Monday, May 30, 2016

Ghana: Ghanaians oppose shutdown of social media during elections

Some countries in Africa have developed a routine habit of blocking social media platforms before, during and after elections citing “security concerns”.

During the recent elections held in Uganda, for example, the government ordered telecommunication companies to block access to popular social media platforms. Social media platforms were also blocked ahead of Ugandan President Museveni's inauguration.

Uganda and Nigeria are two countries that have recently indicated their intentions to impose stricter controls over social media, and Ghana, it appears, may be joining them.

‘We are thinking about it’

In Ghana, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), John Kudalor, has hinted Ghanaian authorities might consider shutting down social media platforms during elections due to take place on November 7.

The IGP emphasised that the potential shutdown of social media platforms during elections is based on the fact that some people abuse the space during voting.

There have been complaints that social media users spread misinformation and rumours about violations and violence at polling stations on election day.

In a quotes published by local media outlet Citi FM he said: "At one stage I said that if it becomes critical on the eve and also on the election day, we shall block all social media as other countries have done. We’re thinking about it. We are also thinking about the other alternative that the police should be IT compliant and get our own social media [account] to be able to stop these things on time. We are looking at the variables and come D-Day, we’ll come out with a decision".

The news of the potential shutdown unleashed a wave of negative reactions on TV, radio and social media platforms.

In response to the IGP's statement, the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG), berated the mooted block.

"Blocking or restricting access to social media is a blatant violation of freedom of expression. The 1992 constitution declares in no equivocal terms that: All persons shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, which shall include freedom of the press and other media. The constitution guarantees that the press and every individual in Ghana has the right to say anything that they want, whenever that they want and wherever that they want.

"The position of the IGP in relation to the effect of social media on election suggests that the Ghana police lacks appreciation of the use of online social networking technology in a 21st century world as a platform of engagement. This kind of thinking is unacceptable".

Kinna Likimani, of the social media platform dedicated to election coverage in Ghana, Ghana Decides, also stated during an interview: "We are not a country that subscribes to heavy handed repressive tactics otherwise we will not be in a democracy. What we need to do is that within our democratic dispensation, we educate our citizens. The Police needs to understand and come on and we all work together. There is a huge space that even the Police can occupy on social media. Ways by which we can inform Ghanaians, ways in which we can help them in their job.

"Not only the Police , including the EC who is now on social media. The last election, the EC released the results on Facebook. The Peace Council needs to be on social media, the government needs to be on social media. It is a platform for informing and together we can Police ourselves but to ascribe to heavy handed repressive tactics, I repeat it is not a democratic best practice and it doesn’t suite the path we are on as Ghanaians. We close down social media and then what. What message do we send to ourselves as Ghanaians. That we can’t handle ourselves".

A well known private legal practitioner, Ace Ankomah wanted to know which law will be used to block social media and prevent access to information which is a key democratic right in Ghana.

"The right and freedom of information and communication is absolutely guaranteed and the excuse to it ought to be in accordance with law in a democratic society. So for even considering this the IGP is playing with a possible legal action from restraining it from doing it.

On the basis of which law is he going to stop access to information? Our rights to communication cannot be infringed with under the provisions of the constitution unless it is in accordance with law and not just law, law that is necessary in a democratic society. So technically and legally they will struggle.

Nigeria did election without banning social media and the report show that social media helped. Uganda banned it so on what basis are we going the Ugandan way instead of going the Nigerian way? Let’s strengthen the traditional media to be able to give out information and give it out quickly so that we will know that the key thing is traditional media. So that when somebody put out some diabolic message, traditional media can quickly kill it. If you shut down social media, we can still talk and people can still do their diabolic".

Facebookers such as Stephen Saan-Ire regretted the fact that a country traditionally viewed as one of the continent's stronger democracies was seemingly falling into line with autocracies like Uganda, while Twitter also lined up to pan the potential block.

Most people, however, have been supportive of the suggestion that the Ghanaian Police should fine-tune its own social media skills in order to engage with the public.

Clearly, this is a preferable approach to information management than simply blocking the platforms


Ghana: CSO leader calls for postponement of November election

According to him, that will enable the country get the national database right. He made reference to neighboring Nigeria which did same for a proper voter database and succeeded.

In a short e-mail message sent to News Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe indicated that “Our current electoral woes are symptomatic of the current outbreak of the Zika disease, and that has forced a scientifically backed decision to postpone the Olympics. Postpone the Ghanaian elections and let’s get the database right else there is likely to be chaos.”

He said, postponement of the elections will avert any possible chaos that may arise as result of the ‘tainted’ electoral roll that would be used for the elections.


South Africa: Parties have up to Thursday to file local government elections nominations

This week marks the deadline for political parties to submit names of ward candidates for the 2016 local government elections.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says the cut-off date is Thursday.

Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo says applications can be submitted online.

“We take this opportunity as the Electoral Commission, to urge those who anticipate their nominations be submitted, to ensure that they are submitted by Thursday.”

The voters’ roll will also be certified and published for inspection by Friday.

South Africans go to the polls on 3 August.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ghana: Don't create fear and panic – IGP warns media ahead of elections

The Inspector General of Police John Kudalor has charged the media to be circumspect in their reportage before, during and after the 2016 general elections.

Addressing Journalists Tuesday, the IGP said the media would play a crucial role in the November polls and urged journalists not to report stories that have tendency to inflame passions and create fear and panic among the general public.

“You are required to put the interest of the nation first in your reportage of the elections…your expertise and professionalism would be called into action to avoid churning out media products that would cause public disorder.

“I don’t believe any media house would do anything that would spark a confrontation in this country, the media’s role would be crucial in ensuring that the election are conducted fairly and peacefully thus the media should position themselves as neutral arbiters, and avoid hate and violence in publication and broadcasting.”

According to him, journalists must not also allow themselves to be used by politicians in the run up to the elections.

Ghana goes to the polls November 7 to elect a new President and parliamentarians. President John Mahama who is seeking a second term would face Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the NPP.

Source: Ghana/ Welsing

Ghana: Supreme Court clarifies verdict on voter roll

A member of the seven-member Supreme Court panel that ruled on the legality or otherwise of NHIS registrants on the voters register Justice Jones Dotse has said the apex court was forthright in its directive for names of such registrants to be taken off the register by the Electoral Commission.

According to him, the ruling was not ambiguous and indicated the illegality of NHIS registrants on the register.

“ I don’t want to interpret the judgment but as you heard it, the Supreme Court was quite forthright and clear that the use of NHIS cards is unconstitutional because the criteria for the NHIS was not based on Ghanaians citizenship but only on residents in Ghana.

“So a foreigner who is resident in Ghana for six months and more can register under the NHIS and that was the basis for our decision in 2014 and the recent one we said the use of the NHIS cards is therefore unconstitutional, they should take the opportunity to clean the register of those undesirable persons.

"Therefore we also do not want to disenfranchise anybody so the Supreme Court went on to say anybody who will be affected by that exercise must be given the opportunity to register according to the law and the constitution,” he told journalists in an interview Thursday.

The comments of the judge come on the back of the confusion that has heralded the ruling of the highest court regarding the electoral roll.

While the EC says its understanding of the judgment does not point to the deletion of the NHIS registrants, the plaintiffs claim the court gave express directive to the election management body to cleanse the register.

Source:Ghana/ Acheampong

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Burkina Faso awaits local election results

More than 80 political parties vying for 20,000 municipal councilor positions in Burkina Faso are waiting for the results with bated breath.

For the first local elections after the overthrow of former leader Compaore, voter turnout was significantly low even after the newly-appointed president Roch Marc Christian Kabore appealed to citizens to come out in large numbers to vote.

Vandalism resulted in the postponement of the election in some districts.

Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission, Barthelemy Kere said he had reports that at Dapelogo “there were some people who prohibited the deployment of election materials. It’s a shame. They are certainly supporters and opposition party activists. That’s why I say, the responsibility lies primarily with the political parties. It is up to them to tell such people to stop what they are doing for the sake of democracy”.

Citizens who showed up for the votes said they hoped their choice would move the country to greater heights in the next five years.

“I suggest that each person elected really works in righteousness, peace and joy, also in solidarity so that the country can move forward because if we work in disorder and anarchy, it really shows that the country will always be behind. We cannot move forward,” said one voter.

Following the outcome of the councilor votes, mayors will be appointed in 368 towns and will be in office for the next five years.

Results are expected before the end of the week.


Kenya: Protests against electoral body turns bloody

Protests against Kenya's electoral commission took place in several cities Monday, with local media reporting at least three demonstrators were killed in western Kenya.

In Nairobi, riot police formed a line around the commission headquarters, waiting much of the afternoon to deter the latest in what have become weekly protests.

The protesters never reached the compound because police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse about 100 demonstrators before they could get close.

Smaller groups of protesters were also tear gassed earlier in the day, including a group from Kibera, a large Nairobi slum.  Authorities say the demonstrations were illegal.

Protesters were able to march against offices of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, or IEBC, in the cities of Mombasa, Kakamega and Kisumu.  A reporter for the Standard newspaper, Phillip Orwa, told VOA that one demonstrator in Kisumu was killed and four others hospitalized.

