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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs