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Presidential canceled: African opponents praise Kenyan example

Ⓒ AFP – ZINYANGE AUNTONY – | Morgan Tsvangirai, Leader of the Zimbabwean Opposition in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, September 2, 2017

Some African opponents, filled with hope or bitterness, sometimes disillusioned, have praised the Supreme Court of Kenya for its historic decision to cancel the re-election of outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta, expressing the wish that it serve as an example on a continent has been plagued by numerous electoral crises.

“If this has happened in Kenya, it can also happen in Zimbabwe,” said Saturday to thousands of supporters Morgan Tsvangirai, opposition leader in a country led by Robert Mugabe since 1980 and where elections have been in the past marked by violence, intimidation and accusations of electoral fraud.

“This is an unprecedented decision in all of Africa,” said Tsvangirai, three times losing to Mugabe, over the invalidation of the Kenyan presidential elections on 8 August by the Supreme Court of Kenya . Seized by the opposition, the latter noted irregularities in the transmission of the results and ordered a new vote by 31 October.

Recalling the serious political crisis of violence that has plagued Burundi since the announcement in April 2015 of President Pierre Nkurunziza’s candidacy for a third controversial mandate, obtained in July of the same year, the Burundian opposition welcomed “the courage exceptional of the judges of the Supreme Court of Kenya “.

Ⓒ AFP – SIMON MAINA – | The judges of the Supreme Court of Kenya, who announced the cancellation of the August 8 presidential election and ordered a new ballot on September 1, 2017.

“Kenyan judges have just given an extraordinary lesson to Africa and the world, it is a model of independence of the judiciary to follow,” enthused Charles Nditije, president of the Cnared coalition, which gathers the quasi of the Burundian opposition.

According to Ndijite, this “school case” is a “cowardice” of the Burundian Constitutional Court, which ruled that Mr. Nkurunziza’s third term was legal. For its part, the Burundian government has called the Kenyan decision a “lesson” for those who have rejected the decision of the Constitutional Court.

– ‘Trahison’ –

In Uganda, a Kenyan-African neighbor headed by Yoweri Museveni since 1986, opponent Kizza Besigye, arrested many times before, during and after the February 2016 controversial presidential election, urged “Ugandan justice to learn from his counterpart Kenyan “.

“I doubt that this decision could be taken in Uganda”, in which international observers believe that the 2016 election took place in an “atmosphere of intimidation” imposed by the regime, justice of the result by the opposition, arguing fraud, had been rejected.

“The case of Kenyan is just normal, while Gabon is not,” Jean-Gaspard Ntoutoume Ayi, spokesman for Jean Ping, credited with 47.24% of the Gabonese presidential vote of August 2016, against 50.66% to the outgoing Ali Bongo, who succeeded his father in 2009.

While the African Union and the European Union questioned the credibility of the vote, the Constitutional Court rejected Jean Ping’s request to recount the results, a “betrayal” in the eyes of the one who still proclaims himself “elected president “.

For the Gabonese government, on the other hand, the Kenyan decision “proves that it is the institutions of a country that close the electoral process and not the international observers”.

– ‘Destructive Choice’ –

“If a Supreme Court makes the effort to cancel rigged elections, I believe that the election commissions responsible for organizing these elections will now pay attention to the risk of being punished by the superior institution,” said the head of the elections. Guinean opposition, Cellou Dalein Diallo.

In a country where tens of thousands of opposition supporters demonstrated at the beginning of August to demand that President Alpha Condé respect political agreements, including holding local elections that were constantly rejected, Diallo hopes that this decision will inspire “the other jurisdictions responsible for the handling of electoral disputes in Africa (…), generally bound by the powers”.

In Tanzania, the leader and deputy of a small opposition party, Kabwe Zitto, called for an amendment to the constitution, which does not allow to contest an election in court.

And in Rwanda, where President Paul Kagame was re-elected on August 4 with almost 99 percent of the vote, the candidate of the only opposition party tolerated by the authorities, Frank Habineza, said that “independence of justice is and avoids the use of destructive choices such as the formation of rebel groups and violent demonstrations. ”

burs-ndy / lp

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