There were conflicting reports on whether the deceased protester was shot or trampled to death.

Local media also reported two fatalities in Siaya, a town northwest of Kisumu.

“Today it wasn’t as intense as it was before,” said Assa Nyakundi, a lawyer whose office is located near the electoral commission headquarters in Nairobi.  “I think what the police seem to have done, they were under instructions not to let people gather in big groups or in any groups at all.  So I think in that sense, they were able to thwart any big groups and therefore, the capacity to demonstrate.”

Many bystanders agreed that the police acted more professionally this week than last, when photos and videos of riot police clubbing and kicking protesters were shared widely on social media and sparked outrage.

The protesters, most of whom are supporters of the opposition CORD coalition, say the IEBC must be disbanded ahead of next year’s national elections. The opposition says the IEBC favors the ruling Jubilee coalition.

The opposition has held protests on four of the past five Mondays and vowed to continue until the government engages in meaningful dialogue about the electoral process.

“With IEBC, we see the elections will not be credible,” said Rufus Magaga, a CORD supporter and demonstrator. “The results will be doctored and all that, yes.  They’ll favor the current government.”

Nyakundi warns that these protests do not represent the opinions of the entire electorate.

“I believe that what you’re seeing now is just partisan politics,” said Nyakundi. “There is a whole group of Kenyans who do not agree with this.”

Kenya is scheduled to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in August 2017.

While the last elections in 2013 went off peacefully, Kenya is still haunted by the 2007 vote, when alleged rigging set off violence that killed an estimated 1,100 people and displaced 600,000 Kenyans.

Amos Wangwa contributed to this report from Nairobi.


DRC: Opposition parties to regroup after Katumbi evacuation

A few days after the medical evacuation of Moise Katumbi to South Africa, the opposition is trying to regroup in Lubumbashi in the southeastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The G7, a coalition of seven parties have been holding discussions in the absence of Katumbi.

Shambuyi Tshivuadi Mukwa Lukusa, Federal President of the Congress of Democrats for Social Progress said: “This departure is not good. It looks like an open door to a forced exile. Apparently, this is a trap that people intended for Moise but the people are more than Kabila. It is the people who gave power to Kabila. Despite the tanks and everything we see here, the people are there and the last word will always come back from people.”

Meanwhile, the mayor of Lubumbashi has asked the parties to avoid plunging the second largest city in the country into chaos. He maintains: “Anything happening in Lubumbashi, must be within the law, respecting the texts, and respect for authority. Whether you are in the majority or the opposition, respect for law and respect the legally established authorities. It is because we have to secure everyone.”

Pressure is on the Congolese opposition as four media houses close to the opposition have been closed down and the headquarters of the Union of Congolese Federalists sealed by the court. A situation denounced by the UN and many Western countries.


DRC: Political crisis deepens after civil society rejects dialogue

Fresh controversy has emerged over the inclusive political dialogue supposed to be held in the Democratic Republic of Congo to solve the political crisis that has engulfed the country.

A group of civil society members have rejected the list of participants released by the committee preparing for the talks led by Africa Union facilitator Edem Kodjo, saying they are linked to political parties.

The supposed talks now seem uncertain and analysts warn of a return to civil war if no urgent measures are taken to avert the crisis.

President Joseph Kabila has come under pressure to step down and opposition members are accusing him of trying to hang onto power by delaying polls that are due in November this year.

His term expires in December and earlier this month the country’s top court ruled that he can stay in office beyond his mandate if the presidential election is delayed.

However, United Nations experts opine that presidential elections could still be held within the constitutional deadlines and added that Kabila should transfer power if a successor is elected within the deadlines.

The US has warned of possible sanctions if the DRC government continues to crackdown on opposition.

Press Agencies

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ghana: Nov. 7 election date: Bill to amend Constitution gazetted

A draft bill seeking to amend the 1992 Constitution to move the constitutionally mandated December 7 date for presidential and parliamentary elections to the first Monday in November of every election year has been gazetted. 

There are concerns that this year’s polls may not take place on November 7, as proposed, because of time constraints. 

In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, said an amendment to the 1992 Constitution was required before Ghanaians could cast their ballots on November 7, 2016.

She said to amend a non-entrenched provision of the 1992 Constitution, there must be two publications. 

Accordingly, she noted, the first Gazette notification announcing the publication of the bill was published on March 9, 2016. 

The second publication would be done on June 9, 2016 – three months after the first publication. 

Mrs Appiah-Opong explained that 10 days after the second publication, the Speaker of Parliament was expected to refer the bill to the Council of State, which in turn has within 30 days to refer the bill back to Parliament. 

“The Council of State has within 30 days and can, therefore, refer the bill back to Parliament in less than 30 days,” she explained. 

She stated that based on the timelines, the Electoral Commission (EC) could go ahead with plans for the November 7, 2016 polls

Source: Daily Graphic || Ghana

Somalia: International Community welcomes President's decree to hold elections

The United Nations, the African Union (AU), the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the European Union (EU) and the United States have welcomed the decree issued by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on the modalities of the 2016 electoral process on Sunday.

Statement sent to newsrooms by the United Nations Mission on Somalia (UNSOM) has said the decree will enable the technical preparation and implementation of the electoral process without further delay.

" It is in accordance with the repeated commitments of the Federal Government, the Federal Parliament, the National Leadership Forum and other key actors and institutions that there should be no extension of the constitutionally mandated term limits of the legislature and the executive'"

UN special representative for Somalia ambassador Michael Keating has said the international partners welcome the move by the President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud saying the move just facilitated parliament work.

"Somalia's international partners welcome and fully support the step that President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and the Federal Government have taken," Said ambassador Keating.

"A different scenario for the endorsement of the model. But intense engagement among politicians, especially in the last few weeks, made it evident that the Federal Parliament would have had great difficulty in agreeing on and legalizing the model" he added.

UN special envoy to Somalia also called upon Somali stake holders to put their difference aside and work towards realization of upcoming historic election process in the horn of African state.

"The President and his government have acted to preserve timelines that will allow technical preparation and implementation of the electoral process, which were at serious risk. The challenge now is to prepare and implement the elections. We call on all Somali stakeholders to now work constructively to that end" he said.

"International partners recognize that the modalities of the electoral process are the result of negotiations over the course of nearly ten months. These began with the joint declaration by the Federal Government and the Federal Parliament on 28 July 2015 that one-person, one-vote elections would not be possible in Somalia in 2016. Inclusive and participatory consultations on an electoral model have been held across the country. They noted that Somali leaders have worked hard to achieve agreement on the modalities of the electoral model."

International community also reiterated its unconditional support for the federal government but urged to commit the realization of 30 percent parliament for women.


Somalia: Elections slated for August, despite opposition

[Abdulaziz Osman] Somalia’s president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, issued a decree Sunday to legalize the 2016 electoral process in Somalia, after the outgoing parliament failed to endorse the election rules.

The parliament Saturday delayed a vote to endorse the process, despite warnings from the international community that a failure to act quickly would “jeopardize” the political process and set the county back several years.

Bypassing parliament, the president said at a news conference in Mogadishu Sunday the election would take place in August as scheduled and in line with the deal by the national and regional leaders agreed last month.

“After seeing that the parliament can't decide, after seeing that the time is running out, I issued a presidential decree to legalize the electoral model” Mohamoud said.

“There is no dispute, there is no division, we will not allow division in this critical time" the president added.

Speaking exclusively to VOA's Somali service from Mogadishu, U.N. envoy to Somalia Michael Keating said he is relieved because the decree means the electoral process will take place on time. He said, "The decree will enable the technical preparation and implementation of the electoral process without further delay.”

“There is no agreement within the Somalia Parliament on the modalities… and it would have taken another long time to resolve these difficulties,” he said.

"It seems to me responsible to issue a decree, if the consequence of not holding the election are going to be very very negative," Keating added.

Abdullahi Godah Barre, a member of parliament, has rejected the president's move, saying it’s “unconstitutional and interferes with the power of the parliament" and the parliament will challenge it.

But Keating said he does not believe the decree by the president is "unconstitutional" per se.

The U.N. envoy said they would deal with anyone who tries to spoil the election process. “Our job is to try and ensure that the electoral model is conducted in a safe environment.”

Keating said al-Shabab poses a threat to the election, and they are taking this threat very seriously.

"It's really very important that the electoral sites where the meeting taking place are very well protected, and every effort is made by both the AU and Somali forces to minimize the possibility of al-Shabab attacks," he said.


Burkina Faso strengthening our democracy with municipal polls - President

Burkina Faso’s president Christian Marc Kabore says the holding of the municipal elections will contribute in strengthening his country’s democracy as mayors and municipal councillors have a great role to play in Burkina Faso’s future.

He was speaking shortly after voting on Sunday in capital city Ouagadougou.

More than 5 million voters are expected to cast their ballots.

The rush to the polls is not as important as for the presidential election, because the municipal elections do not pull crowds.

A few hours after the opening of polling stations, turnout was low compared to the presidential election in November 2015.

“The rush to the polls is not as important as for the presidential election, because the municipal elections do not pull crowds,” said the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission Bartholomew Kéré.

Voting was however on hold in three towns for security reasons.

