Africa

Articles about voting issues in sub-Saharan Africa.

eSwatini: New name, same flaws in eSwatini election, say critics | AFP

Political parties cannot be involved, there are no campaign rallies and the king wields absolute power, choosing the prime minister and cabinet: a parliamentary election in eSwatini is a vote like no other. The country, landlocked between SA and Mozambique, suffers the highest HIV adult prevalence rate in the world at 27.2%. Opposition activists in the tiny Southern African country formerly known as Swaziland say Friday’s election is a mockery of democracy and reveals how its 1.3-million citizens have lived under a repressive regime. In addition to curbs on opposition parties, anti-government protests are all but banned. Undercurrents of dissent surfaced this week with trade union protests over low wages being broken up by riot police. At least 11 people were hurt on Tuesday, a trade union official told AFP. Read More

Togo: Dates announced for referendum, legislative elections | Al Jazeera

Togo will hold legislative and local elections in December as well as a referendum on constitutional reform. “We will hold the local elections and the referendum on December 16, and on December 20 we will organise legislative elections,” national election commission chief Kodjona Kadanga said on Tuesday. “We are technically prepared. I can assure you that we have sufficient balloting material as well as people. There are no problems on our side.”  Kadanga did not specify what reforms were envisaged. Togo’s latest political crisis started in August 2017, when large numbers of people rallied against the administration of President Faure Gnassingbe. Mass anti-government rallies have repeatedly been held across the country since, with protesters demanding an end to the 50-year rule by the Gnassingbe family and constitutional reform, including a two-term limit for presidents. Read More

Mali: Elections delayed by a month | AFP

The Malian government on Thursday delayed by a month legislative elections initially scheduled for October 28, citing delays in registering candidates. A first round of voting for the National Assembly will now take place on November 25, followed by a further vote on December 16 in constituencies where no candidate wins outright. A government statement said a strike by judges meant some candidates had been unable to obtain and submit the necessary documentation before the deadline Thursday. The new deadline for candidate submissions is October 11, it said. Read More

Zimbabwe: MDC’s Chamisa plans ‘inauguration’ despite election loss | AFP

Nelson Chamisa claimed he was born to be a leader of the country of Zimbabwe and the people gave him the mandate to lead them. Leader of the MDC-alliance Nelson Chamisa may have been unable to win either the election or a case at the country’s constitutional court that sought to show his rival’s victory to be illegitimate, but that isn’t stopping his followers from holding an “inauguration”. Zimbabwe’s main opposition party plans to hold the mock inauguration to name its Chamisa as the country’s president this weekend, highlighting its claims the July 30 election was rigged. Read More

Congo: The U.S. is warning Congo that using electronic voting machines could backfire | The Washington Post

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has a warning for another country preparing for a presidential election: Use electronic voting machines at your own risk. At a U.N. Security Council meeting in New York late last month, Haley called on Congo to abandon its plan to use the machines for the first time in favor of paper ballots — what she called a “trusted, tested, transparent and easy-to-use voting method.” And earlier this year, she said: “These elections must be held by paper ballots so there is no question by the Congolese people about the results. The U.S. has no appetite to support an electronic voting system.” But the U.S. is still working to secure its own election infrastructure from the threat of foreign interference and cyberattacks — and though security experts and top federal officials here have also called on states to use machines with paper trails, it’s an uphill battle.  Read More

Nigeria: Huge fees for Nigerian election hopefuls under fire | AFP

Nigeria’s two main political parties are asking election hopefuls to pay huge fees for the chance to stand at next year’s general election, in a move criticised as favouring the rich and well-connected. At the last nationwide vote in 2015, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of then-president Goodluck Jonathan charged 22 million naira per nomination form. The All Progressives Congress (APC) of the eventual winner Muhammadu Buhari asked for 27.5 million naira just to stand in the party’s presidential primary. Now, as both parties prepare for polling in February next year, the APC wants an eye-watering 45 million naira ($125 500) per presidential primary candidate, according to newspaper adverts on Wednesday. Read More

Congo: Divide and Rule – the Problem With the Congo’s Electoral System | allAfrica.com

Under the current rules (changed months before the last elections in 2011), the DRC’s next president could come to power with just 5.3% of the vote. When voters in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) finally go to the polls on 23 December, it looks like they will be faced with a choice of at least 19 presidential candidates. This crowded race is too close to call, but whoever emerges victorious will be tasked with governing a vast and diverse nation of around 80 million people. They will need to be the president not just of those who voted for them, but also of those that didn’t. This is a challenge for any elected leader, but in the DRC’s case, this latter group could consist of the vast majority of the population. Read More

Congo: Scores of pro-democracy activists held in Congo | AFP

Police arrested and violently dispersed scores of pro-democracy activists on Monday protesting against controversial voting machines that the government wants to use in key elections later this year. The pro-democracy movement Lucha (Struggle for Change) says the South Korean touch screen voting machines will pave the way for fraud in the long-delayed December 23 ballot. Police detained 22 Lucha activists briefly in Kinshasa as they demonstrated outside the office of the national electoral commission (CENI), police said. “They tried to march but were arrested by police. But there was no reason to hold them so I let them go,” Kinshasa police chief Sylvano Kasongo said. Read More

Rwanda: Ruling party to sweep Rwanda parliament poll | AFP

Rwanda’s ruling party was set to win three-quarters of directly elected parliamentary seats in this week’s poll, provisional results showed on Tuesday. Long-time ruler President Paul Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and its seven smaller allied parties, had 75% of the votes after Monday’s election, with 70% of ballots counted. Final results are not due until 16 September. Parties were vying for 53 of the country’s 80 directly elected parliamentary seats of which 24 are reserved for women, two for youth and one for the disabled, all chosen by special councils and national committees. Read More

Mauritania: Mauritania votes in key test for democracy | AFP

Mauritanians are voting Saturday in general and local elections viewed as a key test of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz’s record with the international community calling for a credible and peaceful vote. The mobile phone market in the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott never sleeps. Under faded umbrellas to protect them from the searing Saharan sun, traders nimbly switch SIM (subscriber identification module) cards and replace overheated phone batteries. In a country with a scarce telecom infrastructure and its approximately 4.5 million strong population spread across vast, often inhospitable terrain, mobile phones are a lifeline in this impoverished West African nation. Read More