Africa

Articles about voting issues in sub-Saharan Africa.

Nigeria: Election Brings Dual Crises Back to the Polls: Corruption and Boko Haram | The New York Times

Muhammadu Buhari won the presidency in a historic election in Nigeria four years ago by promising to crush two scourges that had plagued the nation for years: endemic corruption and a war with Islamist extremists. Back then, Mr. Buhari, a former military general, rode a wave of voter desire to impose greater accountability on the government, end a brutal war with the extremist group Boko Haram and bring back the hundreds of female students taken as captives. Now, as Mr. Buhari is in the final throes of a bruising re-election campaign, he stands accused of falling short on all fronts. Critics say Mr. Buhari has used his antigraft mantra to crush adversaries. Boko Haram is gaining ground, launching sophisticated attacks on weary, underequipped soldiers. And many of the captive students are still missing.

Full Article: Nigeria’s Election Brings Dual Crises Back to the Polls: Corruption and Boko Haram - The New York Times.

Malawi: Political Violence Mars Malawi Election Run-Up | VoA News

Political violence is on the rise in Malawi as the country prepares for May elections. The victims are mostly opposition party members beaten by suspected supporters of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party. However, DPP officials have denied being behind the attacks, blaming misguided youth who aim to tarnish the party’s image. In response, Malawi’s electoral commission has threatened to disqualify any candidate using violence. One opposition party member, Henderson Waya, a member of the United Transformation Movement, was attacked by a group of youths two weeks ago when he and others were driving to a party rally.

Full Article: Political Violence Mars Malawi Election Run-Up.

Nigeria: President sacks the chief justice weeks before an election | The Economist

The wheels of justice turn slowly in Nigeria. On the rare occasions when corruption cases are brought against prominent people, petitions can take years to resolve. It was therefore unusual that on January 25th President Muhammadu Buhari suspended Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Walter Onnoghen, a mere 15 days after allegations of impropriety were lodged against the most senior judge in the country. This was the first time that Nigeria’s head of state had sacked a chief justice since 1975, when the country was under military rule. Mr Buhari’s move was not merely unusual. It was also unlawful. Nigeria’s constitution seeks to balance the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government; a power play by one part against a second needs the consent of the third. Mr Buhari did not seek support from the Senate, where he lacks the two-thirds majority needed to oust the chief justice, so his act is widely viewed as being against the law.

Full Article: Nigeria’s president sacks the chief justice weeks before an election - Above the law.

Nigeria: Nigeria denies judge’s suspension influenced by election | Associated Press

Amid growing criticism, Nigeria’s information minister denied on Monday that the president’s recent suspension of the country’s chief justice was related to the upcoming presidential elections. The suspension of Chief Justice Walter Nkanu Samuel Onnoghen had “nothing to do with the forthcoming elections” and did not “signify the onset of dictatorship or tyranny as some have insinuated,” Minister Lai Mohammed said. The chief justice faces trial on charges of allegedly failing to declare his assets, which Onnoghen has argued is without merit. This is the first time a chief justice is standing trial in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with 190 million people. Critics say the suspension of the chief justice just three weeks before the election is an effort by President Muhammadu Buhari to weaken Nigeria’s judiciary and pave the way for his election to a second term in the Feb. 16 vote. The chief justice plays a key role in any legal challenge to what could be a disputed vote.

Full Article: Nigeria denies judge’s suspension influenced by election - The Washington Post.

Nigeria: Government warns over ‘foreign interference’ ahead of election | Financial Times

The Nigerian government has said it will not accept “foreign interference” in February’s presidential elections after the EU, UK and US spoke out against the sudden suspension of the chief justice. The three western powers issued statements at the weekend voicing concern over how President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to suspend the judge might affect the conduct of elections in Africa’s most populous country. As Nigeria’s senior judge, Walter Onnoghen would have played a key role in deciding any legal challenges to the results of the presidential race between Mr Buhari and former vice-president Atiku Abubakar. In a statement on Saturday night, Mr Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, warned that the government “will fiercely and assiduously promote the will and the right of Nigerians to choose and elect their leaders without pressure or assistance from persons or entities that are not constitutionally empowered to participate in the process”.

