Daily Archives: February 24, 2019

Senegal Awaits Election Results

DAKAR, SENEGAL � Vote counting has begun in Senegal after a peaceful day of voting in Sunday’s presidential election.

Polls closed at 6 p.m. local time and preliminary results are expected as soon as Monday or Tuesday, according to CENA.

After three weeks of campaigning, long lines of voters formed early Sunday to either support incumbent Macky Sall’s bid for re-election or replace him with one of his four challengers – Idrissa Seck, Ousmane Sonko, Madicke Niang or Issa Sall.

The election process was smooth and there were no major disruptions in the election process, Doudou Ndir, president of Senegal’s electoral commission (CENA) told a press conference.

“Our observations show everything is proceeding in good conditions, peacefully, calmly,” Ndir said.

President Sall, 56, cast his ballot in his hometown of Fatick early Sunday. “I hope that at the end of this day, the Senegalese people will be the sole winner,” he said after voting.

“What we all have in common is our country, and we want a candidate who will work for it, for our Senegal,” Mbene, an 18-year-old student who voted for the first time Sunday, told VOA Afrique after casting her ballot for Sall.

Though some will renew their support for Sall, some young voters are pledging their support to the youngest of the candidates, Ousmane Sanko, 44, who is promising drastic changes from the current system.

“The system has been in place for 60 years with the same men, the same heads, and we need to break from this,” Pape Amadou Diop, a student in Dakar, said after voting for Sonko, whom he calls the “perfect representation of hope in Senegal.”

Approximately 15,000 voting stations were expected to be open Sunday. CENA chief Ndir said that by noon, about 30 percent of eligible voters had cast their ballots.

A candidate must win more than 50 percent of Sunday’s vote to be declared Senegal’s president. If no one wins an outright majority, then the top two contenders will face off in a run-off vote in March.

Source: Voice of America

Minister Bheki Cele hosts imbizo in Mamelodi, 25 Feb

Media invitation: Minister of Police to engage community of Mamelodi

Minister of Police Bheki Cele will on Monday, 25 February 2019 host a community engagement (imbizo) with the community of Mamelodi. The need to further engage the community on policing matters aimed at ensuring the safety and security of the residents of Mamelodi, follows the announcement two weeks ago by Minister Cele of the new Gauteng Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Mawela.

Source: Government of South Africa

UN Chief Condemns Attack Against Peacekeepers In Mali

UNITED NATIONS, United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, condemned the attack against members of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), in the area of Siby that resulted in the death of three peacekeepers from Guinea, and the injury of several others.

The secretary-general extends his deepest condolences to the bereaved families and wishes a swift recovery to the injured. He also expresses his solidarity with the people and government of Guinea, his spokesman said.

He cautions that, any attack against United Nations peacekeepers may constitute a war crime and calls on the Malian authorities, to spare no effort in identifying and swiftly bringing to justice the perpetrators of this attack.

The secretary-general reiterates the determination of MINUSMA to continue implementing its mandate, in support of the people and government of Mali in their quest for peace, the spokesman added.

UN peacekeepers and French forces are stationed in central and northern Mali, to combat well-armed jihadist groups, with links to al-Qaeda and the Daesh, seen as threatening security across Africa’s Sahel region.


Senegalese Head to Polls; President’s Re-Election Likely

DAKAR/FATICK, SENEGAL � Senegalese voters headed to the polls Sunday for an election President Macky Sall is expected to win after strong economic growth in his first term, although rights groups criticize him for squeezing out rivals.

Senegal’s small fish-exporting economy expanded more than 6 percent last year, one of the highest rates in Africa, driven by an ambitious reform and development plan that included the construction of a new railway.

The 57-year-old told thousands gathered for his final rally in Dakar on Friday that he would deliver universal health care and better access to education in a second term.

Results due next month

About 6.5 million people are registered to vote at polling stations that opened at 8 a.m. (0800 GMT) and close at 6 p.m. Official results are due Friday with a run-off for the top two March 24 if no one secures a majority.

