Congo: Opposition Sees Electoral-Body Departures Delaying Poll | Bloomberg

Opposition politicians in the Democratic Republic of Congo warned recent upheaval at the national electoral commission may delay elections and undermine stability in Africa’s biggest copper producer, after the vice president of the body resigned at the weekend. The resignation of Andre Pungwe from the Independent National Electoral Commission came after its president, Abbe Apollinaire Malu Malu, quit in October because of ill-health. “If we are not careful, the crisis situation at the CENI, which the ruling Presidential Majority is in the process of creating, will soon undermine the organization of elections and the stability of Congo,” the opposition group, known as the G7, said in an e-mailed statement. The G7 said Pungwe’s resignation was a result of political pressure placed on the independent body by the government, which it says intends to delay a series of elections over the next 12 months that will culminate in a presidential vote in 2016. Pungwe’s decision to leave was personal and unrelated to his work at the CENI, government spokesman Lambert Mende said Monday by phone from Kinshasa, the capital.

Guinea: Country Divided as Conde Re-Elected | VoA News

Guinea’s incumbent President Alpha Conde won the country’s second democratic election, but Guinea’s opposition parties have rejected the results and called for demonstrations. Bakary Fofana Fofana, the head of Guinea’s Independent National Electoral Commission, announced President Alpha Conde’s re-election victory late Saturday. Fofana said before the constitutional court’s final validation of the results, the electoral commission proclaims Conde as the winner in the first round of voting held last Sunday. Before the results were announced, Guinea’s main opposition leader and former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo announced he and the six other opposition candidates would reject them.

Congo: Electoral Body Pleads Lack of Funds | VoA News

A leaked letter from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission says the commission has not received the funding it was allocated for upcoming elections, holding up preparations for the vote. The letter from the Independent National Electoral Commission, known by the French acronym CENI, was a reaction to a government minister’s statement that the commission had enough money to prepare for national, provincial and local elections between now and the end of next year. But Hans Hoebeke, an analyst for the International Crisis Group who follows the DRC’s electoral process, said that according to CENI’s letter, it has received only 17 percent of the funds allocated to it since 2013.

Nigeria: Independent National Electoral Commission Seeks Review of Law Prohibiting Full Electronic Voting |

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called for a review of the law prohibiting electronic voting in Nigeria. Acting Chairman of INEC, Hajia Amina Zakari, made this call on Tuesday at the Post 2015 Electoral Reform Symposium organised by the National Democratic Institute and other Civil Society Organisations. She argued that technology has become an unavoidable reality in everyday life and that it played a major role in the success recorded in the 2015 general elections. The introduction of the Card Reader by the immediate past INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, was said to have minimized massive rigging and electoral irregularities during the 2015 general elections.

Nigeria: Will Card Readers Work? Electoral Commission Responds To Concerns Over Voter Disenfranchisement, Delays | IB Times

Fears were mounting this week in Nigeria about whether polling places’ voter card readers would work correctly during Saturday’s presidential election. Several politicians had expressed concern that mechanical malfunctions could lead to disenfranchisement, but the Independent National Electoral Commission promised stakeholders Tuesday that the card readers would not fail. “I want to assure all prospective voters in Ebonyi that no person with Permanent Voter Card (PVC) will be denied the opportunity to vote,” said resident electoral commissioner Lawrence Azubuike, according to Vanguard. “Once the PVC is verified and certified correct, even if the authentication of the voter’s fingerprint does not go through, the voter will still go ahead to vote.”

Nigeria: Election Commission To Use Coded Color Ballot Papers, Boxes For Polls | Naija247news

Segun Agbaje, the Ondo State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the ‎Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC‎), has revealed that the commission would not go back on the use of three different coded colors for the 2015 general elections to be held March 28 and April 11. The three colors, red, green and black, are meant for use in next week’s presidential, House of Representatives and Senate elections. ‎Mr. Agbaje made the disclosures today at a stakeholders’ forum in Akure, the Ondo State capital. He explained that the innovation was part of the commission’s efforts to avoid rigging and stressful sorting of ballots papers after the conclusion of voting.

