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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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South Africa: Opposition, DA want findings on alleged arms supply to Russia public

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South African opposition party, the Democratic Alliance has vowed to challenge the decision by the presidency to keep from the public, findings from recent arm supply allegations.

The follows allegations by United States Ambassador, Reuben Brigety that South Africa provided ammunition to Russia by ship. Brigety said the US was sure that contrary to its public claim of being non-aligned in the Russia/Ukraine crisis, South Africa supplied arms to Vladimir Putin’s army in December.

Following the allegation, President Ramaphosa launched an investigation to be conducted by an independent body which will be led by retired Deputy Justice Phineas Mojapelo, advocate Leah Gcabashe, and former justice minister Enver Surty. Meanwhile, his spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya said the government would withhold the panel’s findings.

Magwenya said the terms of reference for the inquiry would not be gazetted or published.

“The investigation covers issues of national security and classified information, which is protected from disclosure,” he said.

“This inquiry has been instituted in a similar manner to the inquiry that investigated the July 2021 riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng and the value of its report remains unchallenged.

“The panel will be supported in gathering the information that is necessary to fulfil its mandate by letters from the president instructing all relevant government entities as identified by the panel to cooperate fully with the panel or face disciplinary sanction,” he said.

“The work of the panel will not be public, nor will its report be made public. The president will speak to any actions that may result with respect to national security. This is provided for within our secrecy laws as per the nature of this matter,” he added.

In a statement, the DA said it would not ” leave this secrecy unchallenged. We have already submitted an application under the Promotion of Access to Information Act to obtain a copy of the panel’s terms of reference. And we are obtaining legal advice to challenge Ramaphosa’s plan to hide the report once it is complete.”

The party leader, John Steenhuisen argued that keeping the report private “undermines the ability of prosecutors and the public to hold guilty parties accountable for any such violations of the law”.

“Hiding this report from public view will rob the people of South Africa – and of the world – of the opportunity to see the full facts of this matter.

“Refusing to disclose the complete picture of how the ANC-led government allegedly smuggled weapons to arm Russia’s war in Ukraine and various parts of Africa will also undermine the very purpose of the investigation.”

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Zimbabwe’s electoral commission, ZEC promises to publicise voters’ register

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The electoral commission in Zimbabwe said it would soon publish the voters’ register for the forthcoming general elections.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) also assured the public of a fair election and promised to rectify anomalies that were observed during the voters’ inspection exercise.

The head of ZEC, Utloile Silaigwana made the position known when he announced the end of the mop-up voter registration exercise on Friday.

Silaigwana further revealed that the Nomination court would sit on 21 June and thereafter the voters’ roll would be accessible to candidates.

There are contentions about the neutrality of the electoral commission. In March, a member of the opposition party, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Allan Markham filed a court application challenging ZEC for access to the electronic voters’ roll but had his request rejected because “it was too risky” and in the interest of data protection.

Meanwhile, the ruling party, Zanu PF sent text messages to registered voters during the period urging them to vote for President Emmerson Mnangagwa. This move further fuelled the allegation that Zanu PF had access to the voters’ roll which is why it was able to send the messages.

President Mnangagwa is running for re-election to a second term after coming to power following a military coup that dislodged Robert Mugabe as Zimbabwe’s president in 2017.

The country is struggling with deep poverty, recurring power outages, and crippling unemployment, all of which have fuelled widespread resentment.

The President of Zimbabwe is elected using a two-round system. The Zimbabwean legislature is made up of 270 members of the National Assembly, 210 members elected in single-member constituencies, and 60 women elected by proportional representation in ten six-seat constituencies based on the country’s provinces.

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