After casting his vote in the president’s hometown of Fatick, pensioner Adama Sakho, 81, said he believed Sall would win in the first round, praising his social spending policies.

I’m retired, and now in one month I receive the same amount of money I used to make in three months, he said. He has the hand of God. Everything he touches gets realized. And he brings luck, because it’s during his reign that we found oil and gas.

There are hopes of an oil and gas boom in Senegal as energy majors develop previously untapped fields off its Atlantic coast.

Spending questioned

Despite Sall’s popularity, some citizens question whether a high-speed train, new motorways and a swanky conference center will benefit average citizens in the former French colony of 15 million people where the average income is less than $200 a month.

Many people do not have reliable water or power supplies.

University professor Bakary Manga, 43, said he would vote for opposition candidate Ousmane Sonko as he was disappointed in Sall’s first term.

It was a big nonsense with him. The cost of his projects is excessive, we can do much better with much less, he said at a polling station in Dakar.

Rivals sidelined

Rights groups have criticized the exclusion of two popular candidates from the race in the West African nation that has long been viewed as the region’s most stable democracy. It has seen peaceful transitions of power since independence in 1960.

Former mayor of Dakar, Khalifa Sall and Karim Wade, son of former President Abdoulaye Wade who was in power from 2000 to 2012, were barred from running because of corruption convictions.

The former president himself said in a statement the vote was being rigged and told supporters of his son to boycott the poll.

The government has dismissed the criticism, promising a free and fair vote.

The remaining challengers are Sonko, a former tax inspector who is popular among young people, as well as third-time contender and former Prime Minister Idrissa Seck. Lawyer Madicke Niang and IT professor Issa Sall are also running.

Sonko told supporters at his final rally on Thursday that he would congratulate Sall if the vote was fair.

But if he steals the victory, I ask the youth to walk to the presidential palace and chase him out, he said.

At least one person was killed this month in clashes between Sall’s backers and his opponents in the southeastern city of Tambacounda, but campaigning has been largely peaceful.

Source: Voice of America

Nigerians Await Election Results

Nigerians waited for election results Sunday as vote counting continued from the nation’s hotly-contested presidential poll.

Voting continued in a few remote areas, and Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it will reschedule elections in some parts of Lagos, Rivers and and Anambra states where voting was disrupted Saturday. It was not immediately clear which districts were affected.

VOA English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey, in Abuja, reports that INEC is expected to start announcing election results on Monday.

Both the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari, and his main opponent, Atiku Abubakar, are already predicting victory.

“Good morning Nigerians, again, thank you for voting President @MBuhari in yesterday’s election. Results have been coming since, they are so overwhelming. PMB has been voted by majority and #BuhariIsWinning!” Buhari’s aide Bashir Ahmad tweeted early Sunday.

Abubakar’s Peoples Democratic Party said it was doing well in several areas, including the comerical capital Lagos, and Abubakar released a statement saying very soon the living nightmare of the last four years will come to an end so that together we will get Nigeria working again.”

Security forces confirmed that 16 people were killed in election-related violence.

Despite the rescheduling of some elections, INEC said it was “generally satisfied” with the vote, the French Press Agency reported.

Political tensions were high last week as Nigerians prepared to elect a new president and parliament. During the campaign, Buhari’s All Progressives Congress and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party accused each other of attempting to fix the outcome.

Earlier this week, Buhari urged the military to be “ruthless” with anyone who tries to interfere in the voting process. The remark drew sharp criticism from Abubakar, who said the military has “no role to play” in the elections.

President Buhari was among the first of the country’s more than 72 million eligible voters to cast a ballot in his hometown of Daura when the polls opened Saturday for the country’s delayed election.

Nigeria’s elections were initially planned for February 16 but the electoral commission, citing logistical issues, abruptly postponed them just five hours before polling stations were set to open.

After ruling briefly as a military dictator in the 1980s, Buhari won the 2015 election, becoming the first opposition candidate to defeat a sitting president.

Source: Voice of America