The Guinean opposition has decided to recall its members from the National Independent Electoral Commission in escalated tensions with the government over the date of the West African country’s legislative election and related issues. The opposition has also put on halt all activities in the election process, according to a statement released on Monday night. The statement announced the decision citing the serious violation by the government of the legal provisions regulating the functioning of this institution.
Articles about voting issues in sub-Saharan Africa.
As crucial presidential and parliamentary elections loom in Zimbabwe, a secretive Israeli-based company – accused of manipulating past elections in the region – is alleged to be involved in managing the Zimbabwean voters’ roll. Eddie Cross, a Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MP who has proved to be well informed on security matters in the past, told the Mail & Guardian that he had been informed by security sources that the company, Nikuv International Projects, is working on the roll at Defence House, the headquarters of the Zimbabwe Defence Force. The MDC also alleged that Nikuv was a front for the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, although it offered no evidence to support the claim. It is unclear what Nikuv’s involvement in this coming election is but it specialises in population registration and election systems. Cross said the source told him that the company is working under the direction of Daniel Tonde Nhepera, the deputy head of the Zimbabwe’s dreaded internal security arm, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO). Another Zimbabwean intelligence source confirmed to the M&G the allegation that Nikuv is working on the voters’ roll “with the CIO”.
The list of the 705 voters submitted by the Electoral commission as being names of Ghanaians registered in various diplomatic missions abroad to vote in the December 2012 polls, “was actually forged and contained several instances of multiple names and fake identities.” This was revealed in the affidavit of the petitioners challenging the outcome of the 2012 presidential elections. On Sunday, the petitioners filed their affidavits with supporting evidence to enable the hearing of the case to begin on April 16. According to the affidavit filed by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the 2nd petitioner, the list of 705 names from various diplomatic missions abroad furnished by the EC (2nd respondent) contained “51 instances of repeated names to a total of 102.” Furthermore, many of the names supplied by the EC cannot be found in the general voters’ register presented to political parties before the election, the affidavit alleged.
Zimbabwe is on track for another flawed election this year unless it can refresh outdated voter lists, approve “an army” of outsider observers and find foreign donors willing to pay for the vote, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Monday. However, postponing the poll to maintain a stop-gap unity government between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is not an option, with the fractious coalition well past its sell-by date, Biti told a Reuters Africa Summit. “I don’t think we are in a position today, right now, of having legitimate, credible, sustainable elections,” Biti, a leading member of Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, said. “At the rate we are going, it is obvious that we are going to have another flawed election … Zimbabweans cannot afford another flawed election.”
President Robert Mugabe’s lawyers dropped the June 29th election date before High Court Judge President George Chiweshe on Wednesday, but will continue challenging the court case on by-elections. This appears to be a development in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s favour, as he was rejecting attempts by Mugabe to call elections by the end of June. The President had gone to the High Court requesting to be excused from a court order to proclaim by-elections by 31st March 2013. That request is being opposed by three former legislators, Abednico Bhebhe, Norman Mpofu and Njabuliso Mguni, who want their vacant constituencies filled through by-elections in their constituencies. The 89 year old leader said it would be expensive to hold by-elections and then harmonized elections a few months later and wanted to proclaim the dates for harmonized elections on or before 29th June. Tsvangirai rejected this and last week filed an application in the High Court as the Fourth Respondent, objecting to the President’s proposed timeline.
Elections in Zimbabwe are still months away, but already President Robert Mugabe’s party is intimidating its opponents and threatening violence, human rights and pro-democracy groups say. Witnesses say Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party has begun deploying youth militia groups in some of its strongholds. A young mother in the Harare township of Mbare said militants of a pro-Mugabe youth group known as Chipangano, or “the brotherhood” in local slang, have started door-to-door visits in the neighborhood and told residents to attend night meetings where names and identity particulars of participants were written down. “They are watching me every day,” she said, refusing to give her name because she feared violent retribution. If she doesn’t go to the meetings with family members and friends her absence will be noted down on another list of suspected Mugabe opponents, she said.
Calm returned to the western Kenyan stronghold of defeated presidential candidate Raila Odinga on Monday after two days of running battles with police following the Supreme Court’s confirmation of his rival Uhuru Kenyatta as president-elect. Two people were shot dead in the unrest, but the violence was on a much smaller scale than the nationwide bloodshed that followed the 2007 election when the western city of Kisumu was one of the places worst affected places by deadly riots. This year there was little sign of any violence beyond Kisumu, which strongly backs Odinga, reflecting a desire by Kenyans to avoid a repeat of the bloodshed that badly damaged their economy, east Africa’s biggest, five years ago. A busy bus station that had been deserted since the rioting began on Saturday was once again bustling as passengers scrambled to board minibuses as they disgorged dozens returning from rural areas where they had fled for fear of violence. “Business is booming today. The demand has gone up and fares doubled since many are returning from home and others leaving for various places,” said Bonny Otieno, 32, transporter. “Politics is over and we’ve embarked on nation building.”
Kenya’s Supreme Court ordered a recount of ballots at 22 polling stations in this month’s presidential election and said it will analyze return forms as it decides on a challenge to the outcome of the vote. Raila Odinga, the outgoing prime minister, filed a petition in the nation’s highest court after he lost the March 4 election to Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s first president. Odinga has asked the court to overturn the result, saying the balloting was riddled with fraud and irregularities. “The re-tally shall aim at establishing whether the number of votes cast in each of these 22 polling stations exceeds the number of registered voters,” Justice Smokin Wanjala said at a pretrial hearing today in Nairobi, the capital. Turnout was a record 86 percent of 14.3 million registered voters across about 31,000 polling stations.
President Robert Mugabe’s plans to hold elections by June 29 continue to draw suspicion with analysts saying the dates are not tenable as long as critical political and other reforms have not been implemented. But other analysts said implementation of reforms should be speeded up as it would be impossible to do that after June 29 when Parliament is automatically dissolved in accordance with the Constitution. Mugabe last week indicated in an urgent High Court chamber application that following the adoption of a new draft constitution in the recent referendum, harmonised elections will be held by June 29.
A lawyer for Kenya’s election commission cited the U.S. Supreme Court case Bush vs. Gore on Thursday during arguments before a Kenya Supreme Court that must now rule on the outcome of this East African country’s presidential election. Ahmednasir Abdullahi told Kenya’s highest court Thursday it should adhere to judicial restraint and uphold the March 4 result from Kenya’s election commission showing that Uhuru Kenyatta won with 50.07 percent of the March 4 vote. Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the runner-up with 43 percent, and civil society groups are asking the court to order a new election because it wasn’t free and fair. The court is expected to rule by Saturday. Abdullahi quoted U.S. Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer, who wrote after hearing the 2000 case that decided that U.S. presidential election, that the appearance of a split court on a highly politicized case risks undermining public confidence in the court.