Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Guinea-Bissau: Talks to bring opposition into government hit snag

[Reuters] Guinea-Bissau's largest opposition party, the Party of Social Renewal (PRS), will not be joining a new government that is seeking to turn the page on a crisis that has threatened to destabilize the nation, its spokesman said on Tuesday.

The PRS, which holds 41 out of 102 seats in parliament, had been in negotiations with the ruling PAIGC party to join Prime Minister Carlos Correia's cabinet.

Correia's appointment on Sept. 8 came after weeks of political turmoil triggered by President Jose Mario Vaz's dismissal of Prime Minister Domingoes Simoes Pereira and his government over a row between the two PAIGC rivals.

With no other obvious partners for a coalition, PAIGC looks likely to rule alone - although given the potential for internal rebellion, it may not be a smooth ride without PRS backing.

Within three months, parliament must approve a raft of proposals in areas such as education, energy and health care, or the new government will fall.

PRS spokesman Victor Pereira said the talks to join the government had broken down over the number of ministries the PRS would be accorded and which PRS members would be included.

"The proposals made by PAIGC do not fill the minimum criteria for PRS to enter the Carlos Correia government," Victor Pereira told journalists, adding that the PAIGC had offered the PRS seven portfolios in the proposed 33-member government.

The PRS participated in the governments of both Pereira and his replacement Baciro Dja, who was dismissed after two days when the Supreme Court ruled his appointment unconstitutional.

A Finance Ministry official said on Tuesday the crisis has cost the tiny cashew-producing West African nation around 78 billion CFA francs ($133.68 million) since August.

The former Portuguese colony has become a major transit point for cocaine smuggled from South America to Europe amid chronic political instability that has seen the country rocked by nine coups or attempted coups since 1980.

($1 = 583.4900 CFA francs)

Tanzania: Voter register undergoes last verification as election nears

By Deogratius Kamagi
The final voter register to be used in next month's general election will be distributed to all Mainland and Isles regions within 9 days to come for final verification before the polling exercise.

National Electoral Commission of Tanzania (NEC) Chairman, Judge (retired) Damian Lubuva said this in Dar es Salaam that the focus is to allow all eligible voters to verify their information so as to avoid unnecessary inconveniences that may arise during polling day.

He was officiating at a dialogue with national representatives of people with disabilities meant to build capacity towards their participation on the voting process. Justice Lubuva, moreover confirmed, that NEC has started to distribute different equipment and materials to be used in the election.

"We have started to distribute equipments that will be used in the polling date, starting with ballot boxes, polling booths, indelible ink and seals, election stationery and tactile ballot folders... . ballot papers will be distributed late," he said.

He urged all political parties, which are taking part in the election to avoid the use of abusive language and should instead focus on spreading their election manifestos to their supporters.

"I also urge them not to interfere in the commission's administrative functions. There is no need to doubt on changes that have been made. Everything will be conducted freely and fairly," Mr Lubuva stated.

According to him, NEC has been making serious follow-ups on the ongoing political campaigns to monitor the compliance of election code of conduct.

"We have been monitoring all political campaigns since the first day of their launching," he said, adding that they have also been warning parties that failed to adhere to campaign principles laid down by NEC.

It was also communicated at the forum that in this year's election, people with special needs have been adequately considered as NEC has prepared an enabling environment to enable and attract them to participate effectively in the elections.

"We have also prepared a tactile ballot to support people with no or less sight ability," Mr Lubuva reported. Reacting to presentations, the attendants recommended NEC for its initiative efforts to provide a better poll environment.

"I appreciate this move as it offers equal opportunity for us to participate in the general election by voting for candidates of our choice," said Mr Hadil Mohamed Ali, who is Secretary of the Zanzibar National Association of the Blind (ZANAB).


Tanzania: Voters want swift changes as election nears

[Reuters] On the streets and in board rooms, Tanzanians are calling for change as they head to elections next month, demanding growth that reaches the poor, an end to red tape that holds back business and a crackdown on pervasive corruption.

Boasting huge gas reserves, a wealth of mineral deposits, vast tracts of arable land and sandwiched between two African trade blocs, Tanzania could be a regional powerhouse.

Instead, its railways are creaking, power cuts force industry to rely on costly back-up generators, entrepreneurs complain of crippling bureaucracy and plans for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant are making halting progress.

"The country has a lot of resources but the people are not benefiting," said Lucy Faustin Almas, 39, who runs a stall in the sprawling commercial capital and port city of Dar es Salaam.

Voter frustrations

Tanzania's main opposition groups have united for the first time behind one presidential challenger, former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa, who has tapped into some of the frustration and drawn thousands to rallies across the country.

He faces John Magufuli, the front-runner according to two polls and the new candidate for the ruling CCM party, which has dominated the country for more than a decade.

Critics say neither candidate offers a real break from the past – Lowassa only quit the CCM in July. But both have promised to review policy, and the race to the Oct. 25 vote has stoked a popular debate played out on street corners and in the media, a rare sight in a nation led by one party for so long.

Much of the debate has focused on the economy, which continues to lag its neighbors.

Tanzania boasts economic growth of 7 percent a year, yet it is largely driven by state investment, and poverty remains stubbornly high. Annual income per capita at $930 in 2014 was below the Sub-Saharan African average, World Bank figures show.

By comparison, economically free-wheeling Kenya has a bigger economy despite fewer natural resources. State-dominated Ethiopia is growing faster. And Mozambique, once torn apart by war, is moving more swiftly with its LNG plans.

'Lacks business infrastructure'

"It is a country that is ultimately going to be far richer than Kenya because of its resources, but it lacks the business infrastructure for you to do business efficiently," said one Nairobi-based private equity investor, voicing frustration at what he called a "vicious web of bureaucracy".

CCM has ruled over a relatively stable country since independence in 1961 and shifted away from socialism in the 1990s. But executives complain that it shows a lingering distrust of private enterprise.

"Suspicion has been there," acknowledges Abdulrahman Kinana, secretary general of CCM, although he insists that attitudes have changed. "To develop the private sector takes time."

Economists say private business needs a bigger role if Tanzania is to generate the 600,000 to 700,000 new jobs needed each year for the expanding population of 47 million.

For now, most jobs being created are informal, with workers hawking on streets or working from home, rather than joining registered businesses. While cities expand, the rural areas where most people live and work are languishing.

"We have a fast growing population, we have poverty that is refusing to go away, and we have wealth ... but this wealth is concentrated in a few hands," said Ali Mufuruki, chairman of investment firm Infotech.

Hurdles to private business

Private enterprise faces hurdles at every step, he said. His plan for a new shopping mall has faced three years of delays as he seeks approvals. The unwritten rule is that a bribe would ease the way. "I have refused to play that game," he said.

One of his ventures to create low-cost Wifi clouds over remote villages has run into obstacles as officials demand he use state-approved consultants. "What was supposed to be a cheap solution all of a sudden starts becoming expensive."

Industries which should benefit from Tanzania's membership of the East African Community and a southern African trade bloc struggle to compete. Unreliable electricity is a major gripe.

State power firm TANESCO is building new gas-fired plants but is mired in $250 million in arrears to suppliers built up over years. An international economist said this backlog "continues to provide a disincentive for further investment."

It casts a shadow over plans for a multibillion-dollar LNG plant to export gas. Simply building the plant would add two percentage points to economic growth, the central bank says.

But investors have already waited two years or more for a final decision on where to locate the plant.

Former official

Lowassa, running for the opposition UKAWA coalition, has drawn crowds to his rallies but also has a history with the CCM to explain. The 62-year-old quit as prime minister in 2008 over a corruption scandal, although he denied wrongdoing.

Lowassa has promised to review energy and mining contracts, winning approval from the public who complain that foreigners have received a better deal but unnerving some investors.

Outgoing President Jakaya Kikwete, who has served a maximum two terms, was seen as a steady hand but accused by some of indecision. Even Magafuli, 55, has criticized aspects of Kikwete's rule aiming to prove he can deliver change.

He has won public praise as works minister for sacking inefficient contractors and corrupt officials. His party has drawn up a detailed 235-page manifesto, addressing issues down to the village level, to show how citizens will benefit.

But opponents doubt Magufuli can make a difference when he is surrounded by the old party network. "You may be good, but if the people who are working with you are corrupt, the outcome is the same," said trader David Brasiousy.

Cote d'Ivoire: President calls for peace and reconciliation

(Xinhua) -- Cote d'Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara on Monday appealed for reconciliation and peace during his second day of the tour to central-west region of Gagnoa, a stronghold of former president Laurent Gbagbo.

"I have come to Gagnoa to appeal for peace and reconciliation because the population here suffered a lot," Ouattara said during a public rally at the Gagnoa municipal stadium.

The post-election crisis that began after Gbagbo refused to concede defeat to his rival Ouattara during the 2010 presidential elections, left at least 3,000 people dead in the country.

Gbagbo is currently in detention in the Hague awaiting his prosecution for "crimes against humanity" at the International Criminal Court.

"I want a peaceful Cote d'Ivoire, I want peace in Cote d'Ivoire," Ouattara affirmed, condemning political violence that has been witnessed with less than a month before the country holds presidential polls on Oct. 25.

