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Mali opposition leader rejects election result as counting underway

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Malian opposition candidate Soumaila Cisse said on Monday he would reject the results of a presidential runoff marred by accusations of fraud, violence and low turnout, calling on the population “to rise up.”

Ballot counting was underway on Monday across the vast West African country after the vote Sunday saw one poll worker killed and hundreds of stations closed due to insecurity.

“The fraud is proven, this is why there are results we will not accept,” Cisse said at his party’s headquarters in Bamako.

“I call on all Malians to rise up… We will not accept the dictatorship of fraud,” he added.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, 73, is the clear frontrunner in a reprise of his 2013 faceoff against former finance minister Cisse, 68.

But Cisse’s team and other opposition contenders have repeatedly accused the government of fraud, including ballot-box stuffing and vote buying.

However the African Union (AU) election observers said the voting was carried out “in acceptable conditions,” in a preliminary report published Monday.

Read Also: Rising tension in Ethiopia; Regional leader arrested, Internet shut down

At this stage there is “no tangible element” pointing towards voting irregulariities, the observers said, congratulating the Mali government for its efforts to improve the voting process and noting a drop in the number of untoward incidents in the second round of voting.

The European Union also said that in the 300 polling stations its observers visited, no “major incident” occurred.

Nearly 500 polling stations were unable to open on Sunday, the government said, mostly in regions plagued by jihadist violence and ethnic tensions.

“We had a little over 3.7 percent of stations which had not functioned properly” during the first round on July 29, Salif Traore, Mali’s security minister, said on Monday.

In the first-round vote on July 29, Keita was clearly ahead, with 42 percent against 18 percent for Cisse.

The three main opposition candidates had mounted a last-ditch legal challenge to the first-round result, alleging ballot-box stuffing and other irregularities.

But their petition was rejected by the Constitutional Court.

Politics

Court summons Tunisian opposition leader, Rached Ghannouchi, over money laundering

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Tunisian opposition party, Ennahda has revealed that its leader, Rached Ghannouchi has been summoned by a judge over money laundering allegations.

The party revealed news of his summon on Wednesday and accused the authorities of targeting him for political reasons.

The summon is said to answer questions about the allegations, which Ennahda say are untrue and a result of “distortion and fabrication”.

Recall that a court in Tunisia in May, slammed a travel ban on Ghannouchi, alongside 33 other party faithful under the suspicion of involvement in an alleged parallel security service put into place after the 2011 Tunisian revolution.

Ghannouchi has been one of the loudest critics of president Kais Saied since the president seized broad powers last year, moved to rule by decree and ousted the elected parliament in which the Ennahda leader is speaker.

President Saied sacked the government, suspended parliament, and seized a string of powers in July 2021. In December of the same year, he announced in a speech on national television a three-month “popular consultation” with the Tunisian people after which “draft constitutional and other reforms will be put forward to a referendum on July 25”.

Ghannouchi’s summon is not the first time the Judiciary since Saied came to power will take decision that is perceive by many to be targeted at the president’s rival.

In June, a Tunisian military court sentenced a prominent political opponent and rival of President Kais Saied, Seifeddine Makhlouf, to one year in prison and also banned him from practising law for five years.

President Saied’s seat-tight disposition has continued with controversial reforms despite criticisms and wild protests.

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Exiled former Burkina Faso’s president, Blaise Compaore, to return home

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Burkinabe authorities has revealed that former president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore will return from exile for the first time since being ousted in a 2014 uprising.

The junta led by Colonel Damiba made the revelation on Wednesday. Compaore will return home despite his conviction earlier this year for complicity in his predecessor’s murder.

Blaise Compaore was sentenced to life imprisonment by a military tribunal in April for the murder of his predecessor and ‘best friend’, Thomas Sankara, in a 1987 coup.

The statement from the presidency said the meeting of former heads of state “does not hinder judicial prosecutions engaged against some of them”, but did not elaborate.

An association of lawyers representing the families of Sankara and others killed during the 1987 coup demanded that Compaore be arrested once in Burkina Faso.

Local media have speculated in recent days that Compaore could be granted a pardon over the Sankara murder as part of the junta’s reconciliation process.

The coup that brought the current junta into power in Burkina Faso was launched on 23 January 2022 when gunfire erupted in front of the presidential residence in the Burkinabé capital Ouagadougou and several military barracks around the city.

The military Junta of Lieutenant-Colonel Damiba ceased power afterward and Christian Kabore has been on house arrest since then. Although fighting insurgency was one of the reasons for the last coup, Burkina Faso however remains in the eye of the storm with continuous terrorist attacks.

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