Nigeria: Electoral Commission Confident of Transparent Vote | VoA News

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) concluded its final meeting with all registered political parties Thursday ahead of the March 28 election. Nick Dazang, INEC’s deputy director for public affairs, told VOA, “We updated them about our preparations to conduct the 2015 general elections. We were able to explain to them the procedures and the guidelines for these elections. We were also able to explain to them the ballots and the colors of the ballots and the papers that would be used on Election Day.” Some political parties, including President Jonathan’s ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), expressed concern about the use of the voter card reader machines the election body plans to use during the poll. The parties said at the meeting the machines should not be used, arguing that millions of prospective voters could be disenfranchised during the poll.

Nigeria: Protest rocks INEC over planned use of card readers | Nigerian Tribune

Protesting youths, under the umbrella of “Middle Belt Concerned Youths” on Wednesday, stormed the national headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja, protesting the use of permanent voter cards (PVCs) and the card readers for the elections. This was just as they also called on the Federal Government to sack the INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega with immediate effect. However, the youth, who arrived the Maitama headquarters of INEC in hired luxury buses around 8.00 a.m. were prevented by armed policemen and other security agents, who cordoned the INEC office. The youths, armed with various placards, were received by an Assistant Director in charge of security, Victor Egbo, on behalf of the commission. He received their protest letter with a promise to deliver same to the commission’s chairman.

Nigeria: Opposition Parties Threaten to Boycott Elections | VoA News

Nigeria’s opposition political parties have threatened to boycott the March 28 presidential vote if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) continues with its plan to use voter card reader machines during the poll. INEC says the card reader machines are meant to help authenticate voters with permanent voter cards, before they are allowed to vote. But the parties argue that the machine is prone to malfunction, which they say will disenfranchise prospective voters and undermine the credibility of the election. Nick Dazang, INEC’s deputy director for public affairs, said officials of the electoral body are shocked at the stance of the opposition parties. He said the parties agreed about measures INEC implemented to address their concerns ahead of the election. He dismissed reports that the card readers are not efficient.

Nigeria: Electoral Body Reassures Public Over March Election | Reuters

Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reassured prospective voters that the elections now scheduled for March 28 will proceed as planned despite concerns the vote could be postponed again for security reasons. The general election, originally set for February 14, was postponed by the INEC, which cited security challenges in parts of the country’s north, where Boko Haram militants often attack civilians. Nick Dazang, INEC’s deputy director for public affairs, said the electoral body is using the postponement period to strengthen systems to ensure a transparent, credible, free and fair election. Dazang spoke after opposition groups including the All Progressives Congress led by retired General Muhammadu Buhari said they will not accept another “unconstitutional” postponement of the election.

Nigeria: Election body insists no need for vote delay | AFP

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan held talks Thursday on postponing next week’s presidential election over mounting attacks by the radical Boko Haram group, but the election commission insisted on maintaining the date, a governor said. Jonathan held seven hours of talks with security officials, state governors, the election commission and former heads of state on whether to proceed with the vote in the face of growing bloodshed in the northeast, Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha told journalists. Among those attending the meeting of the Council of State was Jonathan’s main challenger in the election, General Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler, who led Nigeria between 1983 and 1985.

Nigeria: Presidential election postponed to March 28 | Reuters

Nigeria’s electoral commission has said it is postponing the Feb. 14 presidential election until March 28 due to security concerns, caving in to pressure from the ruling People’s Democratic Party in a move likely to enrage the opposition. Foreign powers are closely observing how elections will be held in Africa’s biggest economy and have voiced concerns over violence in the aftermath, as was the case after the 2011 election, when 800 people died. The postponement could stoke unrest in opposition strongholds such as the commercial capital, Lagos, and Nigeria’s second city, Kano, because the opposition has been staunchly against a delay. … “The commission cannot lightly wave off the advice of the nation’s security chiefs … The risk of deploying young men and women and calling people to exercise their democratic rights in a situation where their security cannot be guaranteed is a most onerous responsibility,” Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman Attahiru Jega told reporters.