Protests launched by a section of the opposition that is loyal to Gbagbo against Ouattara's validation for October polls, has turned into inter-ethnic clashes that have left at least two people dead in Gagnoa.

"There should be peace for all Cote d'Ivoire people," Ouattara reiterated.

The Cote d'Ivoire president has been on a three day tour to the central-western region of the country since Sunday.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Burkina Faso moves on from failed coup, gears p for election

[Emilie Iob] In the aftermath of the failed coup in Burkina Faso, questions are being raised on how to get the electoral process on track again and whether members of the former ruling party will take part.

But the streets of Burkina Faso's capital city, Ouagadougou, are busy again as people try to move on from the events of September 16, which paralyzed all economic activity for a week.

Saidou Zangre reopened his clothes shop Saturday. "The recovery can't be automatic," he said. "It is also our role to come back into the city center and show people that it's OK, that there is no problem anymore."

The transitional government, led by interim President Michel Kafando, met Friday, two days after he announced he was back in charge.

The decision was made to dissolve the presidential guard, or RSP, the elite unit that was behind the failed coup.

The RSP had said it wanted "inclusive elections" and a reversal of a decree issued by transitional authorities weeks earlier that barred some former members of ex-President Blaise Compaoré's government from running.

Compaoré was ousted last year after he tried to change the constitution to run for another term. He had been in power for 27 years.

Some critics say the RSP's demand was just an excuse to seize power, but approved political candidate Adama Kanazoe said that if the issue had to be debated, he was open to dialogue.

"It is important to find a middle ground so that everybody can feel comfortable in Burkina Faso," he said.

The transitional government also agreed to investigate the failed coup, in which 11 people were killed, while dismissing the putchists' call for an amnesty.

The election, initially set for October 11, is likely to be delayed. No new date has been announced.

Source: VOA

Uganda: Main opposition leader to ditch coalition to go alone in 2016

Uganda’s main opposition leader Kizza Besigye said he and his Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party are making preparations to go it alone in next year’s presidential election unless there is a change in the position of the Democratic Alliance.

This came after the Alliance, a loose coalition of opposition parties, chose former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi as its candidate to challenge President Yoweri Museveni in the 2016 presidential election.

Mao Nobert, a supporter of Mbabazi’s candidacy told VOA last week the Alliance could not reach a consensus with the FDC because Besigye had not bowed out as a candidate for president himself.

FDC reservations

But Besigye, whose supporters believe he should have been the alliance’s candidate because he has the most popular appeal in the country, says his party had several reservations about the candidacy of Mbabazi.

“We had three reservations regarding the candidature of the Honorable Mbabazi. The first was that having been in government for the past 30 years, we did not think that he had demonstrable commitment to the central tenet that we in the opposition have been driving to make sure that we have change in governance,” he said.

Besigye said the second reservation his party has about the candidacy of Mbabazi is that the former prime minister has not shown a “structured” framework within which he’s operating.  He said no one knows who Mbabazi is working with because every time they see him he’s always alone.

He said the third reservation his party has about Mbabazi is no one knows where the former prime minister stands on the key opposition demand for political and electoral reform in Uganda.

Democratic Alliance to stick with Mbabazi

Mao Nobert told VOA last week that the Alliance will continue to support Mbabazi for president with or without Besigye and his supporters.

He said Mbabazi’s team had begun to put in place their strategy for the 2016 election.

“We will discuss whether we can agree on how to cooperate, but the truth is we have reached a fork in the road and each group has chosen a different path. We hope the destination is the same because the goal of the alliance is to unite the democratic forces and win in 2016,” Nobert said.

Besigye also said negotiations with the Alliance have ended and that his party was preparing to go ahead with its campaign. But he said in politics you can never say never. He said despite the concerns raised by the FDC, Mbabazi and his team were determined to offer his leadership to the Alliance.

“If there is a new rethinking in the opposition we remain open-minded,” Besigye said.

FDC: President Museveni has stolen elections

Besigye said the inability of the opposition to choose a consensus candidate is not the only thing that can hurt their chances in 2016. He said the key obstacle is that there has never been a truly free and fair election in Uganda.

“You see Mr. Museveni has never won an election; he has always stolen the election. It’s not the popular support for the opposition for the opposition that is the problem in this country. And that is why focusing on electoral reforms is very critical because Mr. Museveni has a comprehensive control of the election management system. And that makes it much difficult for any candidate. And that is why my campaign will be focusing on empowering citizens to reclaim their power,” he said.

For his part, the Alliance's Mao Nobert said the challenger who can defeat President Museveni is Mbabazi because Mbabazi is a newcomer to the opposition and brings the most recent information about the president and his political machine and the mindset.

“Secondly,” said Nobert, “I do believe sincerely that the public respects novelty. In every society the people respect something new, they gravitate around it, especially when the old has not made a lot of traction."

Besigye said he agrees that former prime minister Mbabazi could have new information about President Museveni and his ruling National Resistance Movement. But he said bringing that information and those advantages would not necessarily require him to be the leader.

Source: VOA

Friday, September 25, 2015

Congo Brazzaville: Opposition to protest president’s third term bid

A Congo Brazzaville opposition leader said the people will take to the streets this Sunday to protest President Denis Sassou Nguesso’s decision to seek a third term.

Guy Kinfoussia Romain, president of the Union for Democracy and Republic party, said Congolese will take a page from Burkina Faso, where civil society and labor unions played a key role in blunting former President Blaise Compaore’s bid to seek a third term and made sure that this month’s military coup did not succeed.

The 72-year-old Sassou Nguesso has ruled oil-producing Congo Brazzaville for 31 years in two separate administrations. But he’s banned by the current constitution from seeking another term, and only candidates under the age of 71 can run.


On Tuesday this week, Sassou Nguesso announced a referendum to change the constitution to allow him to run for a third term in the 2016 election.

“We want to stop the president not to change the constitution. We want to stop him with our people. The people don’t like the president to remain in power; all the people. The people want the president to go in 2016,” Kinfoussia Romain said.

Kinfoussia Romain said President Sassou Nguesso was elected through the constitution and if the constitution says he should leave, he must leave power.

President wants another term

Like President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Sassou Nguesso has also argued that the people of Congo Brazzaville would like for him to seek another term to finish the good work he has been doing for the country.

Responding recently to the situation in Burundi, State Department spokesman John Kirby said: “While the US respects the ability of any parliament to pass legislation that reflects the will of the people it is elected to represent, it does not support those in position of power changing constitutions solely for their political self-interest. When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife – as we’ve seen in Burundi."

Like Rwanda’s President Kagame, Sassou Nguesso also launched a “national dialogue” which found that large majority of Congolese support removing age and term limits.

Kinfoussia Romain said the Congo Brazzaville parliament is a rubber stamp parliament.

“The parliament is not good because elections [in Congo Brazzaville] are not good. The parliament has been chosen by the president; the Constitutional Court is not good; president too is not good; all the things are not good,” he said.

He said the people of Congo Brazzaville find themselves in the same situation as the people of Burkina Faso, and they will take to the streets Sunday.

“We have to protest; we begin Sunday. We are preparing a big meeting next Sunday, all the opposition parties,” Kinfoussia Romain said.

Source: VOA

Cote d’Ivoire elections: What's the worst that could happen?

[Franck Kie] On October 25th, President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire will face at least three main opponents – former Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny, Pascal Affi N’guessan, head of FPI (Ivorian Popular Front), the main opposition party, and Mamadou Koulibaly, former Head of the National Assembly – as he stands for reelection. These upcoming presidential elections which will be the first since a resolution of Cote d’Ivoire’s bloody civil war ended  four years ago have garnered the attention of everybody in the country and also the sub-region where Cote d’Ivoire represents at least one-third of the economy of the West African Economic Monetary Union.

Cote d’Ivoire’s is no stranger to election related violence. In 2002 a coup attempt followed by rebellion lead to a messy split between 2002 and 2010. During this period, the former president Laurent Gbagbo, founder of the FPI faced Alassane Ouattara the current president and head of RDR (Rally of Republicans),  and former President Henri Konan Bedie, head of PDCI (Democratic Party of Cote d’Ivoire), the political party which both led Cote d’Ivoire to independence and ruled for nearly 40 years after.

The 2010 presidential elections were supposed to end nearly 10 years of political crisis which drove away most of the country’s investors and expatriates leading to sluggish  GDP growth, decaying infrastructure and educational institutions.  Unfortunately, the 2010 elections were inconclusive eading to yet another civil war which paralyzed the country for four months until Laurent Gbagbo was ousted with the help of French intervention in April of 2011.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tanzania: Activists warn of post-election violence

By Kevin J Kelley
Tanzanian civil society activists have warned that the country could be convulsed by violence after the October 25 elections, due to "diminishing civic tolerance" among citizens.

The leaders at a recent forum in Washington last week said that Tanzania's international image as a stable, peaceful country may no longer prove valid.

Harold Sungusia, advocacy director at the Legal and Human Rights Centre in Dar es Salaam, said the country faces its first truly competitive election since the reintroduction of multiparty politics in 1992.

Destruction of property occurred in some normally tranquil rural areas during and after local election campaigns early this year, Mr Sungusia said.

