…as The Gambia postpones voter registration
By Paul Ejime
CENTRAL African Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadera has been re-elected for a second five-year term, according to provisional results from the December 27 elections.
The polls were overshadowed by violence and rebel attacks in the mineral-rich but impoverished former French administered country of under five million people.
The Electoral Commission declared Touadera, 63, winner with 53.9% of the votes.
Opposition candidate Anicet-Georges Dologuele came second with 21.1%, while Martin Ziguele placed third with 7.4%.
A rebel coalition from the opposition had called for a delay to the vote, but International observers said the voting process went well especially in the capital Bangui.
Violence disrupted the electoral process in much of the hinterlands despite the presence of some 12,000 UN peacekeepers and reinforcements sent in by Russia and Rwanda following rebel attacks on the eve of the polls.
Touadera’s government blames the unrest on former President Francois Bozize, who ruled the country from 2003 until he was ousted in 2013.
Bozize, a former rebel leader returned from exile in 2019 but was banned from running in the election. He has been accused of coup plotting and rallying armed groups to destabilize the country, but denies the charges.
Elsewhere in Africa, the Electoral Commission in the Gambia has announced the postponement of national voter registration exercise scheduled to start on 14th January 2021.
The Commission cited “logistical challenges beyond its control” as the reason for the delay “until further notice,” of the exercise expected to end 26 February.
This puts to further question the political agenda of the government of President Adama Barrow, who assumed power in 2017 following a disputed December 2016 vote. He beat former president Yahya Jammeh in that election, but Jammeh had to be escorted into exile after refusing to concede defeat.
Barrow, who originally agreed to serve for three years, now insists on a full five-year mandate. He has been accused of siding with Jammeh’s former ruling party to instigate the rejection of a draft national Constitution by the National Assembly.
The draft document cost millions of donor funding to put together as part of peace-building and national reconciliation efforts after 22 years of Jammeh dictatorship.
Presidential election is due in the Gambia on 4th December 2021, but timelime changes could undermine the agreed political calendar.
ECOWAS has a peace mission in the Gambia since December 2016 and opposition groups have accused Barrow of nursing a third-term ambition, a syndrome that has unleashed political instability in some West African countries, including Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire.
– Jan. 6, 2021 @ 12:34 GMT /