This election could allow parties including that of former President Compaoré‘s to rebuild a place in Burkinabe politics

Polls closed at 6pm and the results are expected before the end of the week.


Gabon: New coalition boosts President Bongo's re-election bid

[Ken Karuri with Africanews Correspondent Gérauds Wilfried Obangome]   A new political movement called “Plural Dynamics” was launched Saturday in Libreville to support the incumbent president Ali Bongo who is seeking a second mandate in the election to be held between August and October.

The movement, composed of the ruling party as well as some opposition parties, associations and unions, gathered more than 2000 officials who are convinced “that Ali Bongo is currently the best asset for Gabon” a press released by the Plural Dynamics said.

Billed as “a space for expression,” Plural Dynamics says it wants “a dialogue between citizens from all political backgrounds and from all walks who have good faith with the president.”

... make the same choice and resolutely turn away from any group likely to create unnecessary confusion and division within the nation.
The movement calls on Gabonese to “make the same choice and resolutely turn away from any group likely to create unnecessary confusion and division within the nation.”

The Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) has been shaken in recent months by major disagreements and resignations by several party officials including the former President of the National Assembly, Guy Nzouba Ndama at the end of March, and who was followed by a dozen other MPs.

Guy Nzouba, the outgoing president of Gabon National Assembly, has confirmed his participation in the 2016 presidential election.

Bongo is expected to face a stiff challenge from the former African Union Commission chairperson Jean Ping and ex-Gabon Prime Minister Raymond Ndong Sima who have already announced their intention to contest in the election.

Kenya: Police break up rotests against election body

[Reuters] Kenyan police fired teargas on Monday to disperse hundreds of protesters in Nairobi and the port city of Mombasa who were demonstrating against an
electoral body which opposition parties say is biased.

The police said they had arrested seven people in Mombasa while businesses in the city stayed closed for fear of looting, a Reuters witness said.

About 300 protesters demonstrated with placards reading "IEBC must go home now", a reference to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

Protests called by the opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) are now in their fourth week. In similar previous protests in the capital Nairobi, police have used tear-gas and water cannon against stone-throwing

"The demonstrations are illegal and the organizers have been clearly warned. If they insist on rioting, they will meet us there," Lucas Ogara, Mombasa's police chief, told Reuters.

Some protesters re-grouped after they had been dispersed, and were led by Mombasa County Governor Ali Hassan Joho to the local IEBC office where they handed over a petition peacefully.

Kenya's next presidential and parliamentary polls are not due until August 2017. But politicians are already trying to galvanize their supporters in a nation where violence erupted after the 2007 vote and the opposition disputed the outcome in 2013.

CORD, led by Raila Odinga who lost the 2013 vote and unsuccessfully challenged the result in court, has accused the IEBC of bias and said its members should quit. IEBC officials have dismissed the charge and say they will stay.

The government has called on the opposition not to stage street protests against the IEBC and asked them to pursue other peaceful means to bring about change.

But CORD on Sunday vowed to keep up the protests in Nairobi and other regions. "Kenyans will be doing this, as we have done in the past, in exercise of their right to assemble peaceably and to direct the widest possible attention to a great national issue," it said in the statement.

A Reuters witness in Nairobi said police also fired teargas at about 50 protesters as they tried to march on the IEBC's offices, amid heavy police presence in the streets of the capital.

In western Kenya, local Citizen Television reported that Senator Bonny Khalwale was arrested by police as he led a demonstration in Kakamega town.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Ghana: Parties threaten to sue EC over moves to withdraw certificates

Some political parties are contemplating heading to the Supreme Court over the decision by the Electoral Commission to revoke their certificates for not having physical offices in two-thirds of the districts in Ghana by end of May.

The parties have 12 days to meet this requirement which is contained in the political party’s law.

But some of the political parties like the CPP contend that the Constitutional provision on the matter may have to be determined by the apex court of the land to bring finality to the matter.

National Chairman of the party, Professor Edmund Delle in an interview with host of Morning Starr Nii Arday Clegg Thursday said the directive from the EC is problematic.

“It is something that the legal minds may have to clarify for us...this is my fear that for those who may not be satisfied would say let the Supreme Court decide.”

But the Progressive People’s Party says until the proper interpretation of the law is determined by the Supreme Court, the EC must be allowed to execute its mandates.

Kofi Asamoah Siaw, a policy advisor to the party said the EC is only executing what it is mandated to do.

Source: Ghana/

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Ghana: EU calls for violence-free, fair elections

The European Union (EU) Ambasador to Ghana, William Hanna is appealing to Ghanaians to have fair and transparent elections in November.

The EU is providing a €5million donor support towards the elections. At the official launch of the support in Accra Wednesday May 18, Mr Hanna said that: “It is important that the voters in Ghana will exercise their right, each and every one of them, without any form of intimidation or violence. It is important that the process is a level playing field with all actors having equal opportunities to inform the electorate, which comes back to what the National Media Commission has been emphasising.”

The donor support is aimed at improving the work of the Electoral Commission (EC), National Media Commission (NMC), and National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) towards the presidential and parliamentary polls.

Mr Hanna further stated that: “We will have people coming down to look whether we [will] observe the elections and that is something we will do [but] not to interfere with the process...”

He further disclosed that beyond the funds, additional support will be offered by some member-states to ensure a successful election.

“Some of our member-states who have their ambassadors here are also giving additional support in certain specific areas of attention. We attach to the area of supporting democracy throughout Africa, particularly here in Ghana, some level of importance and we will continue to work with your institutions not only for the elections this year, but for the future of democracy and for the sustainability of Ghana [in terms of political stability],” Mr Hanna stated.

For his part, Ghana’s Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, acknowledged the grant by the EU and stated that it would contribute significantly towards stabilising the democracy of the country.

He expressed appreciation to all the member-states and development partners of the EU, who have committed to ensuring a successful election on November 7.

Source: Ghana/

Ghana: Fiscal policy, key election issue

Excitement for Ghana’s November poll is building as candidates try to woo voters. People have differing opinions on the election decider.

Comfort Lomotey a dressmaker in downtown Accra for the last 10 years says business was good until many of her customers stopped coming, her vote is for whoever can fix the economy.

“I can’t pay my utilities, these days they are too high so I want someone to convince me. If New Patriotic party (NPP), they should tell me the reason why I should vote for them,” she said

... the issues bordering the economy and people's living standard will be a big part of the electioneering campaign.
Promoting fiscal discipline and fighting graft is the basis of the NPP – Ghana’s main opposition party’s campaign.

Ghana enjoyed strong economic growth for years but had to adopt a $918 million, 3-year deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to correct a persistent fiscal deficit.

The turn to the IMF to solve the macro economic crisis restored some credibility to the government’s fiscal policy, but it has failed so far to address the country’s most pressing economic problem, inflation.

Inflation now stands above 18 percent, the opposition has blamed the government for mismanaging the economy.

“Going for the IMF programme was good. The IMF has been too soft on the government, OK. If they hold on to one of the disbursements; government is looking forward to 118 million (USD) disbursement – the fourth tranche, they should hold on to it and say that ‘put your house in order further before we make further disbursements’.” said member of the parliamentary select committee on finance and a member of the opposition, Mark Assibey-Yeboah

Economist Samson Akligoh says presidential candidates will have to convince voters that they can fix a flagging economy.

“We are going to see, I mean, cost of living deteriorate in an election year that people would go to choose government and what that means is that the issues bordering the economy and people’s living standard will be a big part of the electioneering campaign.’‘

Power generation is another critical election issue, after years of crippling blackouts that have hurt businesses and angered voters.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ghana: EU supports November elections with €5m

A €5m EU support for Ghana’s November polls will contribute significantly to the implementation of reforms recommended by the Justice Atuguba panel of judges as far as this year’s elections are concerned, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission has said.

Mrs Charlotte Osei expressed the optimism at the launch of the €5 million donor support in Accra on Wednesday May 18, 2016.

“The support will allow us to carry out very significant reforms that were agreed after the 2012 elections, which are being implemented in this year’s elections. The EU grant enables us to ensure that the elections in November will be more transparent, more inclusive, and certainly in a more efficient manner,” she noted.

The EU donor support is aimed at improving the work of the EC, the National Media Commission (NMC), and National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), as the country heads into presidential and parliamentary elections on November 7.

The EU has over the years recognised the importance of the three governance institutions.

According to the EC chair, the support is very significant as “unlike other donor supports, the EU is supporting all the three institutions because the EC works very closely with the other governance institutions as well as other stakeholders”.

“How strong the NMC and the NCCE are impacts our work dirtectly. This will help us work more collaboratively and effectively towards the elections,” she noted.

She revealed that the areas of support for the donors were discussed ahead of the budget of government, which “serves as complimentary and allows us to think about areas outside of the Government of Ghana budget we need to focus on as a governance institution towards elections”.

According to her, the funds will help the commission publish the results of presidential and parliamentary elections at every polling station as well as provide logistics to ensure a smooth election.

Additionally, the support will go into the provision of personalised laptop computers at every collation centre at the constituency level. The EC will also have training sessions for constituency officers. Furthermore, the support will fund the EC’s activities including Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) and other meetings with stakeholders across the country.