"Any place in the country is now potentially a hot spot," he said.

Suspicions that the voting next month may not be conducted freely and fairly are "laying the groundwork for post-election violence," said Mr Sungusia.

That assessment was echoed by Agnes Hanti, director of the Dar office of the New York-based Open Society Foundation.

"If in any way the process is not managed well, there will be violence," said Ms Hanti. She attributed the tensions to resentment on the part of many young Tanzanians regarding the recent actions and long record of the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi.

"The government has passed several draconian laws in recent months limiting freedom of expression and assembly."

The September 17 forum was held in the Washington offices of the Open Society Foundation.

Ms Hanti and Mr Sungusia also said the run-up to the election has raised doubts about the impartiality of the bodies that are overseeing the rules governing the campaign and that will monitor the actual polling.

Awadh Ali Said, president of the Zanzibar Law Society, decried the lack of an appeal mechanism related to decisions made by the National Electoral Commission. Its rulings as well as the officially determined outcome of the election itself cannot be challenged in the courts, said Mr Said.

The activists expressed concerns that Tanzania's reputation for political tranquility is causing outsiders to pay scant attention to the coming election.

"They get away with a lot because they think nobody is watching, nobody cares," Ms Hanti said in regard to government officials.

Panelists were asked by an audience member whether Tanzania could learn lessons from the peaceful conduct of elections in Kenya in 2013 following the violence that ravaged the country in the aftermath of the 2007 elections.

The difference between the two sets of voting is linked to Kenya's adoption of a new Constitution in 2010, said Mr Said. He said the new charter contained guarantees of civic and personal freedoms that were reassuring to most Kenyans.

Tanzania was not able this year to complete drafting of a new constitution of its own, the panelists said. They said public anger over Tanzanian authorities' alleged mis-handling of the constitutional review process accounts in part for the unusually strong political mobilisation now evident in the country.

Many Tanzanians are simply excited by the "unpredictability" surrounding the coming election, Mr Sungusia said. For the first time, it appears that Chama cha Mapinduzi may not sweep to victory, he added.


Tanzania: EU deploys election observation mission for elections

welcome by the Tanzanian powers, the European Union has sent an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Tanzania to watch the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council races which are planned for 25 October.

Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, designated as Chief Observer Judith Sargentini, Member of the European Parliament.

The High Representative expressed: “For over 10 years, the EU has been resolved to go with solid, straightforward and quiet races in Tanzania. I assume that the anticipated races will add to promote consolide Tanzanian’s popular government. Under the authority of Chief Observer Sargentini, I am certain that the EU EOM will make an imperative commitment to this discretionary procedure”.

The Chief Observer, Judith Sargentini, announced: “I am respected to lead the EU EOM to Tanzania. The prospective general decisions will be a key minute in the nation’s advancement and ideally an illustration for the locale on the loose.”

The up and coming decisions are occurring both in Tanzania terrain and in Zanzibar, taking after additionally from the Union structure of the nation.

The EU has as of now firmly took after the early phases of the appointive process and conveyed an EU Election Expert Mission from right on time May until the end of July to survey the Biometric Voter Registration and the more extensive discretionary structure.


This article is the intellectual property of The purpose of penning down this article has been just to share information. Moreover, it is firmly believed that all the information that are revealed in this article are believed to be from reliable sources, however, we do not make any representations or warranties whatsoever of any kind, express or implied, as far as the completeness, accurateness, or reliability with respect to this article is concerned.

Tanzania: Alarm raised over ‘militia training’ in elections

With exactly 34 days to Tanzania’s presidential elections, the National Election Commission (NEC) has raised an alarm over ‘militia training’ in Tanzania elections by some political parties.

On Saturday, the electoral commission called on police to investigate reports that a section of political parties were recruiting youth to cause violence during the polls.

According to the Mail and Guardian, security concerns have been raised ahead of the election that has been described as the most competitive in the country’s history.

“The Commission has received information that certain political parties were preparing to give military training to more than 1,500 youth in order to cause trouble during the elections,” Damian Lubuva, NEC chair, was quoted by Mail and Guardian.

The electoral commission said that even though the reports were coming from only one front, it is important that they are investigated so as to help address any issues that may arise adding that no party is allowed to use a militia or cause violence before, during or after elections.

The commission further says that there are set procedures to address any electoral disputes including the court system.

Reports indicate that early this month, one person was killed following clashes between members of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and the opposition Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema).

However, the campaigns have largely been peaceful but dominated by politics of accusations and finger-pointing.

CCM is hoping to further its political dominance after the October 25th elections with its candidate Dr. John Pombe Magufuli promising to turn-around the country’s development agenda.

Magufuli, a renowned workhorse, is facing the test of his life after the opposition Chadema put up a spirited campaign that has never been witnessed in the country before.

On the other hand, Chadema’s flag-bearer Edward Ngoyai Lowassa is hoping to become the first ever opposition president bringing to an end the over 50 years of CCM’s political dominance.

Chadema also enjoys the support of the youthful population as well as another former Prime Minister  Fredrick Sumaye who also defected from CCM accusing it of unfairness.

Magufuli has served under both outgoing President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete and former President Benjamin Mkapa as a minister with the Roads and Public Works being his latest portfolio.

Lowassa served as the Prime Minister under Kikwete’s leadership and is known for his tough stand and development record.

The two top contenders are among the eight candidates cleared by the electoral commission to run for the presidency.

The question is; Who will get it right on the D-day?


Ghana: Political parties to submit proposals on voters register today

Political parties in the country are expected to present their proposals for a new voters register to the Electoral Commission (EC) today.

The Electoral Commission (EC) at an IPAC meeting months ago, tasked the political parties to make their proposals for the compilation of new register known by September 22, 2015.

The Chairperson of the EC, Madam Charlotte Osei, said a workshop will be organized for the political parties and civil society groups to deliberate on the various proposals.

She, however, indicated that the “basis for coming to a decision at the workshop on the new voters register will certainly not going to be by vote,” since that will amount to abdicating the Commission’s responsibilities.

“The law gives a lot of independence to the Electoral Commission and the reason for that independence is that the Electoral Commission should not act in the interest of one party or in the interest of all parties,” she added.

Madam Osei further clarified that the EC’s decision will be based on the soundness of the proposals submitted by the various parties.

“We are assuming that the proposals that they are bringing will be very sound. So the soundness of proposals, the value for money proposition and whether it is generally reasonable and will promote credible elections are the things we will be looking out for.

“The Electoral Commission is always acting in the interest of Ghanaians. Our job is to create a level plain field for the parties and to ensure democratic stability and that is exactly what we will be doing so we cannot subject it to a vote. We will be listening to the parties,” she explained.

The NPP and PPP made calls for a new voters register to be compiled after the former alleged that about 80,000 Togolese nationals had been registered on the old one.


Burkina : Army urges coup leaders to surrender or face attack

[Reuters] Troops loyal to Burkina Faso's interim government told soldiers behind a coup to disarm and surrender by 10 a.m. on Tuesday or face attack, a senior loyalist officer said.

Soldiers opposed to the rebellion, which was led by ex-spy chief General Gilbert Diendere and the presidential guard, left military bases across the West African nation and converged on the capital on Monday.

They entered parts of the city overnight, and loyalists said the elite presidential guard, which numbers around 1,200 soldiers, had begun negotiations on the conditions of its surrender.

"They have until 10 a.m. to lay down their weapons and surrender at the Camp Sangoule Lamizana," the loyalist officer said, referring to a military barracks west of the capital, Ouagadougou.

The coup derailed a delicate peace process in Burkina Faso, which had been preparing to head to polls on Oct. 11 for a vote aimed at restoring democracy after last year's overthrow of long time leader Blaise Compaore.

Heads of state from West Africa's regional bloc, ECOWAS, were due to meet in Nigeria's capital Abuja on Tuesday to discuss the crisis.

Source: Reuters

Guinea: Violence breaks out ahead of Oct 11 election

Conakry (AFP) - Several people were wounded as supporters of rival political factions clashed in northern Guinea, witnesses said Monday, as tension mounts in the race to elect a new president.

Activists backing opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo and supporters of President Alpha Conde threw stones at each other in the town of Koundara on Sunday, a local police officer said, in the first violence of the campaign.

"The tension had been noticeable since Saturday, when the opposition activists announced an electoral campaign carnival through the city, which the government supporters didn't want," said the source, putting the wounded at 17.

The officer said public and private property was ransacked, including shops owned by traders from the Fulani ethnic group, traditional Diallo loyalists.

"All local opposition leaders were arrested and detained in a military camp by the police on the advice of the majority activists", Hadja Fatoumata Binta Diallo, a lawmaker from Diallo's Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea party, told AFP.

Koundara prefect Sana Sanoussi said police had made around 15 arrests, although the opposition estimated the figure at nearer 30.

In Kankan -- a town in Conde's eastern support base -- government supporters threw stones to prevent a meeting arranged by Sidya Toure, another candidate and former premier, he said.

"This is the last time I'm going to let them stop me holding a campaign meeting in a public place," Toure told a private radio station.

"Kankan is the town of my in-laws. I do not want to create problems here. If this continues, we will prevent government meetings everywhere in Basse Guinee (Lower Guinea), my stronghold," Toure told a private radio station.

