News

    African Leaders Call for Mauritania Election Transparency

    Several African heads of state who held for a regional meeting in Libya over the weekend have called for transparency in Mauritania's upcoming election despite opposition protests.

    The African leaders urged opposition political parties as well as the leader of last year's coup d'état to ensure that this week's general election is free and fair.

    With Senegal acting as mediator, the opposition demanded the election be postponed, claiming it is a sham aimed at legitimizing the recent coup. 

    The Director of Governance at United Nations Economic Commission For Africa, Professor Okey Onyejekwe told VOA that recent elections across Africa have been flashpoints of chaos.

    "I'm glad that the heads of state are insisting on a transparent and a credible election," Onyejekwe he said.

    He said there are indications that the calls by the African heads of state might not be heeded by the political players in Mauritania.

    "My fear is that maybe their intervention has come rather late in the process, given the fact that it is not just what happens on the day of the elections that determines the credibility of the election. It is also the antecedents such as ensuring that there is a level playing field," he said.

    Onyejekwe said there are suspicions that the leader of the coup would ensure he wins the election despite opposition protests and efforts.

    "There are quite a number of people who basically think likewise because the point here is that the incumbent is also the one who staged the coup d'état," Onyejekwe said.

    He said the opponents in the elections are expressing worry that the playing field is not level ahead of the election.

    "It looks from the point of view of the opposition that the outcome is already predictable," Onyejekwe said.

    He said the leader of the military junta should have refused to participate in the election on principle.

    "My judgment would have been a preferable alternative for the leader of the coup to just stand and just observe the elections and make sure that the process of transition to a new civilian regime was credible and legitimate," he said.

    Onyejekwe said the opposition's fortunes would be largely influenced by ongoing discussions mediated by Senegal and by the just-ended meeting in Libya.

    "Right now it depends on what was agreed at the meeting of heads of state in terms of the commitments that were made by the incumbent. And from what we've observed so far, it is usually going to be quite difficult given the fact that the incumbent is someone who has the reins of power," he said.

    Onyejekwe described recent elections held in some African countries as challenging.

    "The problem of elections these days in Africa is that there is a difficulty in accepting the outcome of this election, and elections are becoming flashpoints for conflicts," Onyejekwe said.

    He said there is need to address the difficulties associated with elections across Africa.

    "We need to deal with some of the fundamental problems why elections have now become flashpoints for conflict. And which means that it is important that the process from the beginning to the end is inclusive, participatory enough and not skewed against one or the other," he said.

    Onyejekwe said the opposition parties have not been overly enthused about the decisions of the African Union concerning the upcoming election.

    "There is an argument which I think members of the opposition have been advancing recently, which is the fact that the AU no longer accepts non-constitutional ascension to power," Onyejekwe said.

    He said there are worries the African Union, which abhors the overthrow of constitutionally elected governments, is not fully implementing its role.

    "Now it is now part of the charter that coup makers will not be accepted, but here now they (opposition) are asking the question if that is the case, if it is becoming the norm in Africa, why then will someone who staged a coup be the same person standing for elections? It raises some questions in terms of whether there is a contradiction," he said.

    Meanwhile, there are negotiations are taking place in the Senegalese capital Dakar between all the political parties participating in this week's election.

    The African Union suspended Mauritania from the continental body and the Economic Community of West African States as part of international sanctions to force a return of the constitutional order.

    The African Union backed Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade to be the facilitator. But the Senegalese leader is also being backed by the International Contact Group on Mauritania, which consists of the AU, the Arab League, the European Union, the International Organization of the Francophonie, and the United Nations. 

    Senegalese mediators reportedly have been working hard to find a solution to Mauritania's political stalemate ahead of the vote. Initial reports of an agreement were sharply denied by Senegalese authorities.

    Mauritania's military junta announced the June 6 election and the formation of an electoral commission in January, in search of an end to the crisis. Coup leader Abdel Aziz resigned on April 15 from ruling High Council of State to run for the presidency.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.