Category Archives: West Africa

Ghana – President Mahama vows to respect result as early indications are that he’s losing

BBC

mahama votes AFP/Getty   Casting his vote, Mr Mahama said he had no regrets over his first term in office

Ghana’s President John Mahama has said that he will respect the outcome of Wednesday’s tightly contested election.

He also said in a tweet that the Electoral Commission should be allowed to carry out its mandate.

Local media are reporting that opposition candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, 72, has an unassailable lead but official results have not been released.

Final results must be declared by 17:00 GMT on Saturday.

The electoral commission announced on Thursday that it was manually verifying the results because its electronic system had been targeted by hackers.

In a tweet, it urged people to ignore the “fake results” circulating on social media.

“I want to assure the nation that we will respect the outcome of the elections, positive or negative,” said Mr Mahama.

The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate’s quest for a second term is facing a strong challenge from a revitalised New Patriotic Party (NPP).

A run-off will be held later in the month if neither of the two main candidates secures more than 50% of the votes.

The campaign was dominated by Ghana’s faltering economy.

In the previous election in 2012, Mr Mahama defeated Mr Akufo-Addo by less than 300,000 votes.


Head-to-head:

L: John Dramani Mahama, R: Nana Akufo-AddoAFP   John Mahama (L) wants a second term; Nana Akufo-Addo (R) hopes it will be third time lucky

NDC candidate: John Dramani Mahama, 58

  • Vice-president under President John Atta Mills, who died in 2012. Completed his term
  • Now seeking re-election after serving his first term of four years
  • Main promise: Launch more infrastructure projects and create jobs

 

NPP candidate: Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, 72

  • Campaigned for a return to multi-party democracy under military rule
  • A former justice and foreign minister in the NPP government from 2001 to 2007, he is running for president for a third time
  • Main promise: Build a factory in each of Ghana’s more than 200 districts

Defeat for Mr Mahama would make him the first incumbent to lose an election since Ghana returned to multi-party democracy in 1992.

He has been nicknamed “Mr Dumsor”, a local word that refers to the power cuts that have blighted the country during his term, but on the campaign trial has been trying to convince Ghanaians that he is delivering on his promise of creating more jobs.

Mr Akufo-Addo has promised free high-school education and more factories, but his critics have questioned the viability of his ambitions.

The other four candidates include former first lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings of the National Democratic Party (NDP), whose husband Jerry John Rawlings initially took power in the 1979 coup.

She is the first woman to run for president in the West African country.

Although the EC is yet to declare the winner, parliamentary results declared at the constituency level show that the NPP has won 107 seats out of 175.

The results for 100 remaining constituencies are still to come.


Four parliamentary surprises

Parliament of Ghana AFP   Ghana’s parliament will feature young and new MPs next year
  • Minister loses: Veteran politician and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hanna Tetteh lost her seat to former telecoms executive George Andah. In 2014, a tweet by the minister appearing to mock the low turnout of a protest march organised by pressure group Occupy Ghana, which Mr Andah was a member of, attracted criticism from social media users
  • A Rawlings in government: Zanetor Rawlings, the eldest daughter of former President Jerry John Rawlings wins her constituency in the Greater Accra region
  • Political newcomer: Popular talk show host Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah wins his constituency with a wide margin
  • The youngest lawmaker: 23-year-old Francisca Oteng-Mensah of the NPP will be the youngest MP

Ghana – radios report Nana Akufo-Addo victory in presidential election

Reuters

Fri Dec 9, 2016 7:46am GMT

Ghanaian presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) waves during his last rally at a trade fair in Accra December 4, 2016. REUTERS/Luc Gnago
 

ACCRA (Reuters) – Ghana’s main opposition leader, Nana Akufo-Addo, has won the country’s presidential election with an absolute majority over President John Mahama, the private radio stations Joy FM and Citi FM said on Friday.

The two respected news stations based their projections on results from Wednesday’s election announced at the constituency level. The electoral commission is set to begin releasing results on Friday.

Joy FM’s website showed Akufo-Addo winning with 53 percent of the vote with Mahama on 45.15 percent, based on a count of 217 constituencies out of 275 in total. Citi FM gave Akufo-Addo 54.8 percent based on 190 constituencies.

Akufo-Addo, 72, served as attorney general and then as foreign minister in the New Patriotic Party government, which held power for eight years starting in 2001. It is his third time running for president on the party ticket.

Mahama fought the election against the backdrop of an economy that has slowed since he took power in 2013, in part because of lower global prices for the West African country’s exports of gold, oil and cocoa.

Ghana’s two strong parties regularly hold peaceful and highly competitive elections. Twice since 2000, the government of the day has been overturned.

(Reporting by Kwasi

 

Mali – government foot dragging traps peacekeepers in endless conflict

Reuters

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Children stand in front of a health clinic in Kidal, Mali, July 23, 2015. The graffiti reads, ‘You who say you’re a health worker, be careful, nothing is hidden. Long live Azawad!’ REUTERS/Adama Diarra

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By Tim Cocks | BAMAKO

Last week, the offices of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the desert city of Gao in northern Mali were flattened by a truck bomb. On Tuesday, just five suspected Islamist militants succeeded in freeing 93 inmates from a jail in the town of Niono.

“Peace” in Mali looks increasingly like war by another name. As both rebels and government go slow on implementing a deal signed last year, it is the U.N. peacekeeping mission, which has lost 100 lives and is costing nearly a billion dollars a year, that is paying the price.

“The war makes a living for a lot of people,” said Moussa Mara, a former prime minister who led an abortive effort to retake the lawless desert town of Kidal in 2014 but no longer has a government post.

“There are those in the peace process who don’t want it to conclude. They get their ‘per diems’, they get their travel paid. These armed groups are not in a hurry,” Mara told Reuters, recalling that one meeting on implementation that was supposed to take an afternoon had ended up dragging on for weeks.

Ever since French forces intervened in 2013 to push back Islamists who had hijacked an ethnic Tuareg uprising in Mali’s desert north, world powers, especially former colonial master France, have invested huge sums in trying to soothe the complicated rivalries that caused Mali to implode.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission, MINUSMA, has 13,000 staff from 123 nations. France maintains a 4,000-strong parallel peacekeeping operation, “Barkhane”. And the European Union has 580 instructors training the Malian army.

“TIME IS OUR ENEMY”

The aim is to ensure the success of the July 2015 peace pact, which offers Tuaregs and other northern groups some autonomy if they give up on independence, and to prevent a resurgence of Islamist militants adept at exploiting any power vacuum.

But the setting up of interim authorities has stalled, and Islamist militants based in the desert north are venturing further and further south with their attacks. One of the north’s main cities, Kidal, lies completely outside government control because of fighting between pro- and anti-government Tuareg factions, partly over trafficking routes.

The head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA), Chadian diplomat Mahamat Saleh Annadif, has pressed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita personally for more urgency.

“I’ve told him that this is an emergency, and that time is our enemy,” Annadif told Reuters in his office in Bamako, inside a U.N. building protected by security barriers of sandbags.

Annadif said he believed Keita was sincere about wanting to implement the deal, but that he had said Mali was a democracy and had to work through its institutions, which took time.

“I told him, regardless of the justification, we could have moved more quickly.”

A spokesman for the president did not respond to a request for comment, but Security Minister Colonel Salif Traore told Reuters: “It’s the nature of a deal that nobody can get all they want … but I’m confident this deal will permit us to stabilise our country.”

Meanwhile, the security situation worsens.

Andrew Lebovich of the European Council on Foreign Relations said the northern rebel groups were becoming more fragmented, and had little trust in the U.N. force.

“Even supposedly pro-government militias (in the north) don’t really want the government back.”

FOOT-DRAGGING

Some analysts even say that all the international support has allowed Mali to delay rebuilding its own army, brutally exposed in 2012.

Mara said the government was dragging its feet elsewhere, too. Civil servants drawing up legal documents to enact the peace deal were sometimes sitting on them for months because they did not want to give up that power.

This has led the Tuaregs to suspect more sinister motives.