Full Article: Nigeria warns over ‘foreign interference’ ahead of election | Financial Times.

Congo: After Tarnished Election, Opposition Figure Becomes Congo’s President | The New York Times

Felix Tshisekedi, an opposition leader whose victory in presidential elections last month is widely considered to be illegitimate, took the oath of office on Thursday vowing to tackle the country’s endemic corruption. Shortly after assuming power, Mr. Tshisekedi announced that he would free all the country’s political prisoners. Despite lingering accusations of vote fraud, neighboring countries, the United States and other foreign powers, eager to promote stability over potential chaos, hailed the first peaceful transfer of power since Congo’s independence, in 1960. On Wednesday, the United States’ State Department, having at first warned about sanctions for individuals accused of impeding the democratic process, struck a conciliatory tone and said it was “committed to working with the new government.”

Full Article: After Tarnished Election, Opposition Figure Becomes Congo’s President - The New York Times.

Congo: The African Union called on Congo to suspend its election’s results. That’s unprecedented. | The Washington Post

After a contentious race, on Jan. 10, Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission pronounced Felix Tshisekedi the winner of the country’s Dec. 30 presidential elections. But polling data and parallel vote tabulations suggest it was“highly implausible” that Tshisekedi actually won, and the true winner was Martin Fayulu, who appealed the result. In an unprecedented response, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), headed by Zambian President Edgar Lungu, called for a recount last week and proposed that the DRC consider forming a national unity government. SADC is known for not publicly intervening in member state electoral affairs.

Full Article: The African Union called on Congo to suspend its election’s results. That’s unprecedented. - The Washington Post.

Congo: Eager for Peace, Some Congolese Voters Accept Election Results | VoA News

Congolese voters hungry for peace are ready to welcome President-elect Felix Tshisekedi to power, even if alleged election rigging may have led to his victory. “I am very happy with his designation as our democratically elected President-elect Felix Tshisekedi,” Hervé, a 30-year-old unemployed resident of Kinshasa, the capital, told VOA. “Since I was born, I have never witnessed a peaceful handover of power,” he added. Tonton Kasongo, 30, a hairdresser, echoed the desire for peace. “The way I see it, as a son of this land, I want peace for this country,” he told VOA. “Since we didn’t have any gunshots, we are happy, because the one who is elected is the one we are going to call ‘Dad.’ I voted Fayulu because he, too, is a son of this land. Since he did not win, he needs to be patient and wait for the next time around.”

Full Article: Eager for Peace, Some Congolese Voters Accept Election Results.

Congo: Court Affirms Results of Contested Presidential Election | The New York Times

The Constitutional Court of the Democratic Republic of Congo ruled early Sunday on the results of the country’s highly contested election, determining that the opposition candidate Félix Tshisekedi was in fact the winner and rejecting a challenge from another opposition figure who was the runner-up. The court’s decision affirmed the results announced by the country’s electoral commission, which appointed Mr. Tshisekedi as the president-elect. He is set to be inaugurated on Tuesday. Martin Fayulu, the runner-up, was contesting the results and demanding a manual recount. The judges of the constitutional court said they had determined that the request for a recount was “absurd” and that Mr. Fayulu had not provided any proof of fraud. Mr. Fayulu said early Sunday that the court has “falsified and countered the truth of the polls to serve an unjust cause and perpetuate a regime that our people hate.” “I now consider myself the only legitimate president,” he added.

Full Article: Congo Court Affirms Results of Contested Presidential Election - The New York Times.

Congo: African Union cites ‘serious doubts’, urges delay to final Congo election result | Reuters

The African Union on Thursday called on Democratic Republic of Congo to suspend the release of the final results of its disputed presidential election due to its doubts over the provisional results. The rare move from the group injects fresh uncertainty into the post-election process, which was meant to usher in the country’s first democratic transfer of power in 59 years of independence, but has been mired in controversy since the Dec. 30 vote. The final tally is scheduled to be released by the election commission once the constitutional court has ruled on challenges to the provisional results on Friday, but the union called for this to be postponed following a meeting in Addis Ababa.