Nigeria: Electronic voting divides Senate | The Sun News

Senate has commenced amendment of the Electoral Act (2010) with members divided over electronic voting in the 2015 polls and whether all the elections should be conducted same day. In an unprecedented move in the Seventh Senate, the chamber yesterday passed for second reading, three separate bills seeking various amendments to the electoral law. The bills, which were sponsored by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Minority Whip, Abu Ibrahim and Alkali Jajere, seek to determine the tenure of the office of the Secretary of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and removal of the commission’s chairman’s powers to appoint the secretary. Besides, the amendments equally seek the conduct of general elections, six months before the expiration of the tenure of the incumbent while bye-elections should be held twice a year.

Nigeria: Jega promises improved 2015 elections as senator rules out electronic voting | Premium Times Nigeria

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Attahiru Jega, on Tuesday assured that the Commission will improve on its performance in the 2015 general elections. Mr. Jega stated this during the public presentation of INEC Strategic Plan (2012-2016) in Abuja where the Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on INEC, Alkali Jajere, ruled out electronic voting in the 2015 polls. Mr. Jega, who was responding to the suggestions made by the leaders of some of the political parties that INEC should sit up in order to ensure smooth and successful polls, come 2015, said the Commission would be transparent and accountable to retain the confidence stakeholders have in it.

Nigeria: United Progressive Party makes fresh case for electronic voting | Nigerian Tribune

Ahead of the 2015 general election, the United Progressive Party (UPP) has stressed the need for legislative action that would empower the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to apply the electronic voting system for the election. This was even as it inaugurated a 19-man Board of Trustees (BoT) led by the former member of the House of Representatives, George Ozodinobi who represented Aniocha/Njikoka/Dunukofia Federal constituency. Speaking at the end of the second National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party, the national chairman of the UPP, Chief Chekwas Okorie advocated a system that would enable a voter to vote from the comfort of the home, especially in view of the current wave of insecurity in the country and which he observed created apathy among voters.

Nigeria: Fire Guts Independent National Electoral Commission Headquarters |

Fire razed a section of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC’s headquarters in Abuja, Monday, causing pandemonium around the Maitama area of the Federal Capital Territory, as staff of the commission ran to different directions for safety. The incident came barely 18 months after a similar one occurred in the office of the commission’s chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, causing destruction on the visitors’ room as well as some computer sections.

Nigeria: Politicians Condemn Voting Rights For Nigerian Election Commission Officials | Leadership Newspapers

Some politicians in Lagos on Monday condemned plans by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow electoral officers exercise their franchise in the 2015 general elections. The politicians argued that the proposal would not serve the electoral process well, but would rather compound its problems. It would be recalled that Prof. Attahiru Jega, INEC Chairman, had on June 21, categorically said that electoral officers would vote in 2015, to end their disenfranchisement in the country’s electoral history. He explained that it was one of the measures being put in place by the commission to enhance the credibility of electoral process. In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday, a chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mr Sunny Moniedafe, said that electoral officers should be excluded from voting. “I don’t think it is proper for them to vote because it will affect their job of conducting election and they will be distracted. Of course, if there are competent people to take over while they go and vote, fine,” he said.

Madagascar: Madagascar unveils new electoral commission | Africa Review

Madagascar’s cabinet has agreed on a new elections body in another step towards holding a planned ballot this year after the term of its predecessor came to an end Wednesday. The Independent National Electoral Commission of the Transition (CENIT) replaces the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) unilaterally appointed in March 2010 by interim President Andry Rajoelina. CENI was also blamed for holding a controversial and widely-criticised referendum on November 17 of the same year. It is another step towards the envisaged holding of elections this year in keeping with a roadmap brokered by the SADC bloc last September.

Congo: DRC Opposition Figure Blames MONUSCO for Election Debacle | VoA News

A top adviser for veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi says the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is to blame for the “fraudulent” November elections. Albert Moleka, the cabinet director of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress party and spokesman for Mr. Tshisekedi, said the UN mission failed in its mandate to help Congo’s electoral commission administer a credible vote during the November elections.

“We found out that all these election figures were all made up with the complicity of the MONUSCO because it was part of the commission that validated the results,” said Moleka. “It’s a serious matter because MONUSCO was supposed to [bolster] security for the Congolese people and also to help us through the electoral process.”

