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West Africa Politics

Burkina Faso: Change is the Song as Citizens Head to the Polls

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On Sunday 22nd of November, the people of Burkina Faso will head to the polls, looking to stick to the old guard or elect a new leadership.

The last five years in the West African country have been marred with insecurity challenges- from terrorism to kidnapping and humanitarian problems.

An endless rise in the activities of Jihadist groups and proliferation of defence militias has seen at least one million Burkinabés displaced with million others in extreme hunger.

In 2015, People’s Movement for Progress (MPP), Marc Christian Kaboré was voted as President, after citizens saw to the exit of former leader, Blaise Compaoré over insecurity and bad governance. Majority of the issues that existed then still persist, although there have been improvements in a few critical areas.

Kabore’s main challengers are; 61-year-old Union for Progress and Change (UPC) party candidate and runner-up in the 2015 election, Zephirin Diabre, and Eddie Komboigo from the Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP), Compaoré’s party. Both candidates have been tipped by political analysts in the country to have about 30% of the total votes each.

While the incumbent President has been far from impressive, going by the local perception, he stands the best chance of retaining the presidential seat.

New Electoral Laws And Voter Disenfranchisement

Burkina Faso’s insecurity issues have ensured that one thousand three hundred and thirty-four (1334) of the nation’s almost 22,000 polling stations will not be operating during the elections.

New electoral laws have approved that votes can be counted even if half of registered voters don’t turn up for the elections. As it stands, at least 1/5th of voters will not cast their ballot at the elections due to jihadist attacks in northern and eastern parts of the West African country.

It is still unclear if the over one million displaced persons will have a chance to vote during the elections.

Zéphirin Diabré (Centre right) of the UPC is one of Kabore’s main challengers

Calm Amid A Storm

The current security tension in the country has led to a clear reversal from the norm.

Loud music, often seen as an integral part of political campaigns have been off the streets and the 13 Presidential candidates have also gone about their calls for support without violence.

From capital city Ouagadougou to other parts of the country where Jihadists haven’t held sway, citizens are looking to make a difference, either by sticking to the current President and hoping for an improved second term, or voting him out of office.

Kaboré hopes to win without going through a run-off but Burkinabes have a final say over who they want to spearhead the change they so much desire.

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Money Laundering: Niger Republic Extradites Fleeing Ex-Pension Boss, Maina, to Nigeria

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The Nigerian government has secured the extradition of a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Mr Abdulrasheed Maina, who jumped bail and fled to neighbouring Niger Republic.

Maina, a former director in the ministry of interior, is being prosecuted on 12 counts of money laundering to the tune of N2bn by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He was temporarily freed on bail after perfecting a bail condition, with Senator Ali Ndume standing as his surety.

After he jumped bail, Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja issued an arrest warrant against him and also ordered the arrest of his surety.

According to local reports, Maina was arrested in Niamey, the Nigerien capital, on Monday by security agents from the Nigerian Police, the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) National Central Bureau, Abuja, and Niger.

Maina has been brought to Abuja, the Nigerian capital, and is currently been held in a police facility.

He will be interrogated before being handing over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) for remand in Kuje Custodial facility.

The Commissioner of Police, Interpol NCB, Garba Umar, reportedly confirmed Maina’s extradition.

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Trial Of Former Liberia Rebel Leader, Kosiah, Begins In Switzerland

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Alieu Kosiah, a former commander of the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO) faction, on Thursday, appeared before a court in Switzerland over war crimes charges.

ULIMO, a rebel group that participated in the First Liberian Civil War, fought against the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), led by Charles Taylor.

The war is noted for its brutality.

Kosiah is accused of sexual violence, murder, cannibalism, recruitment of child soldiers and forcing civilians to work in cruel conditions, which he denies.

After the war, Kosiah fled to Switzerland, where he was arrested in 2014 after evidence emerged of his alleged involvement in the deliberate killing of civilians, sexual violence and acts of cannibalism.

Kosiah denies the charges.

The case marks the first time war crimes charges are being heard by a civil court in Switzerland.

His lawyer claimed that he was not in the Liberia’s Lofa county at the time when the alleged crimes were committed there.

Mr Kosiah’a trial had been scheduled to begin earlier this year but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

His alleged victims will not be able to testify due to Covid-19 restrictions and are expected to do so next year.

The civil war, which lasted from 1989 until 2003, led to the deaths of nearly 250,000 people, often at the hands of child soldiers.

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Ghana to Bury Ex-President Rawlings December 23

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Jerry Rawlings calls for review of Ghana's constitution

The remains of deceased former President of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings, will be buried on December 23, his family has said.

James Victor Gbeho, Head of the funeral planning committee, in a press release on Monday, said the family, in consultation with government, has agreed on the date.

The funeral rites for the 73-year-old will come off at the Independence Square in Accra.

Mr Gbeho said, “The family is working in conjunction with government on the finer details of the funeral ceremony and will communicate the arrangements in due course.”

Rawlings, Ghana’s longest-serving head of state and founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), died on 12 November at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra after a short illness.

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