Eight contenders including Conde, Diallo and Toure have been approved as candidates for Guinea's second democratic presidential election on October 11.

The ruling party and opposition last month sealed a deal on the organisation of the vote, raising hopes for a peaceful election, but the opposition parties say Conde has reneged on the deal.

Diallo accused Conde last week of making decisions "unilaterally" with election commission chief Bakary Fofana, in "flagrant violation" of the law.

"We are so concerned that we are questioning whether we should even continue to participate in this process," he said.

An observation mission of the European Union began the deployment last week of its first 20 of an eventual 70 observers whole will oversee the elections throughout the country.

Source: AFP

Burkina Faso elections 2015: Coup, transitional government jeopardizing fragile democracy, economy

Burkina Faso’s churning political crisis came to a head Monday as the military converged on the capital Ouagadougou, ordering coup soldiers to lay down their arms and rejoin the armed forces without bloodshed. Hours later, Gen. Gilbert Diendere, who seized power in a coup last week, apologized to the West African nation for the power grab and said he would relinquish power to a civilian transitional government.

The week of deadly protests and clashes have stalled Burkina Faso's fragile economy and raised questions about forthcoming general elections less than a year after ousted ruler Blaise Compaore was forced to resign and a transitional government assumed power. Regional mediators have tried in recent days to broker a deal to restore civilian rule and hold elections by Nov. 22, but people on both sides of the political impasse have rejected terms of the proposal.

"This is not a recipe for political stability going forward," said J. Peter Pham, director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington.

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Burkina Faso: UN condemns coup

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations human rights chief Friday condemned the coup d’état in Burkina Faso and called for the immediate release of the country’s transitional leaders.

President Michel Kafando, Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida and several Government ministers were detained on Wednesday by elements of the Régiment de sécurité présidentielle while they were at a meeting in the capital, Ouagadougou.

“The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms the coup d’état in Burkina Faso. He reiterates that all Burkinabé officials under detention must be released immediately and demands the resumption of the country's political transition, in accordance with Burkina Faso’s Constitution and Transitional Charter,” said a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.

“The Secretary-General deplores the violence reported in the country and calls on the Burkinabé defence and security forces to exercise restraint and ensure respect for the human rights and security of all Burkinabé citizens. Those responsible for the coup d’état and its consequences must be held accountable.”

High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a statement that he is “extremely concerned” at the military coup in Burkina Faso. “The arrest and detention of the President, the Prime Minister and two ministers of the Transitional Government by members of the Presidential Security Regiment is unacceptable.

He stressed that the detainees should be treated with dignity and humanity, and released immediately. “I also urge the coup leaders to avoid any use of force, particularly in the context of anti-coup demonstrations, and to respect the rights of the population to demonstrate peacefully.”

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, is presently in Ouagadougou and working closely with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union and other international partners to support and safeguard the transition in Burkina Faso.

The UN, ECOWAS and AU issued a joint statement in which they demanded that the defense and security forces submit themselves to the political authority and in the current context, to the transitional authorities. They also reiterate their full support to the transition in this crucial period ahead of the elections scheduled for 11 October, and reaffirmed their determination to support the national authorities to ensure the successful completion of the transition process.

The members of the Security Council, in a statement issued to the press, condemned the detention “in the strongest terms” and demanded that the leaders be released safely and immediately.

“The members of the Security Council expressed their strong support to the transitional authorities of Burkina Faso and urged all actors to comply with the transitional calendar, notably the holding of free, fair and credible elections, scheduled for 11 October 2015.”

Source: UN

Burkina Faso: President, PM are safe - New leader

The head of Burkina Faso's new ruling council said Thursday that the interim president and prime minister were safe in military custody and would soon be released.

Brigadier General Gilbert Diendere spoke to VOA's French-to-Africa service, one day after soldiers overthrew the West African country's transitional government and arrested its leaders.

The general said the military staged the coup because the country's political process was biased. He said he would start a political dialogue that included all parties.

Burkina Faso was scheduled to hold general elections October 11.  That date is now in limbo.

At least three people were reported killed as young protesters tried to gather near the presidential palace in Ouagadougou, and the U.S. Embassy said roadblocks had been put up across the city.

In Washington, the White House strongly condemned what it called any extra-constitutional attempt to take power.  The deputy head of the African Union Commission, Erastus Mwencha, demanded Thursday that the military leaders immediately hand back power to the transitional government.

"Any government that is unconstitutional is automatically condemned because we believe in the rule of law that any change of power must follow the constitutional process," Mwencha said.

He also appealed to people not to cooperate with the military takeover.

The interim government took power in Burkina Faso last October when a popular uprising toppled President Blaise Compaore, who had been in power for 27 years. He had planned to change the constitution so he could extend his rule.

The transitional government barred supporters of the toppled president from seeking office, and a national reconcilation commission had recommended that Compaore's powerful presidential guard be disbanded.

A soldier on state-run television announced Thursday that the transitional government had been dissolved and interim President Michel Kafando had been stripped of his duties. Diendere — a longtime ally of Compaore — was named chairman of what the military called the "National Council for Democracy."

The U.N. Security Council demanded that the president and prime minister be released, and it condemned the detentions in the "strongest terms."  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was outraged and called the takeover a "flagrant violation" of Burkina Faso's constitution.

Source: VOA News

Burkina Faso: Protesters killed in demonstration against military coup

At least three people have been killed and 60 injured during street clashes in Burkina Faso's capital as protesters demonstrated against a military coup, a senior source in the main hospital has said.

Witnesses said that soldiers fired warning shots on Thursday to disperse crowds gathering in the streets of Ouagadougou, who responded by throwing stones.

The military had taken to the airwaves earlier on Thursday to declare it now controlled the country, confirming that a coup has taken place on Wednesday - just weeks before national elections.

Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general, called for the country's military to "exercise restraint".

Ban condemned "in the strongest terms" the coup led by a close ally of toppled former leader Blaise Compaore.

"Those responsible for the coup d'etat and its consequences must be held accountable," he said in a statement.

In a statement, Susan Rice, the US national security adviser, said: "We call on the responsible parties to release immediately those being detained, order aligned forces to stand down, respect the rights of civilians to peacefully assemble, and put Burkina Faso back on the path to presidential elections in October.

"We are deeply disappointed that the self-interested actions of a few are threatening the historic opportunity that the people of Burkina Faso have to cast their ballots and build a new future for the country."

The statements came a day after members of the elite presidential guard unit of the military arrested the transitional president and prime minister.

A communique read by Lieutenant Colonel Mamadou Bamba criticised the electoral code, which blocked members of the former president's party from taking part in the October 11 elections.

Anyone who supported the former president's bid to amend the

constitution so he could seek another term is also banned from running.

Bamba on Thursday announced the beginning of a "coherent, fair and equitable process" that would lead to inclusive elections. The power grab violates the country's constitution.

Burkina Faso was due to hold elections on October 11 that many hoped would strengthen democracy.

Cynthia Ohayon, West Africa analyst with International Crisis Group (ICG), described the turn of events as "unsurprising".

"It is still very unclear how this crisis will now resolve itself [...] the only outcome will come through negotiation and compromise [but] I don't see what sort of of compromise will be acceptable to both sides, considering both sides have gone all in so far," Ohayon told Al Jazeera from Paris.

The transitional government came to power after the president for 27 years, Blaise Compaore, was toppled late last year in a public uprising.

Source: Al Jazeera And Agencies

Guinea-Bissau: Ruling party appoints third PM in 5 weeks

[Reuters] Guinea-Bissau's ruling party selected veteran politician Carlos Correia as prime minister on Thursday after two predecessors were removed in the space of weeks in the coup-prone West African state.

The country descended into political turmoil after President Jose Mario Vaz removed popular prime minister Domingoes Simoes Pereira and his government on Aug. 13.

Vaz replaced him with Baciro Dja, despite objections from the ruling PAIGC party, but he and his government were dismissed two days later to comply with a Supreme Court ruling.

"The political bureau of the liberating party of the country has ... designated Carlos Correia, second vice president of the party," Pereira, former prime minister and PAIGC president, told reporters.

It was not clear whether Vaz would accept the party's PM nomination.

Correia, one of several PAIGC vice presidents, served as prime minister on three occasions between 1991 and 2008. According to the party, the octogenarian initially refused Thursday's nomination because of health issues, but eventually agreed because of strong relationships with Vaz and Pereira.

No elected president in Guinea-Bissau has served a complete term since independence from Portugal in 1974. The country has reported nine coups or attempted coups since 1980.

Source: Reuters

Burkina Faso: Ghana condemns coup

The Government of Ghana has condemned the coup in neighbouring Burkina Faso.
Presidential guard officers in Burkina Faso on Thursday seized power in a coup, with reports of more than 10 deaths amid protests in the capital, Ouagadougou the BBC reported.

A close ally of former President Blaise Compaore has been named the country's new leader, the Burkina Faso's state television reported.

The US, France and the African Union (AU) have all condemned the coup in the former French colony. Those killed were said to have been shot dead by presidential guard forces in the capital, a civil society group said.