The EC also plans to have voter outreach and engagement programmes including sessions with People Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) to ensure that the elections are more inclusive this year.

She thanked the EU and others who have contributed to the growth and democracy of the country.

Source: Ghana/

Ghana: Global award winning actor to launch peace project ahead of Nov. polls

Young Ghanaian actor Abraham Attah is set to launch a new project ‘The Abraham Attah summit’ aimed at Youth motivation and ensure peace among the youth and the various political parties in Ghana ahead of 2016 elections.

According to Attah, his experience in the blockbuster movie 'Beasts of No Nation' gave him a pictorial mindset of a war-torn country.

“My role as a child soldier in Beast of No Nation gave me a picture of a conflict zone. I got scared after watching the full movie and that has encouraged me to embark on the Peace and Youth focus agenda.”

Attah made this known when he met the British High Commissioner, H.E. Jon Benjamin to show appreciation for the commission’s assistance during his travel.

H.E. Benjamin was glad to meet Attah and further mentioned the commitment of the High Commission to support peace in Ghana before, during and after the general elections.

H.E. Benjamin advised Attah to continue his works and encouraged him to take his education seriously.

Source: Ghana/

Ghana risks not voting on November 7

The bill seeking to change the country's election date from December 7 to November 7 is yet to be tabled before Parliament, raising uncertainties about the proposed date.

The bill has gone through the first gazette and is expected to go through a second stage in three months time after which it will take 10 days before it is laid before the legislators for consideration, Majority Leader Alban Bagbin told TV3.

"It has been gazetted for the first time in accordance with the chapter on the amendment to Constitution and in about three months time, it will be gazetted the second time and after 10 days it will be laid in the House. That is what is ironed out in the chapter of the amendment to the Constitution,"  he explained.

Parliament reconvened Tuesday for its second meeting under the fourth session of the sixth parliament after two months on recess. A total of 29 bills, excluding that of the Electoral Commission, are expected to be considered for passage.

Notwithstanding, Mr Bagbin was hopeful the bill would be passed by the end of July to pave the way for the country's general elections to be held on November 7 to allow enough time for transition.

"Before we rise, if possible, we will pass that bill before the end of July. If not, Parliament may have to be recalled  on an emergency to come and pass through that bill because the country has agreed that its better for ... democracy to do the elections earlier than the date of the handing over which is fixed also to be 7th January," he said.

The bill was prompted by a proposal for the presidential and parliamentary elections be held in November 7  instead of the usual December 7 date. The change needs an amendment to the provision in the 1992 Constitution.

The bill seeking to amend the provision of the Constitution is required to be sent to Parliament by the Electoral Commission for approval.

On whether it will be right to say the elections would be held on November 7, Mr Bagbin said "you can say, the proposal. It has been proposed that the constitution will be amended and to bring the general election date to November 7 but legally, the date is still December 7".

By Evelyn Tengmaa||Ghana

Ghana: Chief Imam warns electoral body over polling station mantra

The office of the National Chief Imam Sheikh Nuhu Shaributu has cautioned the Electoral Commission against hammering on its mantra that ‘elections are won only at polling stations’.

The EC in its attempt to encourage vigilance from political parties have always maintained elections are won at polling stations and not at their offices, including their so called strong room.

Former Chairman of the commission Dr. Afari Gyan during the election petition hearing reiterated the point that the EC does not tamper with votes that are filed to their data systems after they leave the polling stations.

But spokesperson for the National Chief Imam Sheik Shuab Ayeremeyaw told Starr News the mantra has the tendency to breed acrimony at the various polling stations during the November polls.

“If you consider the context of that mantra; it came during the eight-month long election petition period. Afari Gyan himself said that elections are won at the polling stations. What it meant to the losing parties is that probably they were less vigilant. In that mantra, the attribute of fairness and freeness required in a democratic environment was not highlighted.

“So what it means is that by all means you have to win your election at the polling station; it could be interpreted as such. When people become extra vigilant, it creates a tensed environment and we could easily flip into violence and those are the signs we saw in the limited voters registration exercise,” he noted.


Monday, May 16, 2016

Kenya: Police fire tear gas to disperse protest against electoral body

About 300 opposition protesters rallied on Monday to demand the scrapping of an election oversight body they say is biased and want its replacement with a new one.

Police has again used tear gas to disperse the protesters. Teargas and water cannon was used in two similar rallies in the past month.

Police backed by trucks with water cannon flanked the protesters gathered outside the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Kenya does not hold its next presidential and parliamentary polls until August 2017, but politicians are already trying to galvanise their supporters in a nation where violence erupted after the 2007 vote and the opposition disputed the 2013 result.

The opposition CORD coalition, led by Raila Odinga who lost the 2013 vote and unsuccessfully challenged the result in court, has accused the IEBC of bias and said its members should quit. IEBC officials have dismissed the charge and say they will stay.

“For free and fair election, IEBC must go,” read a banner held aloft by one demonstrator on Monday.

Last week, police fired teargas and water cannon at hundreds of protesters, some of whom threw stones. Police also used teargas to disperse a protest last month.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is expected to seek re-election next year for a second and final term, has urged opponents not to take to the streets.


Zambia: Cellphones ban at poll stations in August elections

Zambia’s electoral body has issued a directive banning the use of cellphones inside polling stations during the August 11 presidential, legislative and local elections, Voice of America reported.

The move by the Electoral Commissioned of Zambia was however questioned by the opposition who questioned the logic behind the directive with Member of Parliament Request Muntanga, of the main opposition United Party for National Development, calling it “disturbing”.

“I want to see where there is a regulation that says no cellphone [in polling stations]… The [electoral commission] is already creating uneasiness among players,” Muntanga was quoted as saying.

According to a local publication Mwebantu, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) said in a statement that it had in the past experienced some voters taking photographs of their marked ballot papers and showing how they had voted on social media.

Public relations manager for the commission, Crispin Akufuna, said: “This compromised the secrecy of the vote and can be considered as a form of campaigning which is prohibited on poll day”.

Civil society and opposition groups, however, maintained that the commission’s directive infringed on voters’ rights, since the constitution guaranteed freedom of expression. They also accused the commission of failing to consult all stakeholders before issuing the directive.


Comoros: Assoumani officially declared president-elect

Former coup leader Azali Assoumani was elected president of Comoros, according to provisional results released Sunday, after last month’s election was partially re-run due to violence and “irregularities”.

In a tight race, Assoumani’s 41.43 percent haul beat the ruling party’s candidate Vice President Mohamed Ali Soilihi, who received 39.66 percent of votes.

“The Court declares Azali Assoumani president of Comoros for a term of 5 years,” Constitutional Court president Lutfi Soulamaine said in the capital Moroni.

Mouigni Baraka, governor of the island of Grande Comore, placed third with 18.91 percent.

Assoumani grabbed the most ballots in April’s election, just 2,000 votes ahead of Soilihi.

But his apparent victory was tarnished by broken ballot boxes, interruptions in voting, accusations of ballot stuffing and some incidents of violence, and the Constitutional Court ordered a partial re-run in some areas.

Two percent of the electorate voted again Wednesday on Anjouan, one of the three main islands of the archipelago nation off the east coast of Africa.

Assoumani, who is set to take over from outgoing President Ikililou Dhoinine, first came to power in 1999 after ousting acting president Tadjidine Ben Said Massounde in a coup.

He then won the presidential election three years later, stepping down when his term ended in 2006.

The presidential inauguration is scheduled for May 26.

Comoros exports vanilla, cloves and ylang-ylang perfume essence, but poverty is widespread.


Ghana: EC boss can’t be changed, deal with it – President to critics

President John Mahama has advised critics of the Electoral Commission Chairperson Charlotte Osei to learn to deal with her because she cannot be changed.

According to the President, the constitution of Ghana grants the EC boss a secured tenure office which cannot be altered by any individual in the country.

“You might not like her but she’s the EC chair; I cannot remove her. .. Once you have security of tenure you can boldly take any decision in the interest of the nation, and that is the situation,” the President told Ghanaians resident in the UK.

The EC boss has come under heavy criticisms mainly from the opposition New Patriotic Party following her objection to calls to develop a new voters’ register ahead of the November polls.

The NPP and other minority parties have also expressed anger over the organisation of the just ended limited voter registration exercise.

The EC has also received flak over the decision to change their logo, a move many have blamed on Mrs Osei.


Ghana: Assess impacts of presidential debates on Ghanaians – Lecturer

As the November 7 polls fast approach, civil society organisations and some government agencies are gearing up to organise debates and dialogue sessions for presidential and parliamentary aspirants.

Debates for aspirants have characterised the Ghanaian electoral system since 2000 when the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) first started with its presidential debates series.

The IEA and the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) have hinted at organising the debates and dialogue sessions for the candidates ahead of this year’s elections, but arguments are being made that the debates have little or no effects on the outcomes of the elections.

For instance, pollster Ben Ephson has told Class91.3FM’s Emefa Apawu that, in his view, the presidential candidate who performed very well in the 2012 IEA presidential debate performed poorly in that year’s elections, an indication that the debate had little effect on Ghanaians.

