After his fellow commissioner fled the country, citing threats to her life, Kenya’s top election official on Wednesday accused the nation’s political parties of undermining the country’s stability and warned that he was not confident that next week’s presidential election would be credible. Kenyans are scheduled to vote — again — for president on Oct. 26. The nation’s current president, Uhuru Kenyatta, handily won the first election in August, beating the veteran opposition leader, Raila Odinga, by 1.4 million votes. But Mr. Odinga turned to Kenya’s Supreme Court, arguing that the vote had been manipulated to assure the president’s victory. To the nation’s surprise, the court ruled that the vote was flawed and, in a first for Africa, annulled the results, paving the way for a new election. Still, Mr. Odinga said he would withdraw from the race anyway, insisting that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission was deeply biased against him and would not be able to fix its underlying problems by election day.
Articles about voting issues in sub-Saharan Africa.
The barrage of suspected electoral fraud and irregularities has made political parties who did not make it to the runoff elections hesitant to endorse any of the two parties contesting in the November runoff election. While the ruling Unity Party (UP) and the opposition Coalition for Democratic are intensely lobbying to win over some of the major opposition political parties to complement their strength in the runoff election, most of the parties being relied upon are doubtful over who to support because they feel cheated in the elections. Liberty Party for example, is calling for reelection on ground that the October 10 polls did not meet the minimum standards to be referred as free, fair, transparent elections.
A senior Kenyan electoral official has resigned and fled the country, in a new blow to the country’s presidential vote due to be held in eight days’ time. Roselyn Akombe quit as a commissioner of Kenya’s electoral board by issuing a statement from New York saying the rerun of the presidential election scheduled for 26 October cannot be free and fair. “I do not want to be party to such a mockery to electoral integrity,” Akombe said in a statement. The flight of such a high-profile electoral official underlines the growing crisis in the east Africa state, long seen as a bastion of relative political stability in a volatile region.
A retired soccer star and Liberia’s vice president will square off in November in a runoff to succeed the longtime president after no candidate got enough votes in this month’s first round. George Weah, who was FIFA’s World Player of the Year in 1995, took 39% of the vote in the Oct. 10 poll, with nearly 96% of ballots counted. Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai of the ruling Unity Party was second with 29%. The two candidates, who topped a field of 20, will vie to succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning economist who has served two six-year terms, the maximum allowed under the constitution. The contest is set to result in the West African nation’s first peaceful transition of power in more than 50 years. Final results, as certified by Liberia’s National Election Commission, will be announced by Oct. 25.
The former international footballer George Weah and Liberia’s vice-president, Joseph Boakai, will face a runoff for the country’s presidency on 7 November, the electoral commission announced on Sunday. With tallies in from 95.6% of polling stations, Weah took 39% of the votes and Boakai 29.1%, both well short of the 50% barrier required to win outright from the first round of voting held on Tuesday. Whoever wins the second round of voting will replace Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female head of state, who is stepping down as president after a maximum of two terms. Jerome Korkoya, the chairman of the National Elections Commission, told journalists that 1,550,923 votes had been counted and turnout was at 74.52% across the small west African nation. The handover would represent Liberia’s first peaceful transfer of power in more than seven decades.
The European Union urged Kenya’s ruling Jubilee Party and the main opposition alliance to be prepared to compromise hard-line positions to allow for a credible rerun of presidential elections. “Dialogue and cooperation are urgently needed for compromises so there can be a peaceful electoral process with integrity and transparency and Kenyans can chose their president,” the EU’s elections observer mission said on Monday in an emailed statement. Uncertainty about the Oct. 26 election is unnerving investors and clouding the outlook for an economy that’s already slowing. Kenya is a regional hub for companies including Toyota Motor Corp. and could become an oil exporter with Tullow Oil Plc among firms that are likely to start exploiting an estimated 1 billion barrels of crude resources.
One of Liberia’s largest political parties called for a halt to counting of election results on Thursday, alleging voting irregularities and fraud, as the country awaited the announcement of the first provisional results. Angry supporters gathered to protest at Liberty Party headquarters, claiming polls in the West African nation opened late and that ballot-tampering occurred in at least one location in the capital, Monrovia. “These people stood in the rain and under the sun; these people sacrificed,” the party’s vice chair for political affairs, Abe Darius Dillon, told The Associated Press. The Liberty Party’s flag-bearer is Charles Brumskine, a corporate lawyer who placed third in 2005 elections and fourth in 2011.
Election ballots in the Democratic Republic of the Congo can look more like the weekend edition of a newspaper than the single folded sheet of paper common the United States. Congolese electoral laws allow a nearly unlimited number of candidates to run for parliament. In the coming election, now pushed to 2019, there may be as many as 28,000 candidates, each one with their name and photo printed in a ballot. The expense and logistical difficulties of printing and distributing 45 million of these massive ballots are nearly insurmountable. After they’re printed, ballots must be trucked or flown to 126,000 polling stations around the country. The electoral commission has yet to acquire the necessary funds, and the voter registry isn’t complete. Or at least, these are some of the official reasons given for why Congo will not be holding elections for another year and a half, according to a source familiar with the election process who requested not to be named.
Kenya’s government has banned protests in three city centres, citing lawlessness during opposition rallies against the electoral commission before a scheduled presidential vote rerun. The opposition leader, Raila Odinga, has called for daily protests next week to keep up pressure on election officials, after his refusal to take part in the 26 October poll plunged the country into uncertainty. “Due to the clear, present and imminent danger of breach of peace, the government notifies the public that, for the time being, we will not allow demonstrations within the central business districts of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu,” said the security minister, Fred Matiangi. “The inspector general of police has been advised accordingly.” Hundreds of opposition supporters have marched in recent weeks, sometimes burning tyres and clashing with police who have used teargas to disperse crowds.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has turned to technology to support its efforts to capture the addresses of over 26 million registered voters before 30 June 2018. In 2016, the Constitutional Court ordered the IEC to correctly capture the addresses of all registered voters on the voters’ roll before the 2019 general elections. Yesterday, the IEC unveiled MyIEC, an online portal that allows South African voters to submit or update their registration details when they have changed address or when there has been a change in their identity number. … The implementation of online systems in relation to the democratic voting process often brings up concerns of security, especially where citizens’ sensitive information is concerned.