A statement signed by Ghana's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Hannah Tetteh said Ghana has followed with grave concern the events unfolding in "our sister country Burkina Faso from Wednesday 16th September, 2015 and the tension created due to the destabilisation of the transitional process."

"The Government of Ghana condemns in no uncertain terms the coup d’état announced on Thursday 17th September, 2015 in Ouagadougou, which has truncated the process put in place to restore Burkina Faso to constitutional rule by October 2015."

"It is regrettable that an internationally brokered process to promote the principle of entrenching democracy and constitutional governance in Burkina Faso has been violated with impunity."

To this end, the government of Ghana reiterates the need to uphold the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the immediate and unconditional release of the Transitional President and the Prime Minister as well as the restoration of the transitional process, the statement said.

It added that the government of Ghana further emphasizes the need for the safety of members of the Transitional Government and the general public.

Within the context of the need to promote peace and security in our sub-region, the Government of Ghana calls on the sisterly people of Burkina Faso to remain calm and exercise restraint in the wake of the current crisis. All political stakeholders should therefore embrace dialogue to ensure the protection and preservation of lives.

The sisterly people of Burkina Faso can count on the continued support of the Government and people of Ghana at this difficult time.


Burkina Faso: AU demands reinstatement of deposed transitional government

[VOA] The deputy chairman of the African Union Commission on Thursday condemned the overthrow of the administration in Burkina Faso and said the AU had demanded that military leaders immediately return power to the transitional government.

Erastus Mwencha said the AU Peace and Security Council would meet soon to review the situation in Burkina Faso and decide the organization’s next line of action.

The overthrow of the government Wednesday in Ouagadougou came less than three weeks before the scheduled general election on October 11. The election is aimed at ushering in a new, democratically elected leadership in the West African country.

The AU has often stated it is opposed to the forceful or unconstitutional seizure of power.

“We have demanded that the military junta that has now officially announced that it is a coup hand over power to the transitional authority that was there: the president, the prime minister and other relevant authorities,” Mwencha said. “Any government that is unconstitutional is automatically condemned, because we believe in the rule of law that any change of power must follow the constitutional process.”

Calling for calm

Mwencha called for calm in Burkina Faso as the African Union finds ways to resolve the situation.

“We can appeal for people not to cooperate, until such time that this military junta is really made to surrender power or any other actions that will be taken,” he said.

The Burkinabe presidential guard, which staged the coup, has appointed Brigadier General Gilbert Diendere, a former chief of security of former President Blaise Compaore, as chairman of the new ruling National Council for Democracy.  

Compaore stepped down last October, following popular protests against his plans to amend the constitution.  He had ruled for 27 years.

Diendere told VOA's French-to-Africa service Thursday that the military staged the coup against the transitional government because the country's political process was biased.  He said he would start a political dialogue that included all parties and would lead to elections at a date to be determined.

The transitional government had barred Compaore supporters from seeking office, and a national reconciliation commission had recommended the powerful presidential guard be disbanded.

'No justification'

Mwencha said the African Union had poll observers in Burkina Faso ready to monitor the October general election.

“There is no justification whatsoever for this [military] to do this, especially at this point. And for that matter, if they don’t accede to the demand, we have also through the chairperson of the African Union convened the meeting of the Peace and Security Council, so that the Peace and Security Council can examine the state of matter, and then take the necessary steps as would be decided by the Security Council,” he said.

Mwencha said sanctions against masterminds of the military coup would be considered as the AU Peace and Security Council considered ways to address the government overthrow.

He said the AU was working closely with the regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States, and the U.N. Security Council to address Burkina Faso's situation, "so that we can face this as one.”

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Burkina Faso: Presidential guard 'dissolves' interim government

Burkina Faso's transitional government has been dissolved by the presidential guard (RSP).

A member of the RSP has appeared on state TV and announced that all transitional institutions have been dissolved.

It is the first announcement by the RSP since they seized the interim President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Isaac Zida at a cabinet meeting at the presidential palace in the capital, Ouagadougou.

So it looks like this is a coup.

The move comes two days after a commission recommended the disbanding of the RSP.

Violent mass protests that included setting parliament on fire forced long-serving Mr Compaore out of office in October 2014.

Source: BBC

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Guinea: Meet the 8 presidential candidates

[By Mathieu Olivier] Candidates for the Guinean presidential election, scheduled for 11 October are known. Presentation of the eight contenders for the presidency, who filed their applications before the deadline of 1 September.

Guinea: government and opposition signed a political agreement for a peaceful presidential
In 2010, they were 24 to run for the highest office in Guinea. They are only eight this year. Seven men and a woman have filed their applications in time, before 1 st September and have fulfilled the sum of 800 million Guinean francs.

Five of them, already five years ago, are patrons of the presidential election. The other three are novices figure. Jeune Afrique made ​​the introductions.

Alpha Condé (RPG)

Favorite to succeed himself as many past presidents, despite the potential alliance of convenience between Diallo and Moussa Dadis Camara, the current head of the state has every intention of re-enlist. "Those who prevent me from succeeding are not yet born," he threw in an interview with Jeune Afrique in May. The message is clear to Diallo, leader of the opposition.

Determined to stay above the fray until the campaign, Alpha Conde continues to be inflexible, either on the local elections, which his opponents would organize before the presidential election, or in the case file concerning Moussa Dadis Camara. At 77, the occupant of Sékhoutoureya unabated.

Diallo (UFDG)

Nominee July 25 by his party, the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG), Diallo, 63, does not beat around the bush: he hopes to "change the course of history" of the Guinea. The losing candidate in the 2010 presidential continues to challenge the legitimacy of President Alpha Condé, accusing him of having manipulated the ethnic issue to come to power.

If he has failed to achieve the organization of local elections before the presidential Diallo played the card of political alliance, controversial even in his party, with former junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara. The latter, charged July 8 in Ouagadougou by Guinean magistrates investigating the massacre of 28 September 2009, could fetch many voices in Forest Guinea.

Sidya Touré (UFR)

Prime Minister from 1996 to 1999, Sydia Touré second opposition figure, is since 2000 the president of the Union of Republican Forces (UFR). Candidate in the 2010 presidential election, he won 13% of votes in the first round, coming in third. He was then asked to vote Diallo in the second round, ushering in a de facto alliance between the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea and his own party.

This, however, ended in July when Sydia Touré said he wanted to regain his freedom. Licensee Business Law and a graduate of the National School of Treasury in Paris, he was sworn in on 22 August by the Faculty and advocates, to 70 years for a consensual and non communitarian behind his candidacy person .

Lansana Kouyate (SARP)

The candidate of the Party of Hope for National Development (SARP) is convinced of his victory in the presidential election of 11 October. The former prime minister has said on Tuesday 1 st September to journalists present at the presentation of his case to the Constitutional Court, not wanting to hear about a "sense of defeat."

Very critical of the electoral roll, the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) or local elected officials, whom he accuses of being subservient to power, this native of maritime Guinea, a former diplomat and economist, had arrived at the fourth Presidential 2010, with 7.75% of votes. Lansana Kouyate, 65, had then allied with Alpha Condé.

Papa Koly Kourouma (GRUP)

Facebook profile.
The former Minister adviser to the president, sworn in August 21 by his party, Generations for Reconciliation, the Union and Prosperity (GRUP) starts for the second time in the race. Fifth Presidential 2010, with 5.74% of votes in the first round, he was one of the architects of the election of Alpha Condé. But Papa Koly Kourouma has gradually distanced himself from the head of state, even closer to the opponent Diallo.

He criticized in particular the tenant Sékhoutoureya not honoring its commitments and affirms the Condé candidate had then promised to appoint the Prime Minister or President of the National Assembly. A native of Guinea forest, Papa Koly Kourouma had said he would fade from the presidential race if Camara managed to drop his case.

Georges Gandhi Tounkara (UGDD)

Facebook profile.
The former Minister of Higher Education, to the head of the Guinean Union for Democracy and Development (UGDD) in March 2015, was also a candidate in the presidential election. "Before the misery of the population, poverty, distress and growing unemployment, given the enrichment of some and the impoverishment of others, (...) we must offer something better," said he has 31 August told reporters.

Georges Gandhi Tounkara asserted, however, that its effective participation in the election would be subject to the implementation of the Global Political Agreement signed on 20 August. It notably calls for changes in the electoral register and adjustments in the composition of the CENI.

Faya Lansana Millimono (BL)

Facebook profile.
This time, Lansana Millimono Faya decided to appear in person. Former director of the presidential campaign of 2010 New Generation for the Republic (NGR) of Abe Sylla, now rallied Alpha Condé, he was invested candidate of the Liberal Bloc.

Very clever, however one that will measure the true extent of this party, which has not participated in the last parliamentary elections in 2013 and has struggled to meet the 800 million Guinean francs necessary for the submission of the application. Recently campaign in Forest Guinea, a supporter of the return of Moussa Dadis Camara in the country, Faya Lansana Millimono particularly criticizes the economic balance of the outgoing president, whom he accused of using Ebola to camouflage its failure.

Marie Madeleine Dioubaté (PEG)

Facebook profile.
The only woman in the presidential election will have waited until the last moment, Tuesday, September 1, to file his application. President of the Party of Ecologists of Guinea, daughter of a former opponent of the regime of Sékou Touré, Mary Magdalene Dioubaté will be challenged and is preparing to play the card of the technique.

