Items filtered by date: Friday, 11 January 2019
The United States of America has warned that widespread vote-buying could mar the general elections.
 
The US Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Cohen, who spoke on Thursday during a United Nations Security Council meeting on West Africa, urged politicians, civil society groups and community leaders to ensure that the election was free and fair.
 
Cohen said, “The United States sees a risk that widespread vote-buying could challenge the integrity of the election process.
 
“We are concerned about reports of intimidation and partisanship by security forces, heightened insecurity and inability of internally displaced persons or persons with disabilities to vote.”
 
Chambas said “tensions are high” in Nigeria ahead of the vote, but that prospects for peaceful elections had brightened with the signing of an accord last month in which parties pledged to support calm and order.
 
According to the time table released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, the presidential and parliamentary elections will hold on February 16, while the gubernatorial and state assembly elections will hold on March 2.
 
President Muhammadu Buhari, who in 2015 became the first opposition candidate to defeat a sitting president in Nigeria, is hoping to secure a second four-year term in the elections as he faces a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar.
 
In all, 71 candidates are vying for the presidency.
 
Recalled that the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral commission, Mahmood Yakubu, said a number of measures had been taken to combat vote-buying, which had been widespread in recent gubernatorial elections.
 
In the Ekiti governorship election last year, both the ruling and opposition parties were accused of offering voters cash for their voter cards.
 
During the primaries to pick presidential contenders, some candidates, including Abubakar, were accused of offering financial inducements to delegates for their support.
 
 
Source: PunchNg
Published in World

Félix Tshisekedi is the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) president elect. He is the leader of one of the DRC’s longest serving opposition parties, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress. Before the election, he joined forces with Vital Kamerhe and his Coalition for Change.

Tshisekedi promised to make Kamerhe his prime minister if he was elected president.

The Coalition for Change faced many political opponents at the polls. Their most formidable was the Common Front for the Congo, led by Emmanuel Shadary. Shadary was outgoing President Joseph Kabila’s favoured candidate.

Given that Kabila was reluctant to leave office after the Constitution required that he do so, many believed he would ensure that Shadary was elected. However, Shadary performed badly in the presidential election: he won only 4.4 million votes out of 46 million registered voters coming a distant third to the opposition candidates. Tshisekedi garnered just over seven million votes.

On the face of it, this looks like a dream win for the DRC’s opposition parties, who have finally unseated Kabila and defeated his preferred candidate. But with doubts being expressed by runner-up Martin Fayulu, the Catholic church, and the French, it might not be such an easy road to power for the president elect.

Doubts linger

The French government is among those casting doubt on the credibility of the election results. Fayulu has also openly disputed the results, calling the poll an “electoral coup”.

There is also a rapidly developing story that the diploma in Marketing and Communications Tshisekedi may have submitted as a condition of his candidacy might not have existed. Tshisekedi supposedly got the qualification from the Institute of Commercial Careers in Brussels. The institute has refuted his claim. Tshisekedi’s Union for Democracy and Social Progress has also denied submitting the diploma as part of Tshisekedi’s candidature application.

Tshisekedi’s academic qualifications are important because the DRC’s electoral commission requires that every presidential candidate must have either a postgraduate diploma, or at least five years’ experience in politics, administration, or socio-economy.

His party knows how important the qualification issue is. That’s why the organisation’s Belgian representative André Kabanda has defended Tshisekedi, saying the president-in-waiting has the requisite five years’ experience. He says that Tshisekedi provided a certificate of service in lieu of a postgraduate diploma. This means it was his experience which led to his candidature being ratified by the electoral commission.

Even if this storm blows over, Tshisekedi’s credentials will remain under heavy scrutiny and this may make his already mammoth task of uniting the fractious DRC behind him even harder.

The runner-up

Even as Tshisekedi and his supporters celebrate their victory, Fayulu was arguably the most important candidate in these elections. He will have a lot of influence in determining what happens next.

In the run up to the elections Fayulu was the voice of other major opposition figures – among them former vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba and former provincial governor Moise Katumbi – when the electoral commission barred them from running.

For a long time, Fayulu was ahead in the opinion polls in front of both Shadary and Tshisekedi. But perhaps most importantly he had the support of the Episcopal Centre of the Congolese Catholic Church, which believes he was the rightful winner of the December 30 election. The centre monitored the elections and has since announced that its tally differs from the official results as released by the election commission. There were other organisations monitoring the elections, such as the Southern African Development Community, but it isn’t clear yet if they agree or disagree with the electoral commission’s provisional election results.

However, given the power the Church has in the Congo their questioning of the official result could boost Fayulu’s challenge to a Tshisekedi presidency.

An election coup?

Fayulu has suggested that this was not a straightforward victory for Tshisekedi, and that the Coalition for Change struck a deal with the Common Front for Congo, which is led by Shadary. Fayulu has implied that the front knew Shadary was unlikely to win and so decided to promote Tshisekedi instead. He has suggested that the front may have thrown its weight behind Tshisekedi and pushed him to victory.

While Tshisekedi’s camp has acknowledged that he met with Kabila on several occasions, it has said these meetings were convened to ensure a smooth transition of power rather than to strike a pre-election deal. Tshisekedi’s pick for prime minister, Kamerhe, has affirmed this.

However, Kamerhe and Tshisekedi’s assertions have been dismissed by Fayulu who has urged the Catholic Church to publish its results as soon as possible. The church’s results suggest that Fayulu was elected president, and this means that there could be a great deal of unrest in the days to come.The Conversation

 

Reuben Loffman, Lecturer in African History, Queen Mary University of London

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published in Economy
The Debt Management Office (DMO) has revealed that Nigeria’s total debt portfolio leaped from N12.12 trillion as of June 30, 2015 to N22.43 trillion as of September 30, 2018.
 
According to data from the DMO, the total debt of the country rose by 85.07 percent since President Muhammadu Buhari took office on May 29, 2015, representing N10.31 trillion.
 
Of the total debt, the external component of both the Federal Government and state governments’ debts including that of the Federal Capital Territory stood at $21.59 billion from $10.32 billion as of June 30, 2015, while the domestic debt of both the Federal Government and the state governments stood at N15.81tn.
 
The data also showed that the domestic debt of the Federal Government stood at N12.29 trillion as of September 30, 2018 from N8.4 billion as of June 30, 2015 while the domestic debts of the state’s and the FCT stood at N1.69 trillion.
 
The DMO added that the debt statistics as of September 30, 2018, was only slightly different from the statistics as of June 30, 2018.
 
“External debt declined by 2.02 per cent to $21.59bn due largely to the redemption by Nigeria of a $500m Eurobond which matured on July 12, 2018.
 
“The Eurobond which was issued for a tenor of five years in 2013 was the first Eurobond maturity for Nigeria and Nigeria’s ability to repay it seamlessly boosted Nigeria’s position as a good credit in the International Capital Market.
 
“The domestic debt of the FGN, states and the FCT grew by 1.19 per cent from N15.63tn in June 2018 to N15.8tn in September 2018. This increase of N185bn was attributed to the FGN (N135bn) and states and FCT (N50bn).
 
“The combination of an increase in the level of domestic debt and a decrease in the external debt stock resulted in a slight shift in the portfolio composition.
 
“As of September 30, 2018, the share of domestic debt was 70.51 per cent compared to 69.83 per cent in June 2018.
 
“This trend is expected to be reversed in Quarter Four 2018 as the new external borrowing of N849bn (about $2.78bn) provided in the 2018 Appropriation Act is expected to be raised within the quarter”, the DMO said.
 
 
Source: NAN
Published in Bank & Finance

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