The Southern African Development Community (SADC) electoral observer mission will virtually observe the conduct of elections in Seychelles and Tanzania, an official has said.
Botswana’s Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, Lemogang Kwape, who will be leading the two missions, disclosed this on Wednesday.
Kwape was appointed this week by President Mokgweetsi Masisi as the incumbent Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.
Kwape’s appointment was in accordance with the regional bloc’s revised guidelines governing democratic elections.
“Our virtual observations will focus on the pre and post-elections periods which include the final stretch campaigns, voting day and the process of counting of the ballot papers,” said Kwape.
Seychelles will hold its presidential and national assembly elections from Oct. 22 to Oct. 24, while general elections of Tanzania will take place on Oct. 28.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and health protocols in the region, the observer missions will only consist of representatives from the SADC Organ Troika member states.
The member states including Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe as well as members of the SADC Electoral Advisory Council.
These representatives will be supported by the SADC Secretariat, according to a statement released by Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation early this week.
Seychelles Begins Presidential, National Assembly Elections
The Republic of Seychelles on Thursday began voting in the country’s presidential and National Assembly elections.
The polls will last three days.
Three men – Wavel Ramkalawan from the Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS), Danny Faure, the incumbent president of United Seychelles (US) and Alain St Ange of One Seychelles – are seeking election into the islandic nation’s presidency
Voting is taking place on some outer islands and five special stations on the main island of Mahe: one at the Old People’s Home at North East Point, one for remandees at the Remand Centre at Bois De Rose, one at English River creche, one at Baie Lazare community centre and one at the quarantine centre at Beau Vallon Bay.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, the chief electoral officer, Manuella Amesbury, said all logistics have been set up for the first day of voting.
“A lot of emphases has been placed on the preparation taking into account the COVID-19 pandemic. We got the help of the Department of Health to set up COVID-19 procedures. We want a credible and safe election,” said Amesbury.
A special station at English River crèche will be used by voters working in essential services who will be at work on the main election day and voters who will be travelling on October 22-24.
The chief executive of the Public Utilities Corporation (PUC), Philip Morin, said that starting from Friday “more surveillance will be put in place in the voting stations to ensure that there is no mistake. Outside the station, we have inspected different zones that will supply the stations with electricity to detect if there is any problem.”
Morin added that PUC is also putting generators in all districts and “this means if there is no electricity we can use the backup generators. We are also placing electrical and water engineers.”
The second day, Friday, voting will take place on Astove, Assomption, Aldabra, Ile aux Vache, Denis and Fregate islands and at special stations on the main island of Mahe.
The main voting day will be on Saturday October 24 where voters will cast their ballots in the three most populated islands of Seychelles, Mahe, Praslin and La Digue from 7 a.m to 7 p.m.
Four parties and two independent candidates will vie for a seat in the National Assembly, the island nation’s legislative body. Linyon Demokratik Seselwa and United Seychelles have candidates in all the twenty-six electoral districts. One Seychelles and Lalyans Seselwa have 18 and three candidates respectively.
The district with the highest number of registered voters remains Anse Etoile with 4,064 while Roche Caiman has the smallest number with 1,990. A new voting district Perseverance has 3,083 registered voters.
The last presidential election in Seychelles took place in December 2015 and the National Assembly election in September 2016.
Somalia’s President Farmaajo Urges US To Keep Troops In Country
Following reports President Donald Trump may remove US military presence from Somalia, the East African country’s leader has urged the American government to shelve the plan.
Somalian President Mohamed Farmaajo in a series of tweets on Friday sought to continue security cooperation with the U.S.
Earlier this week, media reports indicated that U.S. President Donald Trump had expressed the desire to withdraw U.S. troops from Somalia.
This will allow Trump to keep his campaign promises and return servicemen back home.
“The U.S. military support to Somalia has enabled us to effectively combat Al-Shabab and secure the Horn of Africa.
“A victory through this journey and for Somali-U.S. partnership can only be achieved through continuous security partnership and capacity building support,” Farmaajo said on Twitter.
The U.S. military has about 700 troops in Somalia – mostly from Special Operations forces – who have been helping local authorities to fight against Al-Shabab terrorist group.
Al-Shabab emerged in Somalia in 2006 and has been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks throughout the region.
Al-Shabab has sworn allegiance to the Al-Qaeda terror group, which is banned in Russia.
In 2019, a report emerged that the U.S. was planning to reduce its military presence in the African country and reduce the intensity of airstrikes against Al-Shabab.
Kenyan Lawmaker To Face Murder Charge Over Election Violence
A Kenyan lawmaker will face prosecution on murder and assault charges over the killing of a man and injury of several other people during the Ganda Ward by-election in 2019.
The East African country’s Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) approved the charges against Malindi Member of Parliament, Aisha Jumwa, on Wednesday.
The lawmaker will be charged alongside her aide, Geoffrey Okuto Otieno.
The two are now set to undergo mental assessments next Wednesday before being charged in court.
The man was shot dead in a scuffle between rival Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party supporters in Ganda Ward in Malindi, Kilifi County, in October last year.
The incident occurred after Jumwa reportedly stormed a meeting of ODM agents at a house belonging to Reuben Katana, the ODM candidate and eventual winner of the by-election.
Jumwa allegedly demanded to know why such a meeting would be held at night after the campaign period had lapsed.
A scuffle ensued between her supporters and those of the candidate and the police fire teargas. One person was shot dead and several others injured.
Gumbao Jola, 48, died upon arrival at Malindi General Hospital. He was Katana’s uncle.
MP Jumwa was on October 16, 2019 arrested at her home in Kakuyuni, Malindi, over the incident before later being released.
Ms Jumwa denies being involved in the murder.
She says she was at the scene of the scuffle but insists she left, on the advice of the police, before the fatal shooting.
The murder charges come a few months after Jumwa was freed on Sh5 million bond after pleading not guilty to six counts of money laundering, acquiring proceeds of a crime, conflict of interest as well as fraud.
Jumwa, alongside six other people and a company, was accused of defrauding the Malindi CDF of Sh19 million.
The money was allegedly misappropriated during the construction of a school building.
She faced two charges of acquiring proceeds of a crime.
Jumwa was accused of receiving Sh2.5 million in her Cooperative bank on September 12, 2018, and Sh900,000 on August 17, 2018, from Multserve Contractors Limited.
The legislator is also accused of money laundering by unlawfully disposing of funds received from the NG-CDF by concealing the two transactions.
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