Tuesday, 27 October 2015

CCM tipped to win as opposition raises doubts


It's a bumper election week with results coming in from the national contests in Tanzania and Côte d'Ivoire and from Congo-Brazzaville's referendum on changing the constitution to allow President Denis Sassou-Nguesso yet another term. Meanwhile, a Nigerian court has annulled the election of Ezenwo Nyesom Wike as Governor of Rivers State as veteran South African politician and businessman Tokyo Sexwale stands for the presidency of the world football body FIFA. 

TANZANIA: CCM tipped to win as opposition raises doubts
A high turnout and widespread disaffection with the governing Chama Cha Mapinduzi party have made the presidential and parliamentary elections on 25 October a tight contest. Some opposition politicians complained of police interference soon after the polls closed. Many are frustrated with the long dominance of the CCM while conceding they believe that its presidential candidate, John Magufuli, is honest and competent.

Some 22.7 million people registered to vote and the electoral commission is due to declare the results this week. Edward Lowassa, opposition candidate for Chadema and a former Prime Minister, says he will only concede defeat if the vote is free and fair. We'll be providing a full analysis of the political battle. 

CÔTE D'IVOIRE: Ouattara rides the economic upturn in presidential race
Peaceful polls with a turn out of around 60% and an early commendation by international observers of the election management suggest there is no appetite for a repeat of the political stand-off in 2010. 

President Alassane Ouattara, the incumbent, is widely tipped to walk to an easy victory over divided opposition parties. Some allies of Laurent Gbagbo, the former President whose trial on charges of fomenting political violence is about to start at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, boycotted the polls. They accuse Ouattara of taking no serious measures towards political reconciliation. We'll be looking at the challenges facing Ouattara in his second term. 

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Sassou-Nguesso tries to extend his mandate
In power since 1979 – with one five-year break – and presiding over a corrupt regime and a dysfunctional economy, President Denis Sassou-Nguesso, 71, hopes that last Sunday's referendum will approve an amendment to the constitution that will allow him to stand for yet another term. Current term limits and his age do not allow him to stand again.

His political opponents, whose protests last week were broken up by riot police, say the low turnout for the referendum should render it invalid. The government has yet to announce the turnout figure but claims that voting picked up after a slow start. 

NIGERIA: Court overturns election of Rivers State governor as Delta tensions rise
Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, the People's Democratic Party candidate as Rivers State governor, has vowed to appeal against a court ruling which cancelled his election in April and ordered a fresh poll. Rivers State is the richest state in the federation after Lagos but most of its revenues come from its share of the country's oil earnings.

Presiding Judge Suleiman Ambursa criticised the management of the election, saying there was malpractice and intimidation of voters. The judgement could worsen the tension expected to follow President Muhammadu Buhari's plan – due in three months – to end the multi-million dollar amnesty scheme which offered training and stipends to militants from the Niger Delta. We'll be assessing the political dangers facing the new government in the Delta.

SOUTH AFRICA: Multi-millionaire Sexwale throws his hat in FIFA's ring
Tokyo Sexwale, former top politician in the governing African National Congress and erstwhile contender for the national presidency, says he is going to run for the top job at FIFA, the governing body of world football. He will be the third African candidate after Nigeria's Segun Odegbami and Liberia's Musa Billy. Jordan's Prince Ali Bin Hussein has also confirmed he will stand for the job.

Sexwale will have to address concerns that the sweeping investigation into corruption and fraud at FIFA may touch on claims that South Africa made payments to secure its selection as host country for the 2010 World Cup.

AFRICA-INDIA SUMMIT: India steps up diplomacy and trade across Indian Ocean as China slows
India
's biggest-ever Africa summit started on 26 October. It's set to launch several important trade and investment deals in natural resources and information technology. Trade between India and Africa is currently running about $70 billion year, about a third of the level of African-Chinese trade.

Although Indian officials were cautious about the pace of expansion, many reported that Indian company interest in Africa and in co-operation agreements was sharply up while China tries to rebalance its economy. There was also growing strategic interest in building what officials on both sides refer to as the Indian Ocean community. 

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