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Tunisian interior minister, Taoufik Charfeddine, resigns over family reasons

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Amidst a crackdown on prominent opposition figures in the country, Tunisian Interior Minister, Taoufik Charfeddine has resigned due to family reasons.

Charfeddine, who at one stage was seen as the closest Tunisian official to the president but had in recent months appeared less frequently in public referred to the death of his wife last year and his need to look after his children while speaking to reporters in comments broadcast on local media.

President Kais Saied is however yet to announce a replacement for Charfeddine.

Recall that the relationship between the minister who had also served as interior minister under Prime Minister Mechichi went bad to the point that he was sacked in January 2021 but current president Saied reappointed him after dismissing Mechichi and seizing most powers.

Tunisian authorities in recent weeks have detained prominent opposition figures who accuse Saied of a coup, charging them with conspiring against state security.

Since the beginning of his sit-tight reign, President Saied has sacked the government, suspended parliament, and seized a string of powers in July 2021.

Since 2021 when he dismissed the government of Hichem Mechichi, he has also moved to rule by decree before writing a new constitution that he passed last year.

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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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Guinea-Bissau holds parliamentary elections after year-long break

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Elections into the parliament of Guinea-Bissau have been held on Sunday after over a year since President Umaro Sissoco Embalo dissolved the House over accusations of corruption.

Over 20 political parties and coalitions, including the former ruling PAIGC party and its rival MADEM G15 presented candidates for various constituencies across the country.

The country’s parliament, known as the National People’s Assembly, is made up of 102 members who are chosen in two ways: 100 by closed-list proportional representation from 27 multi-member constituencies and two by single-member constituencies representing expatriate citizens in Africa and Europe.

The majority party or coalition appoints the government under the current political system, but the president has the authority to dismiss it in certain circumstances. In the past, this has led to political gridlock and infighting.

The Prime Minister, Nuno Gomes Nabiam, while commenting on the strength of diversity of the country and the likely inclusive parliament that could follow the elections, noted that “there will be no winner with an absolute majority in these elections. It is impossible.”

“No party is ready to govern Guinea-Bissau alone, ” Nabiam said.

Guinea Bissau’s path to stability has been difficult, as it has been for many other countries in the West African sub-region. Since its independence from Portugal in 1974, the country has seen coups or attempted coups despite elections.

In February 2022, gunmen stormed a government compound where President Embalo was holding a cabinet meeting, attempting to stage a coup. The incident was later linked by the presidency to the country’s thriving drug trade.

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