Full Article: African Union cites 'serious doubts', urges delay to final Congo election result | Reuters.

Congo: Voting data reveal huge fraud in poll to replace Kabila | Financial Times

Martin Fayulu was the clear winner of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s presidential elections last month, a Financial Times analysis of two separate collections of voting data shows, contradicting claims from authorities that rival contender Felix Tshisekedi had won the historic vote. The analysis points to huge fraud in the first change of power since Joseph Kabila took over the presidency of the mineral-rich central African nation almost 18 years ago. It is likely to embolden critics of Mr Kabila who suspect the Congolese leader is seeking to cling on to power through a deal with Mr Tshisekedi. According to a trove of election data seen by the FT and representing 86 per cent of total votes cast across the country, Mr Fayulu won 59.4 per cent of the vote. Rival opposition candidate Mr Tshisekedi, who was declared the surprise winner last week, finished second with 19 per cent, according to this set of data.

Full Article: Congo voting data reveal huge fraud in poll to replace Kabila | Financial Times.

Congo: Vote data reveals massive election fraud – report | AFP

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s opposition leader Martin Fayulu was a clear winner in the central African nation’s December 19 polls, according to data obtained by the Financial Times. An FT analysis of two separate collections of data shows that Fayulu won the vote by at least 59.4% while president elect Felix Tshisekedi obtained 19% of the votes. The analysis points to huge fraud in the first change of power since outgoing President Joseph Kabila took over from his late father in 2001. According to the report, the election data is likely to embolden Kabila’s critics who have accused him of seeking to cling on to power through a deal with Tshisekedi.

Full Article: DRC vote data reveals massive election fraud – report | News24.

Congo: Neighbors call for vote recount in troubled election | Associated Press

Congo’s neighbors are calling for a vote recount in the disputed presidential election and suggesting the formation of a government of national unity to avoid possible instability. The statements by the southern African and Great Lakes regional blocs put new pressure on the government of outgoing President Joseph Kabila to find a peaceful and transparent solution to a growing electoral crisis in one of Africa’s largest and most mineral-rich nations. The declared presidential runner-up, Martin Fayulu, filed a court challenge over the weekend demanding a recount, citing figures compiled by the influential Catholic Church’s 40,000 election observers that found he won 61 percent of the vote.

Full Article: Congo’s neighbors call for vote recount in troubled election - The Washington Post.

Kenya: Cyberattacks Threaten Elections and Security, Kenyans Say | allAfrica

A majority of Kenyans are worried that cyberattacks will increase elections tampering and national security threats in future, according to a new survey. A study carried out by American-based Pew Research Centre showed 73 percent of Kenyans believe that sensitive national security information will be leaked from cyberattacks, while 72 percent said such attacks are a recipe for election interference. The research which was carried out in 26 countries globally, whose report was released over the weekend, also surveyed possibilities of cyberattacks on crucial public infrastructure such as power grids and telecommunication services.

Full Article: Kenya: Cyberattacks Threaten Elections and Security, Kenyans Say - allAfrica.com.

Nigeria: Opposition Slams Trial of Nigerian Chief Justice Before Vote | Bloomberg

The trial of Nigeria’s top judge got underway in a case that’s prompted lawyers and opposition parties to accuse the government of trying to oust him and spark a constitutional crisis before next month’s presidential election. Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen didn’t attend the opening Monday in Abuja, the capital, where the Code of Conduct Tribunal is charging him for not properly declaring his assets. The trial was adjourned until Jan. 22, and the Federal High Court in Abuja later said it will hold a hearing on Jan. 17 into whether it can continue, Lagos-based Punch newspaper reported.

Full Article: Opposition Slams Trial of Nigerian Chief Justice Before Vote - Bloomberg.