“The government signed the deal but they don’t like the deal,” Ilad Ag Mohammed, spokesman for a Tuareg umbrella group, the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), told Reuters during a visit to Bamako to brief U.N. officials. “It’s bad faith.”

Yet Tieman Hubert Coulibaly, Mali’s defence minister until he was removed in September, told Reuters the Tuaregs had only put forward the names of local officials two months ago.

Meanwhile, the international effort goes on.

Instructors from EU armies have so far trained 9,000 Malian troops, almost half the army’s complement.

At least one of them has since been wounded fighting alongside the insurgents, the head of the EU training brigade, General Eric Harvent, told Reuters at the mission’s headquarters in Bamako’s Nord-Sud hotel — protected by sand-filled barriers since an attack by suspected Islamists in March.

“We have to be realists,” Harvent said. “Reform of an … army can take 10 years.”

France, for its part, is resigned to being in Mali for perhaps another 15 years, a senior diplomat said.

“The small progress we’ve achieved is because we’ve piled on pressure each time,” he said. “We shouldn’t imagine that we hold an election, deploy some blue helmets — and it’s solved”.

(Additional reporting by John Irish in Paris; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Cyber attack on Ghana election commission site

BBC

An electoral official overturns a ballot box prior to counting votes at a polling station in Tamale, northern region, on December 7, 2016.AFP More than 15 million people were registered to vote

Hackers have targeted the website of Ghana’s electoral commission as votes are counted after tightly contested elections.

The commission says the website is up again, and an attempt to put up “fake results” failed.

In a tweet, it urged people to ignore the “fake results” circulating on social media.

President John Mahama is facing a strong challenge from main opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo.

Wednesday’s election passed off peacefully, but voting was postponed to Thursday in one constituency after voting material failed to arrive on time.

A run-off will be held later in the month if neither of the two main candidates secures more than 50% of the votes.

The campaign was dominated by Ghana’s faltering economy.

In the previous election in 2012, Mr Mahama defeated Mr Akufo-Addo by less than 300,000 votes.

“We deplore the attempt to hack the EC’s [electoral commission’s] website. Please respect the integrity and independence of the EC,” it said in a tweet.

The website was offline for about four hours, but the commission had not put up results overnight so there was no chance of any tampering, a spokesman told the BBC.


Head-to-head:

L: John Dramani Mahama, R: Nana Akufo-AddoAFP John Mahama (L) wants a second term; Nana Akufo-Addo (R) hopes it will be third time lucky

NDC candidate: John Dramani Mahama, 58

  • Vice-president under President John Atta Mills, who died in 2012. Completed his term
  • Now seeking re-election after serving his first term of four years
  • Main promise: Launch more infrastructure projects and create jobs

NPP candidate: Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, 72

  • Campaigned for a return to multi-party democracy under military rule
  • A former justice and foreign minister in the NPP government from 2001 to 2007, he is running for president for a third time
  • Main promise: Build a factory in each of Ghana’s more than 200 districts

All seven candidates have pledged to keep the process peaceful but an opposition supporter died when a rally turned violent on Monday.

Final results are expected in the next two days, although provisional results from constituencies are being released.

The candidates signed a pact last week vowing to follow electoral rules and keep the peace.

Clashes near the border with Togo on Monday left one person dead and six in a critical condition.

Defeat for Mr Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) would make him the first incumbent to lose an election since Ghana returned to multi-party democracy in 1992.

He has been nicknamed “Mr Dumsor”, a local word that refers to the power cuts that have blighted the country during his term, but on the campaign trial has been trying to convince Ghanaians that he is delivering on his promise of creating more jobs.

Mr Akufo-Addo has promised free high-school education and more factories, but his critics have questioned the viability of his ambitions.

The other four candidates include former first lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings of the National Democratic Party (NDP), whose husband Jerry John Rawlings initially took power in the 1979 coup.

She is the first woman to run for president in the West African country.

Ghana – Edward Mahama concedes defeat to Nana Addo based on projections

Graphic (Ghana)

Dr Edward Mahama has eaten the humble pie

Presidential candidate of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Dr Edward Mahama has congratulated the NPP’s flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for “winning” the 2016 Presidential elections.