With projects it has flown throughout the country, especially in agriculture, it says it wants to fight against poverty and underdevelopment, especially in the area of ​​housing and health, noting that women and Young people are particularly affected. Marie Madeleine Dioubaté will be the second woman, after Daraba Saran Camara in 2010 to be presidential candidate in Guinea.

Source: Jeune Afrique

Guinea: EU deploys 70 observers for elections

[By Diawo Barry - In Conakry]
The election observer mission of the European Union began to deploy in Guinea on Tuesday for the presidential election on October 11. Ultimately, it should have 70 members.

Five days before arrival in Guinea, a team of 20 election observers from the European Union, on the expected 70, was deployed this Tuesday, September 15 in ten prefectures eight administrative regions plus Kissidougou prefectures in Forest Guinea and Siguiri in Upper Guinea. Its objective is "to observe and analyze the entire electoral process in order to achieve an impartial assessment, neutral and objective," said Mathieu Merino, Deputy Chief Observer of the Election Observation Mission of the Union European, EU EOM.

The latter includes, in addition to deputy chief, six analysts specialized in the legal, electoral, political, and those media and data processing. "The observers will contact all election stakeholders, continues Mathieu Merino, including branches of the Independent National Electoral Commission, the security forces, the candidates for president or their representatives, public authorities, the Civil society, the media and national and international observers. "

The turnaround of Condé Afa

The mission covers the whole electoral process and logistical preparations for the campaign until the announcement of results and possible electoral disputes. Upon his arrival in Conakry, the observer team followed a four-day training on "logistics mission-specific and legal, political, electoral and media specific to Guinea."

Note that the EU EOM in its third experience in Guinea, after the presidential elections in 2010 and parliamentary elections in 2013. President Alpha Conde had initially said he wanted to do without international assistance. Then he returned to his position as a result of talks in January with UN representatives and the European Union on the sidelines of the Davos economic summit and the African Union in Addis Ababa.

Source: Jeune Afrique

Guinea: Opposition threatens to boycott presidential election again

Diallo, the head of the Guinean opposition, expressed Tuesday, 15 September his doubts about the introduction of a fair and transparent presidential elections for October 11. He believes that President Alpha Condé fixed all decisions with Bakary Fofana [president of the CENI] unilaterally, without consultation and in flagrant violation of the law and the political agreement signed with the government in August. "We are so concerned that questions the same opportunity to continue to participate in this process," he explained, reviving old threats to boycott the election.

"We do not have to give strategic advice to the opposition but I am convinced that no one would understand that the opposition boycotted the election at this stage of the process and despite the involvement of the international community," responded Meanwhile Albert Damantang Camara, spokesman of the government, in response to about Diallo. Camara particular judge very clear and very encouraging review of the organization of the poll, compiled by a joint mission of the UN, the African Union, the West African States Economic Community (ECOWAS) and the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), which ended Monday night.

Some progress

In a statement, the four organizations have noted the significant progress in the implementation of the Political Agreement of 20 August stating the recomposition of special delegations - communal executives appointed by the lack of voting power at that level since 2005 - as well as progress in the revision of the electoral register. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for West Africa, has meanwhile assured that the opposition representation problem within the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) is set , like that special delegations.

International observers

The spokesman of the opposition, Aboubacar Sylla, for his part Monday accused the CENI not to give access to technical information for the revision of electoral lists contested by opponents of Alpha Condé, who denounce the inclusion of Minors in favorable regions in power. "The opposition will not endorse a situation that will bring in elections whose results are pre-programmed and which will allow Mr. Alpha Conde to succeed himself outside of the votes cast by the Guineans "he warned, announcing that the opposition could lead the protests.

To ensure the integrity of the ballot, an observation mission of the European Union Tuesday 20 observers deployed throughout the country, whose numbers are expected to reach 70 forward observers, divided into teams of two. In a decision issued on September 11, the day after the official opening of the election campaign, the High Authority for Communication (HAC) has banned any media to communicate any result whatsoever until the proclamation of the Ceni Preliminary results of presidential elections.

Source: By Jeune Afrique with AFP

Cote d'Ivoire: Opposition alleges dozens were arrested after protests

[Reuters] ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST—A coalition of Ivory Coast opposition figures said Tuesday that dozens of its members were rounded up on the street or at their homes in the wake of protests last week against President Alassane Ouattara's bid for a second term, a spokesman said.

At least one person was killed, others were injured and property was damaged in two days of demonstrations against the constitutional court's validation of Ouattara's candidacy for an October 25 presidential election.

Before winning power in an election in 2010, Ouattara was twice excluded from running for office as opponents questioned his national origins. The issue of identity was among the central causes of years of turmoil, including civil wars in 2002 and 2011.

A spokesman for the National Coalition for Change (CNC), the opposition bloc that called the protests, said 21 of its members were arrested in the commercial capital, Abidjan, while eight more were detained in the towns of Gagnoa and Adzope.

"They are in police custody. The police took them all either from their homes or in the street," Cesar Etou said.

Next month's vote in the world's top cocoa grower, which Ouattara is heavily favored to win, is meant to close the door on the crisis years and reassure investors drawn to the country's rapid postwar economic revival.

Police and interior ministry officials were not immediately available to respond to the CNC's arrest claims.

Government spokesman Bruno Kone told Reuters he was not aware of any arrests but said the authorities were within their rights to detain anyone responsible for inciting violence.

"We don't arrest people who haven't done anything," he said. "There are some who have an agenda, and we know it. They absolutely made trouble and we must not allow them a free hand."

Monday, September 14, 2015

ECOWAS wants peaceful elections in Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea and Burkina

Yesterday at an extraordinary summit in Dakar, the Heads of State of ECOWAS have examined the preparations ahead of the presidential elections in Ivory Coast, Guinea and Burkina Faso, as well as the political crisis in Guinea-Bissau .

Invited by the Senegalese Macky Sall, president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), eight of the fifteen heads of state were present for this special summit in Dakar, with the notable exceptions of Muhammadu Buhari (Nigeria), Mahamadou Issoufou (Niger) and John Dramani Mahama (Ghana).

Alassane Ouattara Ivorian and Guinean Alpha Condé, who both have a new mandate in October, but the Burkinabe Michel Kafando, whose country holds presidential and legislative elections within a month to end the transitional regime were primarily concerned with the agenda, partly devoted to preparing the coming elections in the three countries of the subregion.

"The prospects are quite good"

"Our electoral appointments should be neither more nor less than normal Republican deadlines giving rise to an open competition, healthy and soothed. By recent experiences in our sub-region and aspirations given here, I am convinced that the prospects are quite good, "said Macky Sall after construction.

ECOWAS calls notably for the setting up of an electoral process "inclusive" and peaceful in Burkina Faso. In July, the Court of Justice invalidated the election code Burkinabe making ineligible any person who supported the proposed constitutional amendment Compaore. But in Ouagadougou, the Constitutional Council has not followed these recommendations and excluded candidates of the Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP) party of the ousted president, presidential and legislative. Two former ministers of the last government of "Blaise" Djibril Bassolé and Yacouba Ouédraogo, also saw their candidates for the highest office readjusted.

Refusing to face lower arm what they see as a miscarriage of justice and a violation of democracy, Achille Tapsoba and Léonce Koné, first and second vice-chairmen of the CDP were present on the sidelines of the summit in Dakar to plead their case to the Heads of State of the subregion.

Guinea-Bissau and terrorism

The current political crisis in Guinea-Bissau was the other big issue closely studied by the leaders of ECOWAS. This country known for its political instability is now immersed in a major institutional crisis on top of the state, born of the conflict between President José Mario Vaz and his former prime minister, Domingo Simoes Pereira. Faced with this situation indecisive, heads of West African States have recommended an amendment to its Constitution and the extension until June 2016, the Ecomib, the mission deployed there by ECOWAS.

The fight against terrorism, particularly in Mali and Nigeria, as well as the current migration crisis - which will be the subject of an international summit which will be attended Macky Sall, on 11 and 12 November in Valletta, Malta - have also addressed by members of ECOWAS. They have thus called for a strengthening of the mandate and equipment of Minusma, the UN mission in Mali, while the peace is still threatened by rivalries between armed groups and pro anti-government in Northern countries.


Niger: Former speaker of parliament to lead opposition in Feb 2016 elections

Hama Amadou was on Sunday, invested as the candidate  of Nigerian Democratic Movement (Moden) for the February 2016 presidential election, the first to officially declare intentions for this election.

The former Speaker of Parliament, Hama Amadou, exiled in France for a year, was invested o Sunday, September 13th candidate in the 2016 presidential election by his party, the Nigerian Democratic Movement (Moden).

"We decided to invest Hama Amadou, who is the only hope for Niger, candidate for the 2016 presidential election," said in a statement Moden third political force. It is the first candidate officially declared the presidential vote, whose first round, coupled with legislation, is expected February 21, 2016.

Hama Amadou was invested in his absence by an extraordinary congress of Moden in Zinder, in the presence of thousands of his supporters and opposition leaders. Opponent of President Mahamadou Issoufou, he had hurriedly left the country in late August 2014 after approval by the members of his court hearing in a suspected baby trafficking case.