Similarly, Kofi Adams, National Organiser of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) also noted that ahead of the 2004 elections, the then president who was seeking a re-election, John Agyekum Kufour, did not participate in that year’s debates but went ahead to win the elections, a further indication that the debate did not have any bearing on Ghanaians.

In view of these observations, a senior lecturer at the University of Education Winneba, Dr Ahmed Jinapor, has said a critical assessment will need to be done on the effects of debates on Ghanaians in order not to waste people’s time.

He told a local television station, TV3, on Saturday May 14 in an interview that when the assessment is done and the country comes to the realisation that it is the best way forward, then a decision will need to be taken as to who should organise such debates.

“When it is factored and we realise that it has a lot of impact then we have to come out and shape how the debate will take place,” he said, adding: “Most importantly we have to make a decision as to who is going to be in charge of the debate.”

Source: Ghana/

Zambia: Lawyers' group opposes holding referendum with election

The Law Association of Zambia says holding the referendum alongside the general election may confuse prospective participants.

LAZ president Linda Kasonde said the concurrent holding of the two processes will lead to the referendum being mixed up with politics.

The smooth talking LAZ boss said the participants may lead to a pattern that will make process partisan.

She said that the participants may lose the necessity to scrutinize the significance of the substance of contents like the bill of rights.

"It is undesirable for the referendum to be held alongside the general election because there is a danger that the process may be politicized. People may be polarized along partisan lines," she said.

Government has announced that the referendum will be held alongside the general election.

The referendum is meant to have Zambians pass their verdict on issues that were not resolved in the amended constitution like the bill of rights, the death sentence among others.

Persons eligible to vote will participate while even those not registered as voters but qualify to voter and hold a National Registration Card will be given a chance to vote.

All persons aged 18 and above will be eligible to participate in the process.


Zambia: Election campaign starts on Monday

[By Peter Clottey] Official campaigning for Zambia’s August 11 presidential, parliamentary and local elections begins Monday, says the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).

Electoral commission chairman Justice Esau E. Chulu has launched the inspection of the provisional voter list. During this process, prospective voters are required to verify their information in the provisional voter register before a final list is compiled for the elections.

The electoral body says this period is the last chance voters have to ensure their information is accurate on the voters list. All participating political parties registered with the ECZ including the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and main opposition (UPND) United Party for National Development are to monitor the verification phase.

“We expect that all the registration centers that would be polling stations for this year’s general election have also opened for the inspection of the provisional roll by voters in their respective constituency. This process will go on until the 21st of May, and we are not extending, because at the conclusion of the exercise, we are having an audit undertaken of the voters register before we finally certify it on the 31st of July,” says Priscilla Isaac, director of elections at the Electoral Commission of Zambia.

“Everybody is supposed to inspect and some organizations have asked for accreditation to enable them sit in the registration centers to observe what is going on. So, each and every one who registered as a voter, whether it was last year or during the 2005-2006 exercise, they are all expected to come in and inspect their particulars, to ensure that their individual particulars are correct, and also to make sure that they have not been inadvertently omitted from the voters roll.”

Voter education

Isaac says the Electoral Commission of Zambia has intensified voter education using print, television and radio stations across the country, as well as social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter to encourage voters to be part of the electoral process. She says political parties and civil society groups have been urged to help in an effort to reduce voter apathy.

Isaac says political parties are being urged to call their supporters to refrain from violence during the campaign begins and elections.

The ruling PF and the opposition UPND planned to hold their campaign rallies at the same venue on Saturday, which would have been against the electoral commission’s calendar of events.

“We’ve asked [the political parties] to submit their campaign programs to the local police and the local district election officer so that at least when they give their notification or when they are going to hold their rallies and public meetings, there can be proper coordination so that we minimize complaints of people not being allowed to assemble as they has asked because of possible clashes with respective party programs,” said Isaac.

“As a commission we advised them not to and they heeded to our advice, and so everybody would be starting to campaign on the 16th".

Incumbent President Edgar Lungu faces a stiff challenge from main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema in the presidential election on August 11.


Ghana: Most Ghanaian voters’ minds made up – Political scientist

A political scientist at the University of Ghana, Dr Alidu Seidu, has observed that many Ghanaians have already made up their minds regarding who they will vote for in the November 7 presidential and parliamentary elections.

According to him, debates that will be organised for the presidential and parliamentary aspirants will have a minimal effect on the choices that Ghanaians will make in the elections.

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) have announced their intentions to organise debates and dialogue sessions for the aspirants, but arguments have been made by political observers that the debates over the years have had little or no effects on the outcome of the election results.

Speaking in an interview with a local television station, TV3, on Sunday May 15, Dr Alidu Seidu stated emphatically that “many Ghanaians have already made up their minds” which direction to vote.

He, however, said if eventually the debate and dialogue sessions come off, they should be made to focus on the areas of energy, economy, general security, agriculture, and health.

According to him, these are the most crucial things Ghanaians need.

“As a country I think the presidential debate must focus on employment, energy, economy, general security and then it must focus on agriculture and, then, health,” he emphasised, stressing that “Those things are very crucial.”

Source: Ghana/

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Gambia: Tension builds up ahead of election

The difficult economic situation in Gambia, and the recent closure of the border with Senegal has further deepen the socio-political crisis in the country.

Activists and main opposition party members, who were demonstrating for the release of their detained members have also been arrested an for illegal gathering.

It is less than seven months to the country’s presidential election, the opposition parties have called for constitutional reforms.

Gambia is currently going through a period of economic difficulties and a relative diplomatic isolation, detractors have blamed president Yahya Jammeh, who has been in power since 24 years for the crisis in the country.

Gambian security forces had arrested at least three Senegalese environmental ministry officials last month near the border village of Niaming.

The officials were carrying out an environmental survey on managing resources along their porous border when they were arrested.

Gambia had accused Senegal of harboring its enemies, activists, politicians and coup plotters who have escaped the wrath of president Jammeh.

At least two former allies of the iron fist ruler have been kidnapped in Senegal.


Comoros: Former president reelected as president

[Africanews/ AFP] Colonel Azali Assoumani, is the president-elect of Comoros, according to provisional results released on Thursday morning after a partial presidential election, ordered by the Constitutional Court.

According to the National Independent Electoral Commission, Colonel Azali Assoumani, got 2.27% of votes as against 1.30% by his rival and outgoing leader Soilihi Mohamed Ali.

Provisional results from this round added to the initial results of the April poll, allow Assoumani to stay ahead, according to vice-president of the electoral commission, Nadjahe Allawi

Assoumani will be heading to the Beit-Salam presidential palace for the second time, after his first stint between 1999 and 2006 was ended by a coup.

The Constitutional Court is expected to validate these results in the coming days, with the inauguration of the new president scheduled for May 26.

Uganda: Opposition leader in police grip after swearing himself as president

[Africanews/Reuters] Ugandan police have arrested opposition leader, Kizza Besigye, after he swore himself to office before party officials ahead of incumbent Yoweri Museveni’s swearing-in ceremony on Thursday.

“I, Kizza Besigye Kifefe, swear in the name of the almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Republic of Uganda and that I shall preserve, protect and defend the constitution. So help me God,” he took an oath holding a bible.

“I shall preserve, protect and defend the constitution of Uganda, so help me God,” Besigye swore before party officials and supporters.

After the event, Besigye drove around Kampala waving at supporters before he was arrested by police for “addressing an illegal assembly, and towed his car away with him inside it,” Reuters reports.

Besigye, who is the leader of the Forum for Democratic Change, was arrested several times after the country’s disputed February 18 general election.

Besigye has insisted he won the election with 52 per cent votes, despite the official announcement that declared Museveni winner with 61 per cent votes. He got 35 per cent and declared the polls were rigged and will not approve Museveni’s presidency.

“Mr. Museveni who intends to cling onto what Mr. Kiggundu announced, that is unattainable from the available evidence. Therefore, any swearing-in by Mr. Museveni is not a swearing by the constitution of the Republic of Uganda because he has not won an election,” Besigye said.

Security has been tightened in the Ugandan capital ahead of Thursday’s swearing-in ceremony for President Yoweri Museveni who will extend his mandate as the country’s leader for another five-year term

On Tuesday, there were several foot and vehicle security patrols by the military and police on the streets of Kampala.

Fourteen Heads of State are expected to attend the swearing-in ceremony scheduled to take place at the Kololo ceremonial ground in Kampala.

DRC: Court rules President Kabila can stay in power if election delays

The Constitutional Court of the Democratic Republic of Congo has ruled on Wednesday that President Joseph Kabila would stay in power beyond the end of his mandate if there is a failure to hold election in November.

The Court ruled after around 200 members of parliament from the ruling party filed a petition for an interpretation of articles linked to the mandates of the president and MPs.

Kabila is required by the constitution to step down in December after two five-year terms in office but the election to choose his successor is likely to be delayed due to budgetary and logistical obstacles.

Opinions on the election row has been mixed and analysts believe if the status quo remains, people may soon take to the streets to protest.

President Kabila has refused to state publicly whether he intends to stand for a third term, which would require a constitutional change.

He has instead called for a national dialogue to address obstacles to holding elections.

Meanwhile, Congolese opposition presidential candidate Moise Katumbi has appeared before a prosecutor in Lubumbashi to respond to accusations from the government that he hired foreign mercenaries.

