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.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora