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Mali opposition leader ‘categorically rejects’ vote result. Is chaos imminent?

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The main opposition candidate in Mali’s contested elections said on Thursday he “categorically rejects” the results of the presidential run-off that handed a second term to Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Former minister Soumaila Cisse, 68, who has slammed the August 12 run-off as marred by fraud, picked up 32.84% of the vote according to the official count, compared to 67.16% for Keita.

“I categorically and unequivocally reject the results proclaimed by the Constitutional Court. Therefore, I do not recognise the president that it declared,” Cisse said at a news conference in his first public reaction to the declaration of the final results on Monday.

Though Mali has experienced a rare glimmer of stability, voter turnout was dampened by security fears.

Long heralded as an oasis of stability in the turbulent Sahel region, Mali is slipping back into chaos. A combustible mix of political, communal, criminal and extremist violence once confined to the desert northern regions is metastasizing, spreading to the country’s interior.

Keita, 73, who will begin his second five-year term on September 4, called for Cisse to accept the result.

Read Also: Zambia’s Finance Minister serving as president: Here is why

“It would be appropriate and desirable that here and now my young brother Soumaila Cisse takes the hand I extend to him and accept reality and not delusion,” Keita said in Mauritania’s capital Nouakchott, his first trip since his re-election.

“IBK did not forced the hand of Malians, did not stuff ballot boxes as it is said,” he added, referring to himself by his initials, as his is universally known.

He was re-elected despite fierce criticism of failures to tackle jihadist violence and ethnic tensions that have rocked the impoverished Sahel state.

But the Constitutional Court rejected his petition against the result as being inadmissible or unsupported by evidence.

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Like Mali, Burkina Faso junta suspends France’s RFI radio over broadcast of militant speech

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West African country, Burkina Faso, has gone the way of its neighbour, Mali, as its ruling junta has suspended the broadcast of France’s RFI radio.

The suspension comes after what the junta said were false reports and giving voice to Islamist militants, a statement from the government said on Saturday.

According to a statement by the radio station, “RFI strongly deplores this decision and protests against the totally unfounded accusations calling into question its professionalism,” State-owned Radio France Internationale, usually referred to as RFI.

The statement added that the decision to suspend its broadcasting was made without prior notice and without the implementation of the procedures put in place by Burkina Faso’s communications regulator.

The ruling junta which came into power in a recent coup in September accused the RFI also repeated a press report – which it denied – that Burkina Faso’s President Captain Ibrahim Traore, who seized power in a coup in September, had said there had been an attempted coup trying to unseat him.

Burkina Faso’s neighbour, Mali, under military reign, suspended broadcasts by French state-funded international news outlets RFI and France 24 amid accusations of reporting “false allegations”.

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Tunisian labour union, UGTT threatens political disruption as elections draws near

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As the North African country, Tunisia braces up for elections, labour union, UGTT has threatened not to disrupt proceedings under the current political arrangement.

UGTT attacked president Saied political and economic agenda on Saturday, including the elections scheduled for this month. The union said that it will no longer accept what it called a threat to democracy in its clearest challenge to him yet.

UGTT’s leader Noureddine Taboubi said in a speech to thousands of supporters, the union will ” no longer accept the current path because of its ambiguity and individual rule, and the unpleasant surprises it hides for the fate of the country and democracy.”

“We will not hesitate to defend rights and freedoms whatever the cost,” he added, in his strongest criticism yet of the president.

“We will not abide by secret agreements the government has with the International Monetary Fund and the workers will stand up to it,” Taboubi said.

Taboubi said the December election would “have no colour and taste” as a result of Saied’s constitution and that the vote lacked national unanimity.

President Kais Saied hinted that the country will not accept foreign observers for the planned elections for later this year.

There have been protests for and against president Saied’s approach to governance of the Tunisian public.

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