    According to a July filing with the U.S. Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), Akin Gump contacted dozens of congressional staffers, non-governmental organizations and academics in the first six months of 2015 on behalf of the Mining Company of Katanga (MCK).

    Katumbi co-founded MCK, which is now owned and controlled by his wife, Karyn, according to FARA records. Since 2011, the company has operated as a sub-contractor for mining companies, according to a filing with the provincial government.

    It first retained Akin Gump in 2013, when the firm lobbied for the opening of a U.S. consulate in the Katanga capital, Lubumbashi, and a grain storage project.

    But Akin Gump's 240 emails, phone calls and meetings in the first six months of this year on MCK's behalf all focused on "U.S. policy on 2016 DRC elections", according to the filing.

    Anthony Gambino, a Georgetown University lecturer and former U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) director in Kinshasa, said he met an Akin Gump representative last week to discuss ways outsiders could press for Kabila's exit in 2016.

    Gambino said Katumbi himself was not mentioned during discussions about Kabila's alleged efforts to stay in power.

    Others contacted on behalf of MCK include the staff director of the House of Representatives Africa Sub-committee, the head of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Kinshasa and the senior DRC desk officer at the State Department.

    Akin Gump policy adviser Roger Murry said the firm did not represent Katumbi's political interests but was "working in support of a more proactive U.S. role in promoting free, fair, transparent and timely presidential elections".


    Katumbi, who has made millions through his mining and other business interests, was elected governor of Katanga in 2006 with Kabila's support.

But the relationship soured after Katumbi used a public rally in December to urge his supporters to challenge Kabila's right to score a "third penalty" against Congo, a thinly veiled reference to a third term by the president.

    Katumbi is also losing his post as governor after Katanga, home to the continent's top copper production, was divided into four - part of a decentralization drive widely interpreted as an attempt to weaken Katumbi.

In response, he is building nationwide support, sources say.

    "I'm telling you that the man is working," the source close to Katumbi said. "He's even planning to launch a satellite television channel very soon to reach the entire republic."

    He has also won backing from the so-called 'G7' - seven parties in the ruling coalition critical of Kabila's refusal to declare his intentions, one G7 leader told Reuters.

    "We will support Katumbi publicly once he announces," the party leader said. "We didn't sign on to support Kabila after 2016."

(Reporting by Aaron Ross; Editing by Ed Cropley and Giles Elgood)


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Swaziland: Poll result not known 2 years after election

Nearly two years after the national election in Swaziland took place in September 2013, the full results have not been released.

The election was widely criticised by international observers as not 'free and fair' at the time. The Commonwealth and the African Union separately called for the Swazi Constitution to be rewritten.

Swaziland is ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch. Political parties are banned from taking part in the election and the King chooses the government.

The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC), which ran the election, promised shortly after the poll to release the full results, but it did not.

The EBC announced the names of the winners at each of the 55 constituencies in the House of Assembly promptly after voting took place on 20 September 2013, but only gave the number of votes cast for 45 of them. No figures were given for the losing candidates in any of the constituencies and the total number of voters taking part in the election has never been revealed.

This raises the spectre of election fraud because in order to determine the number of votes cast for the winner in each constituency the election officer should have counted the votes cast for all the candidates.

Only 55 members in the 65-seat House of Assembly are elected by the people. King Mswati appoints the other 10. None of the kingdom's 30 senators are elected by the people.

The parliament has no real powers and is widely considered outside the kingdom to be a fig-leaf to protect King Mswati from criticism that he runs Swaziland as a personal fiefdom.

In the run up to the vote prodemocracy groups urged a boycott of the election and following the poll there was speculation within the kingdom that this had been effective.

It was important for King Mswati that there was seen to be a high voter turnout. Only weeks before the election, he announced that Swaziland's tinkhundla system of democracy would in future be known as a 'monarchical democracy'. He said this would be a partnership between himself and the people.

The turnout at the election was seen by some as a referendum on how much his subjects supported him.

Following the 2013 election, the Weekend Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, reported the turnout of people on election day was 'about 400,000'. However, official figures from the EBC stated that only 411,084 Swazis living in Swaziland had registered to vote, which would have meant if the newspaper was correct the turnout would be 97.3 percent.

In the week following the election the Swaziland Democratic United Front suggested the turnout might be as low as 80,000. The Swaziland Communist Party put the figure at 100,000.

On 3 August 2015, Edgar Hillary, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, reported to the Swazi Parliament that there was 'division' at the EBC.

The Swazi Observer reported him saying this had 'jeopardised operations of the institution and as a result, the 2013 elections report had still not been finalised'.

Tanzan: Opposition coalition nominates ex-PM as flagbearer

Tanzania's four main opposition parties on Tuesday named former prime minister Edward Lowassa - once seen as a leading contender for the ruling party nomination - as their joint presidential candidate ahead of October's general election.

The Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party of outgoing President Jakaya Kikwete has ruled Tanzania since independence in 1961. The opposition's nomination of Lowassa, who crossed party lines last week, could shake up the political landscape.

"I have come to join you for a reason, to remove CCM from power," Lowassa told cheering delegates after being named by the coalition, including CHADEMA - Tanzania's biggest opposition party - in Tanzania's commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

On July 12, CCM instead nominated Works Minister John Magufuli, a long-serving cabinet minister from the gold-rich lake zone area, the east African state's biggest electoral bloc.

Tanzania has been one of Africa's most politically stable nations, spared of the sort of strife raging in other parts of the continent where some presidents have sought third terms despite constitutional restrictions.

Tanzania's next leader is expected to help develop the country's nascent hydrocarbons industry. Tanzania is estimated to have 53.2 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas reserves off its southern coast.

Lowassa, 61, had been seen as a frontrunner in CCM's presidential nomination race, and it caught many by surprise that he was not included in the short list of candidates.

There was speculation that past graft allegations could have hurt Lowassa among CCM leadership. The government was thrown into turmoil earlier this year after a graft scandal in the energy ministry led to the ouster of several top CCM officials, including the attorney general and energy minister.

Lowassa quit as premier in 2008 after a parliamentary investigation linked him to irregularities in a government contract for emergency power generation. Lowassa was never charged with a crime and he has denied wrongdoing.

The opposition CHADEMA party had previously named Lowassa in its 'List of Shame' of government leaders with corruption allegations, but has now rallied behind the ex-premier saying the allegations against him were never proven.

(Editing by Edith Honan/Mark Heinrich)