Dr Mahama tweeted Thursday saying, “I will like to congratulate Nana Akufo-Addo of the NPP for winning the 2016 general elections based on my projections.”

He further called on the other political parties to concede defeat “especially the sitting president.”

“I call on my other contenders to do same especially the sitting President to concede gracefully. This is a victory for all Ghana,” he said in another tweet.

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Meanwhile the NPP has held a press conference projecting a win for Nana Addo.

According to the National Campaign Manager of the party, Mr Peter Mac Manu, the party’s “parallel” counting of results from polling station pink sheets shows that Nana Addo has amassed 54% out of 80% of the votes counted so far.

 

Reuters

Thu Dec 8, 2016 9:54am GMT
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Ghanaian presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo (L) of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) talks next to his wife Rebecca after casting his vote at a polling station in Kibi, Ghana December 7, 2016. REUTERS/Luc Gnago
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ACCRA (Reuters) – Ghana’s main opposition party said on Thursday it had a strong lead in elections and called on President John Mahama to concede defeat – comments dismissed as “treasonable” by the incumbent’s campaign team.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) said its candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, had won 52 percent of the vote according to its own tally of Wednesday’s presidential poll, against 44.8 percent for Mahama.

The Electoral Commission said it had not certified any results in the closely fought race to lead the West African nation that has seen a series of peaceful transfers of power.

But figures shown by television and radio stations showed the opposition making gains in both races.

“These are results that were declared at the polling stations … I am calling on the president to concede defeat,” said NPP campaign chief Peter Mac Manu.

A senior official for the ruling party, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, countered that Mahama was “comfortably ahead” and asked his supporters to remain calm.

“The results are still trickling in and the call and declaration by the NPP is irresponsible and treasonable because it can throw this country into chaos,” he added.

Ghana is one of Africa’s most stable democracies and voters have ejected the government of the day twice since 2000.

Until 2014, the country also had one of Africa’s most dynamic economies, though growth has slowed in part due to a fall in the price of its commodity exports.

(Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Andrew Heavens)

Nigeria – Patience Jonathan appeals to House of Representatives to protect her against EFCC

PunchPatience Jonathan writes Reps


Former Nigeria’s First Lady, Patience Jonathan 

John Ameh, Abuja

Wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, on Wednesday sought the protection of the House of Representatives against alleged harassment by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The former President’s wife laid a petition before the House in Abuja, complaining that her fundamental human rights were infringed upon by the anti-graft agency.

A Peoples Democratic Party member of the House from Delta State, Mr. Lovette Idisi, had submitted the petition on behalf of Jonathan’s wife.

However, he told members that the document was signed by youth groups from six ethnic groups in the country.

The youth groups were the Ijaw Youth Council; Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council; Ndokwa Youth Council; Arewa Consultative Forum; Yoruba Youth Council; and the Middle Belt Youth Council.

Idisi, while conveying the complaints of Mrs. Jonathan to the House, said under the Nigerian constitution, mere allegations did not amount to guilt until a proper conviction by a competent court of law.

He added, “This petition is in line with Section 36 where every citizen is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Mr. Speaker, the constant harassment of the former first lady is in a petition emanating from her that was sent to my office.

“With the leave of the House, I seek your permission to lay the petition before the House.”

The Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, referred the petition to the House Committee on Public Petitions for hearing.

It is expected that the former President’ wife will come to the National Assembly when invited, to defend the petition.

The key issue raised by the groups on behalf of Jonathan was that the EFCC had frozen her accounts and those of some of her close associates on account of corruption allegations.

They noted that some of the affected individuals were not under investigation by the anti-graft agency, but the agency still froze their accounts.

Part of the document read, “A simple cost benefit analysis of the EFCC’s current approach would reveal that it is harming this government’s strategic interest far more than the brief publicity it gets from its current modus operandi…

“We are urging you to caution and rein in the EFCC to operate within the confines of its enabling laws, lest it becomes victim of the corrupting influence of absolute power.

