Congo’s government has said it will be too expensive to hold national elections in 2017, suggesting that an already-delayed vote will be pushed back even further. The country’s budget minister, Pierre Kangudia, said at a press conference in Kinshasa on Wednesday that it would be difficult to raise the funds purportedly needed to hold the vote. “Even if the outlook appears to be improving, it will be difficult to think that we can mobilize $1.8 billion this year,” said Kangudi, according to Radio Okapi, a U.N.-backed Congolese news source.
Articles about voting issues in sub-Saharan Africa.
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga said on Wednesday mass protests were possible if August elections were rigged, comments likely to scare Kenyans fearful of a repeat of the widespread violence that erupted after a disputed poll in 2007. Then, more than 1,200 people were killed in weeks of fighting after political protests turned into ethnic clashes, but 2013 polls, when Odinga accepted the result after a court ruling, passed relatively peacefully. “This country is not ready for another rigged election. Kenyans will not accept it,” Odinga said, noting that multiple people had been registered to vote with the same identity card in a registration period that has just ended.
Celebrations have erupted on the streets of Somalia after parliamentarians elected a new president, with crowds chanting songs and firing automatic weapons into the night sky. The election of Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, a 55-year-old former prime minister and dual US-Somali national with a reputation for independence and competence, has raised the hopes of millions of people in the poor and violent east African state. “I am really happy. I prayed hard. Now we have a good president. I hope he will take care of our country,” said Khadra Mohamud Ahmed, 42, from Mogadishu. Critics said the election – the most extensive and expensive democratic exercise in Somalia for decades – has entrenched divides between the country’s many traditional clans and encouraged graft. But others described it as a “way station” to political stability and full democracy. Michael Keating, the UN special representative for Somalia, described the poll as a “political process with electoral features”, and “pretty brave to do”.
After a series of delays, allegations of rampant corruption and the abandonment of a promise to return to true democratic elections, Somalia was expected to finally elect its president Wednesday. It will not be an election as the rest of the world knows it, however. Having been elected to lead the country’s first federal government since the toppling of its military dictatorship and onset of civil war in 1991, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud promised one-person, one-vote elections by 2016. They would have been the first of their kind in the country for nearly 50 years. But he announced he was abandoning the proposal in 2015 due to ongoing security concerns. Instead, the next presidential vote would be conducted via a complicated system decided by clan elders, he said. Last year, 135 clan elders began selecting the 14,025 delegates to comprise the 275 electoral colleges, each of whom began voting in October for an MP for the lower house of parliament. Together, with the 54 members of the newly created upper house chosen by Somalia’s new federal states, they will elect a speaker and a president.
Somalia’s capital Mogadishu was under security lockdown Tuesday, with roads and schools closed and residents urged to remain indoors a day before the country holds a long-delayed presidential election. Fears are high that the Al-Qaeda linked Shabaab group will seek to disrupt the election by carrying out an attack on the capital. Twin car bombs at a popular hotel left at least 28 dead two weeks ago. Heavily armed security personnel patrolled the streets of the capital, while several main roads were blocked off with sand berms and residents of the capital were urged by Mayor Yusuf Hussein Jimale to stay indoors. “My children did not go to school because of the election and my husband who works as a policeman had to stay on duty for the last three days. This thing is taking too long and people would be relieved if they could see an end to this drama,” mother-of-four Samiya Abdulkadir said.
Nigeria: Electoral Commission constitutes diaspora voting, electoral constituencies committees | BusinessDay
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has constituted a 10-member committee on the Review of Diaspora or Out-of-Country Voting. Also constituted, according to the commission’s daily bulletin issued on Tuesday in Abuja are eight-member committee for the Review of Electoral Constituencies and committee for Review of Polling Units and Registration Areas. It said that other committees set up included those on Review of the Suppressed Constituencies and Review of GIS Laboratory. The commission explained that the committees were constituted as part of its effort at improving the electoral process, adding that the committees were chaired by its National Commissioners.
Using a combination of diplomacy and muscle, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) forced longtime Gambian President Yahya Jammeh to cede power this month to challenger Adama Barrow, who won the nation’s general election. Neighboring Senegal amassed troops and threatened to remove Jammeh by force. Regional powerhouse Nigeria threatened to help. The presidents of Mauritania and Guinea conducted shuttle diplomacy between Gambia’s capital of Banjul and Senegal, where Barrow had fled. Jammeh finally agreed to go into exile on January 20. Despite the successful outcome, some question the wisdom of ECOWAS intervening on behalf of the people of the Gambia.
It is no longer news that Nigerians have a huge distrust in the country’s electoral process. The former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega in a statement before the 2015 general elections, listed insecurity, funding, apathetic and inactive citizenry among others as a few of the many challenges the election process in Nigeria faces. However, the citizens cannot be blamed. The inability of the country to run a transparent, free and fair election has made many Nigerians indifferent and inactive. During the 2015 general elections, INEC, in an attempt to run a transparent election introduced the use of digital card readers and electronic fingerprint readers. But that was only possible because the Section 52 of the electoral act of 2010, which had prohibited the use of technology in voting was reformed in 2015. INEC chose the electronic readers as its first step in the introduction of technology into the voting process. Although that was advantageous to the election process, it had many flaws, which eventually led to the extension of the election dates.
Nigeria: Solar-Powered Electronic Voting Machine Developed for 2019 Elections | The Guardian Nigeria
Nigeria has recorded a scientific breakthrough with the local manufacture of an electronic voting machine designed to eliminate all problems associated with existing ones. Presenting the innovation to the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu in Abuja yesterday, the Executive Vice Chairman of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Professor Mohammed Haruna said the device is a solar-powered EMV with cloud-based collation of election results. According to Haruna, the device does not store data, thus making it useless to anyone who snatches it. He explained: once the device receives data in form of voting, it sends it to the central electronic system of the electoral body from where it can be viewed online.
Somalia will hold its presidential election on February 8, its electoral commission said Wednesday, after months of delays in a tortuous process for the conflict-torn country. Candidates will have until January 29 to register, the commission said in a statement. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, a 61-year-old former academic and activist from the Hawiye clan, is seeking re-election. The vote will come six months after it was originally set for August, following delays in the election of lawmakers because of clan disputes, fraud accusations and organisational challenges.