Congo: Vote count halts until foreign experts come | AFP

The electoral commission in the Democratic Republic of Congo has halted the vote count for parliamentary elections until experts arrive from the United States and Britain, it announced Monday. The independent national electoral commission (CENI), which has registered many complaints regarding the presidential and parliamentary elections of November 28, said it did not know when these experts would come, or how many there would be.

“There has been a first meeting at the political level, with the ambassadors of the United States and Great Britain,” followed by a “technical” meeting with the UN mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO), Jacques Djoli, vice-president of the CENI, told AFP.

“Discussions must continue. We hope that at the latest tomorrow or after tomorrow things will become clearer, because we already have results that need to be validated and a population that is awaiting the end of the process,” Djoli added.

Congo: Tshisekedi Says He Won, Can He Prove It? | Congo Planet

Unlike the Independent National Electoral Commission, which published the results of the presidential election showing why it says Joseph Kabila won and for everyone to see and scrutinize, Etienne Tshisekedi has so far provided no proof to support his claim of an outright victory. Yet, the longtime opposition leader has said, once again, that he now considers himself president.
Does Mr. Tshisekedi expect all Congolese to just trust his word? He must have proof that he is the one who was elected. Not Joseph Kabila, Vital Kamerhe, or Kengo wa Dongo. There must be pictures out there, videos, signed summaries of the tallies at polling stations,…  These claims of victory, coming from such a respected politician, cannot be baseless.

Of course, Mr. Tshisekedi declared himself president even before the Nov. 28 presidential elections. His proof then was that “the Congolese people have already chosen me.” Well, maybe in a parallel universe they did. But in this world, we humbly ask for proof of Mr. Tshisekedi’s victory. The Carter Center, the European Union, the United States, have said that the elections “lacked credibility”, “were not transparent”, “were seriously flawed.” Great! Maybe someone out there has the proof that Mr. Tshisekedi won. Or do they? It’s one thing to say that the 2011 elections were marred with irregularities; it’s completely different to claim that the opposition won. Even these international observers missions have not gone that far.

Congo: Violence, deaths over Congo elections force delay of official results |

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s election commission postponed declaring the winner of last week’s polls amid fears the result could lead to new violence as protests erupted worldwide. The conflict-prone country has been on high alert while it awaits the final results after a campaign that saw deadly police crackdowns on opposition rallies and a series of clashes between rival partisans.

Early tallies showed President Joseph Kabila heading for re-election in the single-round vote, which pitted him against a divided opposition field of 10 candidates. But the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) said late on Tuesday it needed more time to compile final results from around the vast central African country, promising a full count within 48 hours.

“We don’t have all the results sheets from the 169 local results compilation centres,” CENI spokesman Matthieu Mpita told AFP. “That’s why we had to postpone the provisional results. To respect the law, we need to have all the results sheets in our possession.” The postponement came after police fired tear gas to disperse opposition supporters in Kinshasa. According to results issued late Tuesday, Kabila led main rival Etienne Tshisekedi 49 percent to 33 percent, with 89 percent of polling centres counted.

Nigeria: Court Accuses Electoral Commission of Using Delay Tactics |

Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, yesterday cautioned counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) AB Mahmud (SAN) against delay tactics in the trial of a suit filed against the commission by Beddings Holdings Limited. Beddings Holdings accused INEC of infringing its patent right by contracting three companies to produce voters register for the 2011 general elections without first seeking and obtaining a written licence, consent and authority from it.

It claimed that it was the only company with the patent right to produce Electronic Collapsible Transparent Ballot Boxes, ECTBB, as well as the patentee in respect of Proof of Address System/Scheme, PASS, used for collation and collection of data.

Nigeria: Assessing INEC Ahead Next Elections | Leadership Newspapers

The Independent National Electoral Commission has rolled out plans to conduct elections in six states. The commission was prevented from conducting elections in these states during the 2011 general elections by a court ruling after it had claimed that the tenure of the governors in question should have ended on May, 29 2011 in spite of the fact that their 2007 elections into office had been annulled and they had to face re-election.

INEC has now come to terms with the court ruling which determined when the tenure of each of the governors is to end. INEC is to hold governorship election in Kogi State on December 3 where the tenure of the Governor Ibrahim Idris will end on April 4, 2012. According to the commission’s timetable, the governorship election in Adamawa will hold on January 14, 2012 and the four years of Murtala Nyako will end on April 30, 2012. In Bayelsa, the election will hold February 11, 2012 and the tenure of Timipre Silva ends on May 27, 2012.