Mrs. Jonathan and the EFCC have had a running battle of late over the $31m in some companies’ accounts frozen by the EFCC.

Jonathan is already in court over the matter.

Ghana votes in close presidential race

BBC

Long queues as Ghanaians vote in tight presidential poll

There are long queues at polling stations in Ghana amid a tight election race between President John Mahama and veteran opposition leader Nana Akufo Addo.

All seven candidates have pledged to keep the process peaceful but an opposition supporter died when a rally tuned violent on Monday.

The campaign has been dominated by the faltering state of Ghana’s economy and the issue of corruption.

Results are expected within three days.

A run-off will be held later in the month if neither of the two main candidates secures more than 50% of the votes.


Casting my vote – Akwasi Sarpong, BBC Africa, Tema

sarpong

In Tema, where I’m registered, I found a queue of men and women waiting for voting to start. The first in one of the queues, Alfred Aggrey, told me he arrived five hours earlier. Many wanted to get on with their day’s business.

Loud noises of disapproval rung out when polling officers positioned the voting booths away from the crowd. People demanded that the booths be made to face them so they could see people going in to thumbprint only the assigned ballot papers and no other papers that they suspected could be smuggled in.

After a few minutes of shouting at the officers, their request was carried out to cheers of approval.


Voting in his northern home region of Bole, where he was mobbed by a cheering crowd, President Mahama said Ghana’s democracy had “matured” and this election would further consolidate it.

Asked about corruption, he told AFP news agency: “There is a general perception of corruption in all African countries. I think it is a stage of our development. As we continue to strengthen the institutions of state, I think that people will come to see the integrity in these institutions.”

mahama votesAFP/GETTY Casting his vote, Mr Mahama said he had no regrets over his first term in office
Akufo votesREUTERS  Akufo-Addo said Ghana had to maintain its democratic image

Casting his vote in Kibi in the south of Ghana, Mr Akufo-Addo said he hoped for an orderly election.

“It’s very important that this process goes off efficiently and smoothly and peacefully so that Ghana continues to maintain its deserved image of being a democracy that takes democracy seriously,” he said.

The candidates signed a pact last week vowing to follow electoral rules and keep the peace.

Many Ghanaians began queuing at polling stations overnight.

“I needed to register the strong feeling I have about this country with my thumb and the least I could do was to sacrifice sleep,” Comfort Laryea, a 78-year-old who had waited to vote since 04:00 in the capital, Accra, told the Reuters news agency.

For many, the economy is the main issue.

“We need change in Ghana because things are very difficult,” taxi driver Stephen Antwi Boasiako told the AP news agency. “This country has a lot of resources that can provide good jobs, but they’re not used.”

Police have told voters to go home after casting their votes, Joy FM reported.

Clashes near the border with Togo on Monday left one person dead and six in a critical condition.

Defeat for Mr Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) would make him the first incumbent to lose an election since Ghana returned to multi-party democracy.

He has been nicknamed “Mr Dumsor”, a local word that refers to the power cuts that have blighted the country during his term, but on the campaign trial has been trying to convince Ghanaians that he is delivering on his promise of creating more jobs.

Mr Akufo-Addo meanwhile has promised free high-school education and more factories, but his critics have questioned the viability of his ambitions.

The other four candidates include former first lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings of the National Democratic Party (NDP), whose husband Jerry John Rawlings initially took power in the 1979 coup.

She is the first woman to run for president in the West African country.


Head-to-head:

L: John Dramani Mahama, R: Nana Akufo-AddoImage copyrightAFP
Image captionJohn Mahama (L) wants a second term; Nana Akufo-Addo (R) hopes it will be third time lucky

NDC candidate: John Dramani Mahama, 58

  • Vice-president under President John Atta Mills, who died in 2012. Completed his term
  • Now seeking re-election after serving his first term of four years
  • Political pedigree: His father was first minister of state for the Northern region

NPP candidate: Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, 72

  • Campaigned for a return to multi-party democracy under military rule
  • A former justice and foreign minister in the NPP government from 2001 to 2007, he is running for president for a third time
  • Political pedigree: His father was a prominent politician who served as chief justice and ceremonial president