Amadou - Issoufou, personal rivalry?

Twenty people, continued in this folder "assumption of children," crime of attributing motherhood of a child to a woman not having given birth. All are accused of involvement in trafficking babies were conceived in Nigeria and brought to Niger.

Hama Amadou for many months denounced a "political issue" to "the rule of the presidential" while the government talks about a "common-law record." "This case has been used as a pretext to be able to stop. It is a political issue. And no legal procedures for lifting the immunity of a Member, let alone the president of the National Assembly, was respected, "he said Sept. 15 in Jeune Afrique.

Expressing convinced qu'Issoufou was ready to eliminate it, he claimed while the president or his family "would have brought a poison Libya, whose effects would not have occurred a few months after ingestion." "This gentleman has problems with the justice of his country, not with the president or with the government," responded Mahamadou Issoufou.

Pre-election tension

The climate has recently tended to Niger, to the point that the UN asked, Thursday, September 10, the "subsided and credible" elections to guarantee the "stability". Opponents accuse for many months the President Issoufou to cause splits in their training to ensure his reelection.

In August, the opposition has mostly rejected the timetable set by the Electoral Commission, alleging a lack of "consensus." Criticizing the Constitutional Court, which validates the applications and the results of the elections for his "allegiance" to the president, including calls it an audit of the electoral roll and the holding of local elections ahead of the presidential election.

"I did not intend to change the composition of the electoral commission, nor to interfere in its decisions" about it was answered Mahamadou Issoufou, in the interview with Jeune Afrique  above. His interior minister, Hassoumi Massaoudou, had also ruled out any change in the schedule, a few days earlier.


DRC: Opposition ditches talks with president Kabila

The leading opposition party in Democratic Republic of Congo has called off talks with representatives of President Joseph Kabila, leaving the two sides deadlocked ahead of next year’s presidential election.

Delegates representing the ruling party, Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) and Kabila had been meeting in Europe to discuss the conditions for a national dialogue to pave way for next year’s November election in which Kabila is ineligible to stand.

Critics accuse President Kabila of trying to cling on to power beyond the end of his second elected term next year. They say this is in violation of the constitution.

UDPS President Etienne Tshisekedi issued a statement late Sunday from Brussels, where he has been receiving medical treatment since August 2014, saying the negotiations had failed.

He said that he hoped the differences over upcoming elections could still be resolved through dialogue. The opposition has dismissed the packed calendar of more than a dozen local, provincial and national elections in the next 14 months as a ploy to delay the presidential vote.

The president’s election, which could be DRC’s first ever peaceful transition of power is increasingly doubtful after the constitutional court last week ordered the election commission to revisit the calendar, saying that the budgetary and political constraints have made it unsustainable.

A coalition of opposition parties has called for a mass demonstration in the capital, Kinshasa, on Tuesday to demand that Kabila step down next year. Mavungu said the UDPS would not be participating.


Gabon: President appoints new opposition figure as senior minister

Gabon’s President on Sunday named a new opposition figure to a senior ministerial post, just one day after another senior opposition leader declined the post, undermining the president’s effort to forge a united government ahead of next year’s elections.

President Ali Bongo named Mathieu Mboumba Nziengui, executive secretary of the opposition Union of the Gabonese People, or UPG, as the minister of state for agriculture.

Dieudonné Moukagni Iwangou, the leader of another wing of the UPG wing, rejected the same offer, calling for political change in the oil-rich central African country.

The reshuffle, announced in a presidential decree on Friday, expanded the cabinet to 41 members from 34 initially, and was seen as an attempt by the president to silence his critics who claim that his family dominates the Gabonese political scene since independence in 1960.

The UPG has been divided into 3 wings since the death of its founder, Pierre Mamboundou in 2011.

Iwangou has been one of the most outspoken voices in the opposition, and the president of the Opposition Front for Change – a coalition of groups dedicated to ending the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party’s 47 years in power.

The president also named technocrat Jean Sylvain Bekale Nze as minister for town planning and housing after Jean-Robert Endamane, from the Bongo-allied RPG party, refused the post, saying he had never been consulted about the appointment.


Libya: Rival governments reach 'consensus'

Libya's rival governments have reached a "consensus" on the main elements of a political agreement, a U.N. special envoy told reporters early Sunday.

Bernardino Leon said in Skhirat, Morocco that the two sides were able to "overcome their differences" on major outstanding issues, increasing the likelihood of signing a long-awaited agreement to form a unity government this month.

He called it the first time "that we have the possibility to make it and to have this agreement with the all the parties, all the key parties in Libya onboard," adding that both sides have made compromises.

"We know that it is going to require a lot of work, but we believe that it will be possible to reach this deadline of the 20th of September with an agreement that will be signed," said Leon.

The most recent text of the draft agreement was not immediately available.

Since the 2011 overthrow and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Libya has slid into chaos. The country is divided between an Islamist-backed government in Tripoli and the internationally recognized government in Tobruk.

Leon has been trying to get the parties to present candidates for prime minister and two deputies to lead a national unity government to bring the war-torn country out of its crisis.

He said the Tripoli government has been given 48 hours to submit names for leadership positions in a unity government, adding that the Tobruk-based government has already provided names.

Source: Associate Press

Mozambique: Opposition leader attacked by unidentified gunmen

Unidentified assailants opened fire on Saturday night against the motorcade of Afonso Dhlakama, leader of Mozambique's former rebel movement Renamo, wounding four members of the Renamo militia, reports the independent television station STV.

That afternoon Dhlakama had addressed a rally in Macossa district, in the central province of Manica. The attack took place at about 19.00, as Dhlakama's motorcade was heading for the provincial capital, Chimoio.

At Chibata, about 20 kilometres outside Chimoio, the motorcade came under fire from the side of the road. Some of the Renamo militiamen fired back and attempted to pursue the attackers.

A journalist from the Portuguese news agency, Lusa, who was accompanying the motorcade witnessed the ambush and claimed it was carried out by members of the Rapid Intervention Unit (UIR), the Mozambican riot police.

However, Dhlakama himself, when interviewed by STV, did not mention the police, and merely said he was sure that the attack was the work of the ruling Frelimo Party. He claimed that “the communists of Frelimo” had always attempted “to eliminate me physically”. He warned that, if they were to succeed, somebody “much worse” would take over Renamo.

Dhlakama said his bodyguards advised him to keep moving, but instead he ordered the motorcade to stop. It only resumed the journey to Chimoio at about 20.30, and some of the Renamo armed men made the journey on foot.

It is not clear how the Lusa reporter could be so certain of the identity of the assailants. By 19.00 it is dark in the Mozambican bush, making it difficult, if not impossible, to make a positive identification of people shooting from the side of the road.

A Manica police spokesperson, interviewed by STV, denied that any of the government defence and security forces were involved in the ambush. He did not venture a guess as to who might have been responsible.

STV went to the Manica provincial hospital in Chimoio, hoped to speak to the injured Renamo members. But hospital staff told them that nobody injured in the ambush had been admitted to the hospital.

Dhlakama now intends to travel to Beira. He promised that he would not retaliate for the ambush.


Friday, September 11, 2015

Uganda: Electoral Commission rejects bias allegations

Uganda’s opposition and civil society groups have accused the electoral commission of bias and hypocrisy after the electoral body harshly warned former Prime Minister Patrick Amama Mbabazi to desist from “consulting” with his supporters.

The groups said it appeared that the electoral commission was doing the bidding of incumbent President Yoweri Museveni and his ruling National Resistance Movement to scuttle Mbabazi’s quest to contest next year’s presidential election.

Mbabazi was recently the general secretary of the ruling party until he fell out with Museveni. He has since declared his intention to challenge the president in next year’s poll.

Ugandan law prevents people from official campaigning or addressing public mass rallies until they have been nominated to represent a political party ahead of an election.

Jotham Taremwa, spokesman for the electoral commission, said, “We have not yet carried out nominations. These aspirants are supposed to be conducting consultations and getting signatures using their agents, but if somebody defies that and goes about campaigning and addressing public rallies, [between] the electoral commission and that aspirant, who is right under the law? Definitely, we are right.”

Critics said the electoral commission was to blame for the confusion, issuing nomination forms to aspirants before releasing clear and specific guidelines for consultative meetings.

“We put out a road map indicating the activities and their timeframe. … Mbabazi knows there is a difference between conducting consultation and conducting campaigns or addressing rallies. My request to him is that he gets back and follows the law. He should not be the person breaking the law," Taremwa said.

Local media quoted opposition Democratic Party Secretary General Mathias Nsubuga as saying the electoral body’s focus on Mbabazi was an act of “double standards.”

“We have always said the EC belongs to NRM, and we have been vindicated," he said. "Mr. Mbabazi is advertising himself to the people who are going to nominate him as a presidential aspirant. EC is playing politics and we condemn their actions.”

The opposition has demanded an independent electoral commission, saying the current electoral body only does the bidding of the ruling NRM.

Source: VOA

Cote d'Ivoire: Court clears 10 candidates for Oct presidential election

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara faces a fragmented opposition in his bid for re-election next month.  No less than 33 candidates had applied to run, with the Constitutional Court clearing a final 10.

