Posts tagged elections

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Poles apart? A tale of two African strongmen

Zimbabwe’s governing Zanu-PF party has confirmed President Robert Mugabe as its candidate for the 2018 polls. President Mugabe who will be 94 in 2018 has showed no signs of relinquishing power and naming a successor. Conversely, reports that Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos will step down before the country’s 2017 elections have raised a few eyebrows. The reports of dos Santos’ retirement come amidst numerous cases across the continent where leaders continue to cling on to power, in some cases against the wishes of the electorate.

This video grab taken from footage shot by AFPTV shows The Gambia's President-elect Adama Barrow looking on following his victory in the polls in Kololi on December 2, 2016. Photo: ANP/AFP/AFPTV. Joe Sinclair

Quiet diplomacy? African leaders’ deafening silence on Adama Barrow’s monumental win

2016 has had numerous surprises, one being the shocking defeat of The Gambian President Yahya Jammeh in the country’s presidential election by property developer Adama Barrow. Jammeh has been in office for the past 22 years, and few people would have predicted a Jammeh loss, let alone the Gambian leader conceding defeat with a smile on his face, and pledging to oversee a smooth transition. Despite the grand gesture by Jammeh conceding defeat, it’s even more surprising that African leaders who took to social media to congratulate U.S. President-elect Donald Trump have been conspicuously silent in congratulating opposition leader Barrow. Could President-elect Barrow’s win be causing some jitters?

Cartoon: Damien Glez

Cartoon: The Gambia’s Yahyah Jammeh angel or devil?

The Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has been in office for the past 22 years. Few people would have predicted a Jammeh loss in the presidential election, let alone the longstanding Gambian leader conceding defeat with a smile on his face, and pledging to oversee a smooth transition. Jammeh, widely viewed as autocratic leader congratulated the winner, property developer Adama Barrow, for a “clear victory”. President Jammeh’s concession is monumental against the backdrop of alleged human rights abuses, and many expected him to win by hook and crook, that failing to cling on to power. Jammeh’s concession and pledge to facilitate a smooth power transfer raises important questions. Is the Gambian leader an angel, whose actions could bode well for democracy, and inspire other African leaders to respect the wishes of the electorate? Or he will remain a villain in the eyes of many because of a record of human rights abuses during his 22 years in power?

Malawi President Peter Mutharika waves at supporters after he was sworn in as President in Blantyre on Saturday May 31 2014. Photo: Thoko Chikondi

Beyong electoral rhetoric: Should politicians be legally held accountable for election promises?

The High Court in Blantyre recently dismissed a case by lawyer Ambokire Salimu who challenged the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to order a review of electoral laws to compel presidential candidates and political parties to honour their campaign promises. Despite its dismissal, the case raises important questions on political accountability and it resonates with arguments by citizens who argue that the failure by politicians to fulfil election manifestos is electoral fraud.