Congo: Opposition Candidate Fayulu Appeals Election Results | Wall Street Journal

Democratic Republic of Congo opposition leader Martin Fayulu on Saturday asked the country’s constitutional court to order a recount of the Dec. 30 presidential vote to find a successor to President Joseph Kabila. The Central African nation is still reeling from the surprise announcement Wednesday that another opposition leader, Felix Tshisekedi, had won the election. Mr. Kabila’s handpicked candidate came in third. Police and members of Mr. Kabila’s presidential guard on Saturday blocked many supporters of Mr. Fayulu from reaching the constitutional court, where his lawyers entered a petition for a manual recount of the presidential election. “I will take this to the very end. I won’t accept that my victory is stolen,” Mr. Fayulu said.

Full Article: Congo Opposition Candidate Fayulu Appeals Election Results - WSJ.

Congo: Election Officials Say Felix Tshisekedi Won Election, Rebuffing Independent Review | The New York Times

Congolese election officials, rejecting independent assessments that a prominent opposition figure was the runaway winner of the recent presidential election, on Thursday bestowed victory on a candidate considered more acceptable to the departing President Joseph Kabila.

The decision dashed hopes that the Democratic Republic of Congo might experience its first undisputed transfer of power by the ballot box since independence six decades ago. And it was unclear how it would sit with the population.

Still, however malleable the declared winner, Felix Tshisekedi, may seem to Mr. Kabila, he was not his first choice. Mr. Kabila had backed a top aide to succeed him.

The election commission’s early-morning announcement amounted to a startling official admission that Mr. Kabila’s candidate had suffered a defeat so big that his government — in power for 18 years — could not simply hand him the presidency without risking widespread violence and international condemnation.

But Mr. Tshisekedi had not been seen as the top vote-getter; he was declared the victor on Thursday amid speculation that his campaign had reached some kind of a power-sharing agreement with the Kabila government.

Full Article: Congo Says Felix Tshisekedi Won Election, Rebuffing Independent Review – The New York Times.

Full Article: Congo Says Felix Tshisekedi Won Election, Rebuffing Independent Review - The New York Times.

Congo: Opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi declared surprise winner | The Guardian

Felix Tshisekedi, the leader of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s main opposition party, has been declared the surprise winner of the 30 December presidential election in the vast central African country. The result, announced early on Thursday, means the first electoral transfer of power in 59 years of independence in the DRC. It will come as a shock to many observers who believed authorities would ensure that the government candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, would be the victor in the polls, the third since the end of a bloody civil war in 2002.

Full Article: Congo election: opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi declared surprise winner | World news | The Guardian.

Madagascar: Court declares Rajoelina as election winner | Al Jazeera

Madagascar’s High Constitutional Court has declared former leader Andry Rajoelina as the winner of the country’s bitterly contested presidential election. Rejecting all complaints filed over the results, the court on Tuesday said Rajoelina won with more than 55 percent of the vote in the Indian Ocean island nation’s runoff election last month. Rajoelina’s main challenger, former President Marc Ravalomanana, received more than 44 percent, the court said. Just over 48 percent of the country’s 10 million registered voters cast their ballots in the vote.

Full Article: Madagascar court declares Rajoelina as election winner | Elections 2018 News | Al Jazeera.

Congo: Congo braces for election results after commission meets overnight | Reuters

Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission met all night and into Wednesday morning ahead of an announcement of results from the presidential election that could come later in the day. Riot police were deployed in front of the commission headquarters in the capital Kinshasa and along the city’s main boulevard, as Congo braced for possible violence amid accusations of vote fraud and suspicions that the government was negotiating a power-sharing deal with one opposition candidate. The Dec. 30 poll was meant to lead to the vast Central African country’s first democratic transfer of power in its 59 years of independence, but a disputed result could trigger the kind of violence that erupted after the 2006 and 2011 elections and destabilize Congo’s volatile eastern borderlands. The electoral commission (CENI) announced on Tuesday evening that it had initiated “a series of evaluation meetings and deliberations, at the end of which it will proceed to the publication of provisional results from the presidential election”.

Full Article: Congo braces for election results after commission meets overnight | Reuters.