Ten candidates, eight men and two women, will compete in the October 25th presidential election in Ivory Coast.

One of the questions the country's Constitutional Council had to answer was whether incumbent Alassane Ouattara was eligible to run again.  Some of his opponents claimed he did not meet all the criteria, but the council president, Mamadou Kone, concluded he did.

He said that after inspecting Ouattara's application he found it to be in keeping with the electoral legal requirements, and his name will be added to the final list of candidates to run for the presidency.

Before the announcement, police deployed around the Constitutional Court building in Abidjan.

The elections are expected to be a milestone in solidifying peace, after years of civil war and clashes that marred the previous elections in 2010.

The results were disputed and supporters of then-president Laurent Gbagbo and opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara fought each other for months, leaving about 3,000 people dead.  Ultimately, Gbagbo was arrested and Ouattara became president

Now, Ouattara and his party, the Rally of the Republicans, are seen by some observers as a favorite to win a second term as he faces a fragmented opposition.

The two major parties, the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast and Gbagbo's Ivorian Popular Front, have both imploded during the past few months with several major figures breaking away and deciding to run as independents or form their own political party.

Among the candidates are former prime ministers Pascal Affi N'Guessan and Charles Konan Banny, former foreign minister Amara Essy and former parliament speaker Mamadou Koulibaly.

Koulibaly, who founded his own party, Lider, has joined a coalition in order to take on Ouattara.  Lider's secretary general Monique Gbekia explains what motivated the creation of the coalition.

She said they knew they could not beat candidate Ouattara on their own and that they had to team up. She added that although coalition members are from different political horizons and sometimes they have disagreements, they share a common goal, which is working for a better Ivory Coast, and that everybody is united around that goal.

The electoral campaign is not to start before October 9. Alassane Ouattara and his political party have been saying confidently for months that their goal is not only to win, but to win in the first round.

Source: VOA

Uganda: Police fire tear gas at opposition rally

[Reuters] Ugandan police fired tear gas for a second consecutive day on Thursday to disperse supporters of presidential contender Amama Mbabazi, who is seeking to unseat veteran leader Yoweri Museveni in next year's elections.

Former prime minister Mbabazi, 66, has emerged as a strong challenger to his one-time ally Museveni, who has ruled the east African nation since 1986.

Mbabazi, an influential figure in the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) before he quit the party, has held large rallies across eastern Uganda since Monday.

Mbabazi's spokeswoman, Josephine Mayanja-Nkangi, said one of Mbabazi's bodyguards was wounded in the leg when police fired tear gas and live bullets to disperse his supporters in Jinja, an industrial town 90 km (56 miles) east of the capital Kampala.

"A large crowd had gathered... but police were determined to stop Mbabazi from addressing them, so they again fired tear gas and live bullets," she said, adding that a police truck had rammed Mbabazi's vehicle.

Polly Namaye, the police spokeswoman, denied security forces had used live bullets.

"Mbabazi has been told to stick to consultative meetings in enclosed venues but he wants to do rallies. Police have a mandate to stop any violations of electoral laws," Namaye said, adding that she had not received reports of injuries.

Government officials say Mbabazi's mass rallies are illegal as he has not yet been formally nominated by the electoral commission for the polls to be held in February and March next year.

On Wednesday, police also fired tear gas in Soroti, a town in northeast Uganda, to scatter a rally of Mbabazi's supporters shortly before he was to address them.

Museveni's critics have accused him of using strongarm tactics to retain power and quell growing frustrations over corruption and perceptions the 71-year-old wants to remain president for life.

Mbabazi is running as an independent candidate after his bid for the NRM ticket was frustrated.

Charles Rwomushana, Kampala-based political analyst and former intelligence operative, told Reuters the government had been blindsided by the size of Mbabazi's rallies.

"They thwarted his bid for the NRM ticket and thought that would kill his momentum," he said. "You will see more tear gas."

Ghana: A helping hand from the Washington twins

Cash and lobbying from the IMF and World Bank boost the government a year before elections

Smiling broadly and sporting his trademark northern smock, on 7 September John Mahama submitted his application in Accra to stand again as the governing party's presidential candidate in next year's election. Having sidelined most of the National Democratic Congress dissidents, Mahama is likely to sail through the NDC party primaries.

After the party formalities, Mahama received Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari for discussions on regional security cooperation. Buhari's victory in March against an incumbent president has fired up opposition hopes in Ghana. Mahama then flew off to Germany to address the Fifteenth International Economic Forum on Africa in Berlin on 8-9 September, where Ghana was again held up as one of Africa's brighter prospects amid concern at China's slow down and the international commodity price crash.

One reason for Mahama's good humour is that his government has managed to steer its way through one of worst years of economic travails since the 1980s: worsening power cuts, devastating floods, inflation soaring to 17% in June, ballooning foreign debt, and opposition claims of unprecedented political and business corruption. Bizarrely, Mahama's prospects of victory in next year's elections are higher after this annus horribilis, thanks both to local political machinations and help from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington.

[Click here to continue reading]

Source: Africa Confidential Online

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Africa: Photo analysis: 15 longest serving African leaders

Africa has at least fifteen presidents who have served longer than a decade in office, and out of the top ten longest-serving leaders globally, African countries take up six slots.

Still, the stereotype of the long-serving African despot who will do anything to cling to office is not entirely true; the continent has seen at least 19 peaceful transitions involving an incumbent president losing an election, and vacating office peacefully - the number rises to 25 once you factor in various transitional arrangements.

However, Africa is the world’s youngest continent, with most countries south of the Sahara having a median age in the twenties.

To get a “relative” picture of how long a president has been in power, Mail & Guardian Africa compared the length of its 15 longest-serving leaders, with the percentage of the population in that country born after the president assumed power.

The data on population was obtained from, an interactive population portal that allows you to determine your age relative to everyone else in the world, and to people in your country.

Our comparison includes leaders who served as transitional leaders before being elected by popular vote - for example Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, who assumed office in 2000 under a transitional regime, before being elected as president in 2003.

The same goes for Isaias Afwerki, who assumed power in 1991 with the victory of the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front (EPLF), before the country officially became independent in 1993.

Under this picture, the “relative” presidential term has been longest in Angola, where 85% of the population was born after Jose Eduardo dos Santos came into power on 10th September 1979.

In second place is Robert Mugabe; 83% of Zimbabweans today were born under a Mugabe presidency.

In third place is Yoweri Museveni, where 79% of the population was born with Museveni as president. Even though Cameroon’s Paul Biya has served longer than Museveni in absolute terms - Biya has been head of state since 1982 - Uganda has a younger population than Cameroon does, so Museveni beats Biya in relative terms.

It’s the same case for Equatorial Guinea: Teodoro Nguema Obiang is Africa’s longest-serving in absolute terms, having been in power since August 3, 1979, but relative to his country’s age, he is in fourth place: 76% of the population has only known an Obiang presidency.

Djibouti’s Ismaïl Omar Guelleh (1999) has been in power longer than Rwanda’s Paul Kagame (2000) or DR Congo’s Joseph Kabila (2001), but Rwanda and DR Congo have much younger populations than Djibouti.

It means that 46% of Congolese and 44% of Rwandans, were born with their current president in power, compared to 37% of Djiboutians.

And Pierre Nkurunziza, who was recently sworn into a controversial third term, has been in power longer than Algeria’s Abdelaziz Bouteflika in relative terms - 35% of Burundi’s population was born after Nkurunziza assumed office on August 26, 2005, whereas in Algeria’s case, it’s 31% under a Bouteflika presidency.

Why does any of this matter? Because incumbents are often able to shape many of their country’s citizen’s attitudes about democracy, leadership, and integrity, and where a leader is corrupt or repressive, it’s likely to affect the attitude of the vast populations who knew them as their only leader in future.


Cote d'Ivoire: Hague judges rejects release for ex-president Gbagbo

[Reuters] Appeals judges at the International Criminal Court on Tuesday rejected a request for the temporary release of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo weeks before the start of his trial.

Gbagbo, 70, is accused of plunging his country into civil war rather than relinquishing power after losing a presidential run-off election in 2010. His trial is due to begin Nov. 10.

He has been detained in The Hague since November 2011, after being arrested in April of that year in Ivory Coast.

In Tuesday's ruling, the ninth review of his detention by the court, a panel of three judges rejected all grounds of appeal lodged by Gbagbo's lawyers against a lower court's decisions to extend his custody.

It said that the trial chamber had properly weighed the reasons to extend his detention, including possible flight risk.

"The appeals chamber found that it was not unreasonable for the trial chamber to find the existence of Mr. Gbagbo's support network posed a risk to abscond or obstruct investigation," it said.

In June, judges confirmed four counts of crimes against humanity against Gbagbo for post-election violence in which around 3,000 people were killed.

The court has also ordered Ivory Coast to hand over Simone Gbagbo, the former first lady, to stand trial on charges of crimes against humanity.

But Ivory Coast has declined, and in March Mrs. Gbagbo was given a 20-year sentence by a domestic court for crimes against humanity.

The ICC, established in 2002 to prosecute war crimes globally, has faced strong opposition in Africa, which has been the focus of all its investigations to date.