Nigeria: Year 2015 – Representatives, Jega Mull Electronic Voting |

Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters and Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Attahiru Jega yesterday pondered over the possibility of conducting electronic voting system in Nigeria in the 2015 general elections.

Briefing members of the committee led by Rep Jerry Manwe (PDP, Tara), Jega said INEC was being proactive on the possibility of electronic voting in 2015.

Liberia: ECOWAS Chief Poll Monitor Expects Transparent Liberia Vote | VoA News

The leader of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) poll observer team says Liberia’s electoral body seems to have adequately prepared for today’s (Tuesday’s) vote. Attahiru Jega, who is also chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says the regional bloc has deployed about 150 observers to monitor Liberia’s presidential and legislative elections.

“Our mandate is to witness the elections and to be able to report on the extent of it being free, fair and credible,” said Jega. “We have a range of experienced personalities from all over the West African sub-region as observers in this team…It’s a very well composed team of experts, of people who have been concerned with issues of democratization and elections.” He adds that his team will also ensure that the polls will be well organized “in accordance with established international standards.”

Congo: The Electoral Process Seen from the East | International Crisis Group

The technical preparations for the presidential and legislative elections scheduled on 28 November and the beginning of the electoral campaign in the East of Congo have generated suspicion that risks developing into a crisis of confidence in the whole electoral process.

Congo: The Electoral Process Seen from the East , the latest briefing from the International Crisis Group, examines voter registration and the beginning of the campaign on the ground in the Kivu provinces and the Ituri district and highlights the electoral stakes in a region that remains fundamental for durable stability in the country.

“The militiamen of the armed groups have not disturbed the voter registration process because they also need the voters’ card which serves as an ID document in the Democratic Republic of Congo”, says Marc-André Lagrange, Crisis Group’s Senior Congo Analyst. “However, the surprisingly sharp increase in the electorate the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced, lack of dialogue with the political parties and lack of verification by the voters themselves feed latent but widespread suspicions in the opposition and civil society”.

Nigeria: Granting Congress for Progressive Change access to Nigerian biometric data will harm national security – INEC | Daily Trust

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday told the Presidential Election Tribunal headed by President of the Court of Appeal Justice Ayo Salami that allowing the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) access to the biometrics data base of registered voters used for the April presidential election will jeopardise national security.

This is just as the Tribunal adjourned to August 29 for the interpretation its earlier order granting CPC access to INEC sensitive materials and also entertain CPC’s motion seeking to declare its presidential candidate in April general elections General Muhammadu Buhari as President would be heard.

The CPC had filed a motion praying the Tribunal to give the party judgment, alleging that the INEC disobeyed the tribunal’s order by denying the party access to the sensitive material used during the April 2011 President.

Congo: Democratic Republic of Congo gears up for general elections | Newsday

More than 31 million voters have registered for the forthcoming general election scheduled for November in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This represents a significant increase compared to about 25,6 million that registered for the last election held in 2006.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (Ceni) has said it is happy with the way the electoral process is progressing, adding that the response from voters had been overwhelming. “It is more than we expected,” Ceni chairperson Daniel Ngoy Mulunda said at a Press conference following the completion of the first phase of the updating of the electoral roll. He said overwhelming response is a positive sign that people are willing to participate in national development.

Nigeria: Situating Independent National Electoral Commission’s agenda for six states | The Nation/Nigeria

Last Wednesday, Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), set in motion processes that would put the nightmare or bad memories of the worst election in the history of Nigeria completely behind her. It set election dates for five governorship elections which were nullified by the tribunals and affirmed by the appeal court, but whose occupants had gone to court to contest the tenure of their offices, following plans by the INEC to conduct elections into the offices using the amended 1999 constitution as amended and the 2010 Electoral Act. But the states won the tenure legal battle and so set the tone for the present.

And whereas everything about the 2007 general elections ought to have been permanently put behind them because of the interpretations given to the constitutional provisions dealing with tenure by the law courts, Nigerians will be battling with what ordinarily should have ended with the last April elections for those who would be going for a second term in office.