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Over 75% Of Eligible Voters Participate In Seychelles’ General Elections

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No fewer than 75 per cent of eligible voters across Seychelles’ three main islands participated in the islandic nation’s presidential and National Assembly elections on Saturday.

Counting of ballot papers has started and the results are expected in the early morning of Sunday.

The island nation’s 75,000 eligible voters chose among three candidates running for President: Wavel Ramkalawan of Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS), Danny Faure of United Seychelles (US) and Alain St Ange of One Seychelles.

Four parties and two independent candidates are contesting for a seat in the National Assembly, the island nation’s legislative body. LDS and US have candidates in all the 26 electoral districts while One Seychelles and Lalyans have 18 and three candidates respectively

At 6 p.m. local time, 56,968 people had cast their ballots in 26 electoral districts of the archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, which represents 76.3 percent of the eligible voters.

The electoral officer in charge of the polling station at Beau Vallon, Andy Juliette, told SNA that he is very satisfied with the way voting went, saying almost 80 percent people had cast their votes.

There were 3,421 eligible voters in the district of Beau Vallon.

“We got a higher turnout in the morning. We were very busy and people were queuing even outside the station to vote. In general, we are very happy with the turnout and we are very satisfied that we have been able to manage our time, closing the station exactly at 7 p.m.,” said Juliette.

The chief electoral officer, Manuella Amesbury, told journalists that “now that the stations are closed, the staff will need to refresh and then counting will start with the polling agents.”

She said that the main voting day was satisfactory in general because “we saw that voting went fast and even faster than we expected.”

One of the main issues that arose was a shortage of ballot papers in some polling stations.

“We had planned to have a top up of ballots at around 5 p.m because we expected ballot papers to diminish at this time… but we saw that this happened a lot earlier than we expected,” said Amesbury.

She said that since the Commission was in contact with all stations they were able to organise for more ballot papers to be dispatched where needed.

Amesbury said that the elections did not go smoothly but this was mainly due to the new amendments made in procedures for election and the Commission had to adapt to the changes.

The last presidential election in Seychelles in December 2015 went into a second round, and the then incumbent President James Michel of Parti Lepep secured a third and final mandate winning 50.15 percent of the total votes cast.

Michel won 31,512 of the votes while his opponent the Seychelles National Party (SNP) leader Wavel Ramkalawan won 31, 319 or 49.85 percent of the votes. Only 193 votes separate the two candidates.

The Linyon Demokratik Seselwa won a majority votes in 15 of the 25 constituencies contested, in the legislative election in September 2016. The ruling Parti Lepep now United Seychelles, took the remaining 10. It was the first time since the return of multiparty democracy in Seychelles in 1993 that the ruling Parti Lepep lost its majority in parliament.

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Kenya Planning To Destabilise Somalia, Minister Alleges

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Osman Abukar Dubbe, the Minister for Information Culture & Tourism of The Federal Republic of Somalia, has accused neighbouring Kenya of plotting to destabilise his country as it prepares for general elections.

Dubbe accused Kenya of political interference and hosting opposition leaders in Nairobi.

Politicians from Somalia’s southern Jubbaland regional state were among those who have previously held meetings in Nairobi amid discussions over Somalia’s 2020/2021 elections.

Speaking during a press conference broadcast live on the Facebook page of the state TV, Dubbe said, “We respect Kenya, appreciate our neighbourliness and mutual interest. On our side, we always uphold these principles. However, Kenya seems not to be interested in that but rather wants to pursue an inappropriate daydream and is a state focused on ambitions to pursue taking the Somali land and waters.

“Mogadishu has never hosted a single opposition politician from Kenya, who want to create tension in our neighbours, but instead, Nairobi has become a base where attacks on Somalia are launched from. It has become the base where agreements reached inside Somalia are violated.

“(Nairobi) has become a place where plans to cause political tensions intended to destabilise the emerging governance in our country… That is why we had recalled our ambassador from Nairobi for consultation,” the information minister said.

Dubbe also said al-Shabab seized territories in southern Somalia after the Kenyan Defence Forces that are part of AU Mission in Somalia (Amisom) withdrew from strategic towns in the region.

“After the Kenyan forces withdrew from the towns without informing anybody they were seized (by al-Shabab). Imagine the problems the Somali people who lived there experienced. Is that something we can ignore. Go and ask the residents in Fahfadhun what had happened to them,” the minister told reporters in Mogadishu.

On Monday 30 November, the Somali federal government recalled its ambassador to Nairobi and asked Kenya’s ambassador to Mogadishu “to depart for consultations”.

The Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied reports that it is interfering in Somalia’s internal and political affairs.

Relations between Kenya and Somalia have been marred in recent years largely due to a maritime dispute over a 150,000 square kilometre area in the Indian Ocean rich in oil and gas deposits.

According to the National Electoral Commission, Somalia will hold presidential elections on February 8, 2021, which will be preceded by legislative elections from December 1 to 27, 202.

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Uganda Presidential Election: Bobi Wine Resumes Campaign Tomorrow

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Bobi Wine, the candidate of the National Unity Platform (NUP) in the forthcoming Ugandan presidential election, has said he will resume campaigning on Thursday.

Bobi Wine, a former reggae musician whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, said this after a meeting with the electoral commission on Wednesday.

He told reporters that he had asked the electoral body to protect opposition politicians from harassment by the security forces.

The 38-year-old had requested a meeting with the Electoral Commission chairman, Simon Byabakama after police blocked him from holding a campaign rally at Budondo sub-county headquarters in Jinja city.

Security operatives were also said to have fired live bullets at Bobi Wine and some of his supporters. A bullet was said to have hit the tyres of the presidential candidate’s car.

Kyagulanyi told journalists that since he started his campaign, security personnel have continued to harass him and the Electoral Commission has remained silent on the matter.

“I have been forced to think that the electoral commission has lost track of this race and left us to be tormented and disrespected by security organs which are meant to be protecting us,” he said on Tuesday.

At the meeting, Bobi Wine told Byabakama to ensure that the security forces stop blocking roads and venues to prevent opposition candidates from campaigning.

The police have repeatedly defended themselves, saying they were implementing guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Uganda will hold its election in January 2021.

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Tigray Crisis: Top Official Linked To TPLF Surrenders – Ethiopian Govt

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The Ethiopian government said on Tuesday that the former speaker of the House of Federation, Keria Ibrahim, who was one of the top officials of Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) has surrendered.

Ibrahim is one of nine executive committee members of TPLF, whose forces have been fighting government troops for the past month.

She served as speaker of the House of Federation, Ethiopia’s upper parliamentary chamber, before resigning in June after the planned August election was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At the time, Ms Ibrahim accused Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of running a “dictatorial regime” and violating the constitution.

In September TPLF went on and held its local elections, a move that angered the Federal Government.

Mr Ahmed launched a military offensive in Tigray on 4th November, accusing TPLF leaders of treason after its fighters attacked a government military base.

The month-long conflict has killed hundreds and displaced thousands of people.

Despite the PM announcing over the weekend that the military campaign was over and successful, fighting is reportedly still ongoing in parts of Tigray region.

It has been difficult to verify claims from the Federal and Tigray regional governments because communication is heavily hampered.

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