Thousands of his supporters who thronged the prosecutor general’s office were dispersed by police with tear gas.

DRC’s electoral commission said in January that it would take at least 13 months to update voter lists, pushing the election back into 2017.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Comoros: Voting underway in partial presidential polls re-run

[Africanews/AFP] Security was tightened on Wednesday in Comoros as 13 polling stations returned to the polls in a partial re-run of the presidential election. Polling stations were open from 7 am on Wednesday, which had been declared a public holiday.

Riot police were deployed in the island of Anjouan, after the second round of presidential elections held on April 10 were marred by irregularities and violence.

Provisional results of the presidential and gubernatorial elections in Comoros have been released and only three candidates will go for the second ...
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Some 6,300 Comorians will cast their ballots, in a decisive vote decisive, as only 2,000 votes separate the two candidates, Colonel Assoumani and Mohamed Ali Soilihi.

After a short campaign period of seven days, the winner of this election will be installed as the president on may 26 for a single term of five years.

The three islands that make up the Comoros – Anjouan, Grand Comore and Moheli – have a total population of just under 800,000 people, nearly all of whom are Sunni Muslims.

Ghana: 2016 presidential debate slated for September

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has launched its 2016 debate series for presidential candidates for parties with representation in parliament to articulate their visions and guide voters to make informed choices during the polls.

The debate is expected to provide a unique platform for the presidential aspirants to explain their partie’s governance strategy and to clarify how their policies could stir issue-based electioneering and promote peace.

“Indeed, whilst credible elections form an integral part of democracies, political engagement and debates that enable the electorate to make an informed choice on candidates are essential,” Dr Micheal Ofori-Mensah, Senior Research Fellow at IEA, said at the launch on Tuesday.

The 2016 IEA’s pre-election debate which would cover presidential debates and vice presidential debates as was done alongside the ‘2012 debate series publication’ aimed to deepen citizens’ knowledge on the 2012 debate series.

“Democracy is truly exercised when the electorate is knowledgeable and informed. Hence, for the fifth consecutive time, the IEA would host its pre-election debate series for candidates whose parties have representation in parliament,” he said.

Dr Ofori-Mensah said the institute would hold two presidential debates for each party to discuss policies and programmes that they believe would best serve national interests as well as point out policy weaknesses of their co-contestants and offer alternative solutions.

He said the IEA was exploring possibilities of holding an exclusive debate for the two front runners – National Democratic Congress and New Patriotic Party- and a separate one for candidates from minority parties without seats in parliament.

One debate would be organised for vice aspirants whose parties have representation in parliament, Dr Ofori-Mensah said.

He said the objective of the vice presidential debate was same as the presidential one since they would need to assume the position of the president in his or her absence, hence the need for them to also demonstrate the qualities of a president.

Dr Ofori-Mensah said they would organise an evening encounter series between mid-June and mid-July to enable candidates interact with the voters.

The first presidential debate is expected to take place in the last week of September while the second would be in the third week of October with the vice presidential debates likely to happen in the first week of October.

A Presidential Debate Committee would be constituted to review the ground rules that would govern the debates and solicit questions from the populace to evoke accountability, he said.

Political pundits maintain that the success of this year’s presidential and parliamentary polls would mark 24 years of uninterrupted constitutional rule in Ghana and put the country in a more enviable position among its peers in the sub-region.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Comoros: Key presidential re-run slated for May 11

The people of Anjouan in the Comoros return to the polls in a partial re-run of the presidential election which will be held in 13 constituencies on May 11.

Over 6000 voters are expected to cast their ballot. Their vote will be crucially decisive, as only 2,000 votes separates the two candidates, Colonel Assoumani and Mohamed Ali Soilihi.

Assoumani took 40.98 percent of the vote, narrowly ahead of Vice President Mohamed Ali Soilihi, the ruling party’s presidential candidate, who garnered some 39.87 percent.

If all goes well, there is no reason that I cannot be the President of 2016.
“The authorities have taken measures. Those measures are being backed by the international community. If all goes well, there is no reason that I cannot be the President of 2016,“Azali Assoumani said.

Soilihi’s camp has also been talking tough.

“My state of mind is also one of optimism. I have toured all localities who are concerned with the restoration of hope and I can say that I hope to win on May 11,” Mohamed Ali Soilihi said.

The second round of presidential elections held on April 10 was marked by irregularities and acts of violence.

The president of the AU Commission called on the two candidates and their supporters to avoid a spill over.

The winner of the polls becomes president of the Union of Comoros on May 26.


Ghana: I’m not too old to be president – Opposition leader

The flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Nana Akufo-Addo has reiterated age is not a factor when it comes to the presidency, but competence and ability to deliver count.

Inaugurating the South African branch of the NPP on Saturday, at Illovo in Johannesburg, the three-time presidential candidate of the main opposition party noted, the NDC’s bid to play the age card to secure victory in the 2016 elections will not wash.

According to the 72-year-old, there are living examples in the sub-region to prove that presidents above 70 can provide solutions.

“Alassane Ouattara, who I am talking about, in Cote d’Ivoire is two years older than me. Muhammadu Buhari is three years older than me, and you see what he is doing in Nigeria,” the former foreign affairs minister told the gathering.

“The so-called young man that we have is plunging our country into a ditch. Let’s elect the so-called old man to come and take our country out of the ditch.”

Describing 2016 as a critical year for Ghanaians, the NPP flagbearer urged all party members to put their shoulders to the wheel and help push the elephant into the Jubilee House.

“That is the task ahead of us. We cannot allow it to be said by our children and grandchildren that at the time when it was necessary to rescue our country, our generation failed the task. We can’t do that.

“Let this be the generation that saved Ghana, so that, one day, when the history books are being written they will say ‘it was in our grandparents’ time, when Akufo-Addo was president, that we changed the fortunes of our country’”, he said.

Present at the event were NPP MP for Oforikrom, Hon. Elizabeth Agyemang; NPP Director of International Relations, Charles Owiredu; NPP South Africa branch Chairman, Kwaku Odame; NPP South Africa branch vice Chairman, Professor Amoateng; founding member of the NPP South Africa branch, Mr. Enoch Peprah; Political Assistant to Nana Akufo-Addo, Francis Asenso Boakye; and Press Secretary to Nana Akufo-Addo, Eugene Arhin, and hundreds of Ghanaians, amongst others.

Source: Ghana/

Ghana: Elections group kicks against extension of Limited Voter Registration

The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has kicked against calls for the extension of the just ended Limited Voter Registration Exercise.

The coalition has instead charged the Electoral Commission to speed up implementation of the all-year-continuous registration of eligible voters.

There have been series of complaints about the failure of some eligible voters to get their names on the electoral roll in the just ended Limited Registration Exercise.

Several tertiary students are already calling for an extension of the registration exercise which they complain clashed with their examination period.

Speaking to Ultimate FM, a member of CODEO in the Ashanti region, Ernest Akosah said an extension of the exercise is needless.

“Almost everybody who turned up at the registration centre was captured, except those who turned up after 6pm for reasons best known to them.

“What the EC should be doing is to revisit the C1 91 that covers the whole registration exercise which allows for the continuous registration of eligible voters so if for one reason or the other I could not get my name onto the register, there are still opportunities for me to get registered,” he noted.

The 10-day limited voter registration exercise ended on Sunday, May 8. It is unclear if the EC will extend the date.


Kenya: Citizens protest against electoral body

Kenyan police have fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters who had gathered to demand the resignation of a body supervising next year's presidential elections.

Hundreds demonstrated on Monday in Nairobi near the office of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

They were demanding the resignation of the electoral body, saying it would rig the 2017 presidential elections.

Al Jazeera's Catherine Soi, reporting from Nairobi, said security was tight in the Kenyan capital after the protesters - who have pledged to gather every Monday - were dispersed.

"The protesters, led by opposition leader Raila Odinga, were demanding the resignation of the electoral commission as they believe there is already a plan to rig next year's general elections in favour of the ruling party," she said.

"The claims have been denied by the electoral body, which has described them as mere allegations and challenged the opposition to provide evidence."

"IEBC must go," the protesters shouted as dozens of police with support vehicles were mobilised on Monday in Nairobi.

Kenya's presidential and parliamentary polls are more than a year away but politicians are already lining up for what could be a bruising battle.

Violence erupted after the 2007 vote in Kenya, and the opposition disputed the 2013 election results.

"According to the protesters, the resignation process will take a long time, which is why they are protesting a year in advance to pressure them to disband," Al Jazeera's Soi said.

Members of the opposition Coalition of Reform and Democracy (CORD), which unsuccessfully sought to overturn the 2013 election results, staged a street protest last month.

The 2013 vote, which brought President Uhuru Kenyatta to power, proceeded calmly despite the opposition challenge.

Authorities face pressure to prepare carefully to ensure a peaceful vote in a country where ethnic loyalties often trump policy among voters.

About 1,200 people were killed in ethnic killing that erupted after the 2007 elections.

Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, were on opposing sides in 2007 but, in 2013, they united in a coalition.

They were both charged by the Geneva-based International Criminal Court (ICC) with fomenting the post-election violence.

