News / Africa

    Keita Wins Mali Election After Cisse Concedes

    This combination of two file pictures shows (at L) Malian presidential candidate, Soumaila Cisse, and (at R) Malian presidential candidate Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, dubbed IBK.
    This combination of two file pictures shows (at L) Malian presidential candidate, Soumaila Cisse, and (at R) Malian presidential candidate Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, dubbed IBK.
    Reuters
    Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, an ex-prime minister with a reputation for firmness, won Mali's presidential election after his rival conceded defeat on Monday in a poll meant to draw a line under more than a year of turmoil.
     
    Keita, 68, universally known by his initials IBK, will now have access to $4 billion in international development aid to rebuild the West African country after a French military intervention in January ended Islamist rebels' occupation of the northern two-thirds of Mali.
     
    He inherits a broken nation and must move quickly to overhaul the armed forces, tackle ingrained graft and negotiate peace with northern Tuareg fighters clamoring for more autonomy from the southern capital Bamako.
     
    The concession by his rival Soumaila Cisse, who had complained only hours earlier that Sunday's second-round vote had been marred by fraud, hands Keita a strong mandate to undertake reform in the landlocked former French colony, one of the world's poorest countries.
     
    “My family and I went to congratulate Mr. Keita, the future president of Mali, on his victory. May God bless Mali,” Cisse, a former finance minister, said on his official Twitter feed.
     
    A spokesman for Cisse, who comes from northern Mali, said his candidate had admitted defeat after it became clear Keita had won even in Gao, the largest town in the north.
     
    Mali's presidential candidate Ibrahim Boubacar Keita speaks during an interview on August 9, 2013, in Bamako.Mali's presidential candidate Ibrahim Boubacar Keita speaks during an interview on August 9, 2013, in Bamako.
    x
    Mali's presidential candidate Ibrahim Boubacar Keita speaks during an interview on August 9, 2013, in Bamako.
    Mali's presidential candidate Ibrahim Boubacar Keita speaks during an interview on August 9, 2013, in Bamako.
    Keita, who earned his reputation for firmness by crushing student protests as prime minister in the 1990s, had been widely expected to clinch Sunday's runoff. He swept a July 28 first round with nearly 40 percent of votes on a ticket to restore dignity and order to a nation once regarded as a model for democracy in a turbulent region.
     
    International and local observers said that, barring some small irregularities, the election was exemplary. France had pressed for the vote to go ahead quickly as it draws down its 3,000 remaining troops in Mali and hands over to a U.N. peacekeeping mission, despite fears a rushed process might undermine the legitimacy of a new president.
     
    “This election, from a democratic standards point of view, is a success,” said the head of a European Union observer mission, Louis Michel. “It is an election that allows Mali now to start finishing the process that it has begun: the return to a normal democracy.”
     
    Lasting Peace in North Top Priority
     
    Keita has said his top priority will be to secure lasting peace for northern Mali, which has been racked by five bloody rebellions since independence from France in 1960. Light-skinned Tuaregs have accused successive black African governments in the south of marginalizing the underdeveloped region.
     
    Tuaregs took up arms again early last year, alleging Bamako had violated a 2006 peace accord meant to develop the north. Former President Amadou Toumani Toure's failure to tackle that revolt led to the coup which tipped the country into chaos.
     
    Keita has promised to open inclusive talks with all the peoples of northern Mali - black African, Arab and Tuareg - but many in the south are hostile to funneling more of Mali's scarce resources to a region they see as responsible for the country's plight.
     
    “There is a challenge of national reconciliation,” said Chris Fomunyoh, senior associate for Africa at the National Democratic Institute in Washington. “There is a lot of unease between ethnic groups, not just north versus south, but even within the north itself.”
     
    The 12,600-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission being deployed will take over responsibility for security as France whittles down its contingent to just 1,000 troops - a rapid reaction force meant to tackle any outbreaks of Islamist violence.
     
    A EU mission is also retraining and equipping Mali's armed forces, demoralized by last year's defeats at the hands of the Tuaregs and al-Qaida-linked Islamist rebels.
     
    MUJWA, one of three Islamist groups which seized control of northern Mali last year, had threatened to carry out attacks on polling stations in northern Mali before the July 28 first round but the electoral process passed off without any violence.
     
    “This was an important stage in the transition in Mali towards peace and reconciliation,” U.N. Special Representative for Mali Bert Koenders said. “The lack of violence was impressive in a country which has just emerged from conflict.”

    You May Like

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

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

    By the Numbers

    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.