Both denied the charges, which were later dropped by the ICC.

Source: Al Jazeera

Ghana:Huge turnout on last day of limited voter registration

The last day of the limited voters’ registration in the New Juaben Municipality saw many people rushing to the centres to get their names on the electoral roll.

A total of 68 eligible voters had registered as of 1612 hours, when the Ghana News Agency (GNA) got to the Highways Registration Centre, and many others were seen standing in a queue, anxiously waiting to go through the process.

Within a space of four days, 253 people had been registered there.

At the Effiduase Community Centre, 51 people had successfully completed the process when GNA visited at 1632 hours on the last final day. Others were waiting for their turn.

Here a total of 319 new names had been added to the voters roll in four days.

The qualification of two applicants had been challenged.


Ghana: EC urged to extend ended voter registration exercise

A lecturer in political science at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Mohammed Abass, has urged Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) to put measures in place to have another bout of the limited voter registration exercise.

He said the move was necessary to ensure that several persons who were unsuccessful in getting their names on the voter roll for various reasons are captured by the EC on the register. To him, given Ghana’s experience with the democratic process, the matter of registering new voters should not have encountered the challenges witnessed by the electoral body.

The EC carried out its limited voter registration exercise from April 28 to May 8, 2016 across the country and witnessed skirmishes mainly between supporters of Ghana’s leading parties – the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

“Politically, given the number of years we have practised democracy, in my view, what we witnessed in the limited voter registration should not have happened. We have practised democracy for more than 20 years and when we are having a registration for persons who have attained voting age to be able to vote in the election, it should be a very normal process. We did not even have to hear a word of insult, much less vandalism and violence, macho men and other things. It is something we have to address if we want our democracy to improve. From what I saw as a political scientist, I will say that ethically and given our level of maturity and the democracy we are practicing, we should not have seen this,” Mr Abass stated on Accra News on Monday May 9.

He said the inability of some persons to register due to administrative challenges with the process was “a big problem” given that one of the most fundamental rights for citizens in a democracy like Ghana’s was the power to vote in an election.

“And the very first process to enable one to vote in an election is registration. So, this is a very serious problem because if even one person is unable to write his name to enable him vote in an election, then the whole nation owes that person an obligation to have him write his name and vote. So, it should not have happened,” the lecturer continued.

“But even seeing that this has happened, the EC could have extended it, instead of ending the process with the intention of probably registering potential voters later because its equipment are still available and they could have recruited people to ensure that happened.

“I think the violence and tension that surrounded the exercise made them unwilling to extend the date because if they did it, it could have led to further problems. In spite of these, it is something they have to do before the elections, and it is something they must do quickly in order not to create further agitations, so, people do not mobilise to do what they should not be doing.”

Source: Ghana/

Ghana: Cleric takes on political parties for blaming EC over bloated register

Chairman of the Peace Council, Rt. Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante has said that political parties do not have the moral right to blame the Electoral Commission (EC) over the existence of minors on the electoral roll since they are the one who bus  minors to registration centres  to get them captured on to the biometric data.

He said, blaming the EC over our bloated register will be extremely hypocritical on the part of political parties because they supervise these illegal acts due to their over zealousness for political power.

Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Asante speaking in an interview with Nyankonton Mu Nsem indicated, the voters’ register is a valuable document therefore it should be credible, however, a credible register he posited is the collective responsibility of all stakeholders.

Both the NDC and NPP have accused each other of registering minors in the just ended limited registration exercise. General Secretary of the governing party, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah has said that all political parties are to be blamed for minors on our register.

The chief scribe of the party in an interview with Rainbow Radio revealed that more minors registered in the just ended limited registration exercise, because some political parties failed to help prevent such illegalities.

He said, the NDC as a party is willing to assist the EC to resolve the problem but their opponents, the NPP are not happy to join efforts in resolving the problem. An Electoral Officer with the EC at Tarkwa Nsuam Mr. Kweku Owusu Addo in an interview today, revealed that observers from both political parties registered minors in the area during the exercise and he personally had to challenge about 10 of those people.

Commenting on the issue, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Asante quizzed, ‘’If that is true, then what moral right do  political parties involved in this have, to blame the EC over a bloated register?’’

He added, you do not have the moral right whatsoever to blame the EC if the register is bloated if you [political parties] supervise the registration of minors.’’

He charged Ghanaians to stand up against this illegality which has the potential of creating chaos and unnecessary tension. He particularly singled out parents to stand up against politicians who for their political power, want to register their wards who are not eligible to vote for them during elections.

Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Asante noted the ripple effects of such acts will not only affect one political party rather citizens hence the need for every concern Ghanaian to join the fight against it.

"Ghana is bigger than any political party, so let’s break our silence and speak against the registration of minors. Ghana does not belong to either the NDC or NPP, it belongs to all of us, and so we have the right to speak…

Why have you kept quiet as parents to allow your ward to register when he or she is not qualified? Do you think you will be spared when the station is destabilised?’’

"I will only appeal to Ghanaians to be bold and defend the country when things go wrong. We must speak the truth at all times no matter what the challenge we will go through.’’


Friday, May 6, 2016

DRC: Controversy brews over Kabila's presidential mandate

[Elvis Boh with REUTERS] The debate on whether president Joseph Kabila will stay in power if the country fails to organise its presidential election in November,preoccupies public opinion in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Parliamentarians of the ruling party in the DRC recently filed a petition at the constitutional court to push for a clarification on the interpretation of three articles of the country’s constitution.

Kabila’s mandate ends later this year and he is required by the constitution to step down.

“According to our understanding, the president’s mandate expires when a new president is elected, that’s clear. Today we have a president whose mandate expires with the installation of a newly elected president, that’s what the constitution says. But if there are contradictions in the way that it is interpreted, we ask the constitutional court to give us an interpretation that will be accepted by everyone,” Shadari Ramazani, deputy National speaker of Congo’s parliament said.

According to Article 70 of the country’s constitution the president is elected for a five-year term renewable once and stays in office until a new president is elected .

However Article 73 makes it clear that the presidential elections should be organised 90 days before the end of the president’s mandate.

“These people now want to push the constitutional court to rule in Kabila’s favour,” an opposition member Martin Fayulu said.
Kabila has been president since 2001 and is required by the constitution to step down when his second mandate expires towards the end of this year.

Some analysts citing Article 75 of the constitution suggest that Kabila should hand over to the president of the senate during the election.

The decision of the constitutional court is expected in the coming days.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

CAR: New parliament starts with focus on credible polls

[Ken Karuri/] Parliament started work on Tuesday for the first time in the Central African Republic following a peaceful vote aimed at ending the spiral of inter-communal unrest that has displaced more than 400,000 people.

128 MPs among a total of 140 have been elected for a 5-year mandate. By-elections will be held on 15 May to complete the process.

The new lawmakers – who had been elected following the expiry of the transition period – gathered for the first time on May 3, within the grounds of the National Assembly in Bangui.

This is once again a victory for democracy in Central Africa following the success of the electoral process.
Besides the MPs and their supporters, ordinary citizens attended the crucial session in the country’s democratic life.

“This is once again a victory for democracy in Central Africa following the success of the electoral process,” said Aaron Grengbo, a law student.

The session opening happened slightly over a month after the inauguration of President, Faustin Archange Touadéra, on March 30 and marked a new chapter in the establishment of the newly elected authorities.

The elected officials know that their task will be immense.

“We have to face the challenge of development. The Central Africans have embraced democracy and we must not disappoint them,” said Emilie Beatrice Epaye, an MP for Markounda.

In the coming days, the new Assembly will appoint the Executive Board members and, on Friday, elect their Chairman.

Mauritania: President wants Senate abolished

[Ken Karuri] Mauritanian President, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has called for country’s Senate to be abolished after he described it as a foreign replica with little or no significance.

Aziz made the announcement during an impromptu speech at a public meeting in Nema, in the far east of Mauritania on Tuesday, adding that a constitutional amendment to this effect will be submitted to a referendum.

The west African leader called for a national referendum to decide over the move while giving opposition parties three to four weeks to decide whether they will take part in the vote.

We are calling on the entire political class to attend a dialogue on that issue (suppression of the Senate,) which will be subject to a constitutional referendum.

“We are calling on the entire political class to attend a dialogue on that issue (suppression of the Senate,) which will be subject to a constitutional referendum,” he said without disclosing a date for the vote.

Aziz blamed the 58-member senate of prolonging law adoption procedures and suggested that regional councils to be made up of locals would replace the legislature.

“The councils will ensure the economic and social development of their regions,” Aziz said.

The current senate, sitting since 2010, is largely made up of members of the ruling party and its mandate has reportedly expired.

Aziz, 59, has been accused by rights activists of seeking to prolong his stay in office beyond his mandate which ends in 2019 after calls by some members of his cabinet for a constitutional change to allow him to run again.

Uganda: Police foils opposition leader's 'swearing-in' ceremony

[By Godfrey Olukya] Uganda police on Thursday foiled plans by the main opposition party, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) to 'swear-in' President Yoweri Museveni's rival Kizza Besigye in the aftermath of February's controversial elections.

FDC party members wanted to 'swear-in' Besigye as the president of Uganda before disrupting Museveni's own swearing-in ceremony set for May 12 in Kampala.

Museveni was declared the winner of the February 18 presidential election with over 60 percent of the vote but Besigye's party rejected the results citing alleged fraud. Besigye got 35 percent of the votes.

FDC's plans to hold a swearing in ceremony at a Kampala school playground was part of the party's defiance campaign.

Police said they had foiled the event by deploying heavily around the proposed venue. Armed police also stopped Besigye from leaving his home about 15 kilometres from Kampala.

There was heavy police deployment in Kampala and other major towns with the streets of the capital being patrolled by armed military policemen and local policemen.

"We have put in place enough security measure to ensure that all Ugandans are safe and can go on with their work as usual," police spokesperson Fred Enanga said. "I call upon all Ugandans to go on with their work because security is assured."

On the eve of the 'swearing-in' Besigye wrote on Facebook that he "won the February presidential elections with 52 percent but instead Museveni was declared the winner." He called for nationwide protests to put pressure on government to accept an international audit of the results.

Meanwhile, some leading politicians say they would mobilise to counter Besigye's defiance campaign.

Fred Mwesigye, one of the Members of Parliament leading the anti Besigye campaign said Museveni's fierce rival could not be allowed to defy an elected president. "We cannot keep quiet when Besigye is calling for defiance against an elected president," he said.

Uganda Federal Alliance president Beti Kamya wrote an opinion piece in the government controlled New Vision newspaper arguing that Besigye's claims that he won the polls were falls. "Besigye is simply engaged in propaganda as FDC did not even field candidates in most elective positions," she wrote.

The FDC leader has tried in several polls to dislodge Museveni from power without success and accuses the Uganda strongman of manipulating elections.

Africa Reports

Ghana: Supreme Court orders EC to clean voters' register

A seven-member Supreme Court panel chaired by the Chief Justice, Georgina Wood, has in a ruling, ordered the electoral commission to clean the voters' register before the 2016 elections.

The court held that names of people who registered with the National Health Insurance Card must be deleted from the register but be afforded the opportunity to register again, if they qualify.

The ruling follows a suit filed by former PNC youth organiser Abu Ramada challenging the validity of the current voters register.

Ramadan contends that the current register is compromised and cannot be used for the 2016 general elections.

He wanted the court to declare the register null and void and order a validation of all registered voters.

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the EC Charlotte Osei has indicated the readiness of the commission to implement the ruling of the apex court of the land.


Kenya: Western envoys call for building confidence in electoral system

Eleven Western Diplomats on Wednesday asked Kenyans to build confidence in the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) insisting that reforms must be anchored on the Constitution as the country readies itself for general Elections on August 2017.The envoys encouraged Kenyan leaders and citizens to dialogue and build confidence in the electoral system at a time when the opposition and government trade barbs over the disbandment of IEBC as the country shifts into campaign modes.

“Decisions on questions such as the future of the IEBC’s leadership must be broadly acceptable, achieved through dialogue, and made in accord with Kenya’s constitution and laws,â€� the envoys said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The envoys sentiments after the opposition last week staged protests in Nairobi calling for the disbandment of IEBC on grounds it’s dictated by the jubilee government and cannot be trusted to handle the next elections.

On the other hand, President Uhuru Kenyatta has condemned the opposition demands and urged the opposition to remove the electoral body constitutionally, by tabling a petition in parliament.

“To ensure a credible, peaceful poll in 2017, we call on Kenya’s leaders and citizens to come together through dialogue to build confidence in the electoral system,â€� the envoys added.

They committed to supporting Kenyan ahead of the critical elections billed to be one of the most competitive and expensive poll in the country’s history disclosing that they funding technical assistance, civic education, and conflict mitigation efforts.

“We will continue to engage with Kenyan leaders, citizens, and organizations across the country in the months ahead,� they pointed out.

The statement was signed by the envoys of US, UK, France, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Netherlands and Australia.

President Uhuru Kenyatta who will be running for second and final term in office is expected to face it off in a ‘do or die’ duel with opposition Chief Raila Odinga in what is widely considered to be his last chance on account of his age. Mr Odinga, 72 will be making his fourth stab at the Presidency in the August 27 polls

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Gabon: Business mogul founds party to challenge ruling party

A former board member of Gabon’s ruling party, Alfred Nguia Banda, has founded a new political party that is set to contest against his former party in elections set for later this year.

The business magnate is expected to give further details about the party called the Socialist and Republican Movement in the coming days.

His party hopes to amend the constitution so as to allow a strictly two-term presidential system.

We will support a politician who has to take into consideration our ideas.
Banda meanwhile has reassured public opinion that he will not stand for the upcoming election.

“All political actors will have this document which will spark discussions. Since I am not a candidate, our ideas will have to be taken into consideration. We will support a politician who has to take into consideration our ideas,” the founder said.

Bongo was endorsed last month by party officials after his candidacy was announced earlier in February.

Bongo won a disputed election in 2009 after the death of his father Omar Bongo and is now nearing the end of his first seven-year mandate. There are no presidential term limits in Gabon.

“Bongo Fils”, or Bongo’s son as he known locally, has sought to reform and diversify the former French colony’s oil-reliant economy and increase public investment, although some of his ambitious programmes have been hit by falling commodity prices


Zambia: Opposition leader trial adjourned

The trial of Zambian opposition leader, Geoffrey Mwamba, who is accused of inciting violence against President Edgar Lungu, has been adjourned to next week.

He has refuted the claims. ‘’ I refute the charge, “Mwamba says.

‘‘If he is found guilty, he could face a maximum sentence of five years,’‘ his lawyers have explained.

If he is found guilty, he could face a maximum sentence of five years.
Zambia’s general elections on August 11 and ready there is heightened tension and political activity.

Mwamba was arrested and accused of wanting to create an illegal militia.

Chad: Iran congratulates President Deby on re-election

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani congratulated his Chadian counterpart Idriss Déby on his re-election as President of the African country.

In a message, President Rouhani felicitated Déby on being elected as the President of the Chad in elections held on April.

Rouhani expressed the hope that Iran and Chad would boost mutual cooperation under Déby’s new term as president.

Iran’s president also wished health and success for his counterpart and progress and happiness for the people of Chad.

President Déby, 63, won more than 60 percent of votes cast on Chad Election Day, April 10, to defeat more than a dozen of his challengers. All the other candidates trailed far behind, with the runner-up, opposition leader Saleh Kebzabo, winning 12,80 %.

The landslide victory secured Déby his fifth term in office.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Ghana: Apply: Opportunity for election coverage volunteers

Penplusbytes ( is a leader in new media and innovations; mining, oil and gas and the use of new digital technologies to promote good governance and democracy. It is seeking volunteers for the coverage of 2016 elections in Ghana.

Job Descriptions for Volunteers For the Elections

·         Research and write stories/blogs on elections for online platforms.
·         Create image links and ensure links are up to date.
·         Ensure blog(s) are accessible from a variety of different environments.
·         Perform continuous enhancements and modifications to blogs.
·         Respond promptly to blog comments and email.
·         Contribute to research work.

·         Copy edit content including posts on twitter and Facebook
·         Edit and create layout for new articles and features.
·         Ensure images are delivered to the viewer at sufficient high speed and quality.
·         Interface collaboratively with web design team to insure cohesiveness between stories and blogs for corporate web site and other platforms.

Social Media Analyst –
·         Lead in the creation, conception, and presentation of social media strategy for elections 2016
·         Analyse trends and content (posts) on various social media platforms to make predictions/forecasts.
·         Provide metrics of traffic statistics, reports and blog comment feedback to appropriate people.
·         Write reports for the Elections team to show which topics or issues are trending and how they are likely to impact on votes.
·         Increase the overall exposure of Penplusbytes elections work though search engine optimization (SEO) by using key words.
·         Study emerging social media tools and observe how often those platforms and tools are used.
·         Monitor emerging social media tools to see how they can be incorporated into wider analysis.
·         Use analysis to interpret social media and other online data to react to issues and other concerns that may affect the elections coverage.

·         Strong analytical skills.
·         Must be team players, but able to work independently when needed.
·         Degree in Communications, New Media or Public Relations.

Social Media Assistants
·         Responsible for creating and maintaining a presence on social media sites, which include Facebook, Twitter, Flickr as well as any organisational blogs.
·         Responsible for posting content on elections social media platforms.
·         Monitor emerging social media tools and find ways how they can be incorporated into the elections coverage.
·         Use creativity and social media networks to help generate awareness and promote Penplusbytes Elections coverage.

·         Must have creative writing ability.
·         Must be team players, but able to work independently when needed.
·         Degree in Communications , Marketing or Public Relations.

Field officers/Monitors
·         Send information from the field and verify information sent by citizens.
·         Be able to keep confidential information.
·         Maintain effective relationships with counterparts in the CSO sector to promote and strengthen coordinated support for Penplusbytes project.  

•          Must be team players, but able to work independently when needed.

•          Degree in Political Studies

To Apply 
To apply for any of these positions, kindly follow and complete the form in this link: The application deadline for this position is May 12th 2016.

Please note that only short-listed candidates will be contacted. We thank all applicants.