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What next for Africa’s opposition as former Vice President Boakai unseats incumbent Weah in Liberia 



An incumbent president has lost an election in Africa, a rare ray of hope for Africa’s struggling opposition.

In Liberia, West Africa, the country’s president, George Weah, has been defeated by an opposition leader, Joseph Boakai, after a tight race for the country’s top job.

The election ends Weah’s era, which has been marred by graft allegations, while also notably helping to ensure a smooth transition of power in the once volatile nation, as the president conceded defeat on Friday.


Weah said on national radio, “I spoke with president-elect Joseph Boakai a few moments ago to congratulate him on his victory.


“I urge you to follow my example and accept the results of the elections.”


Other contenders in the election were Nathaniel Barnes, a former Liberian ambassador to the United States; Clarence Moniba, and Alexander B. Cummings Jr., who finished fifth in the 2017 presidential election, among others.


The Liberian President is elected using a two-round system, while the 73 members of the House of Representatives are elected by first-past-the-post voting in single-member constituencies.


The outcome is a sharp contrast to the 2017 election when Boakai was defeated by global football legend, Weah, who garnered 62% of the vote. Unfortunately, some Liberians have become discouraged by continued poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, and inadequate electricity supply.


Boakai’s win also marks the highpoint in a long career, much of it spent within touching distance of power, including 12 years as vice president under Weah’s predecessor, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. He lost in a run-off vote to Weah in 2017.


The victory of the 78-year-old leader of the Liberia National Union, Boakai, spotlights electoral evolution in the continent, as it is unusual to unseat a president in a continent with the unsavoury tag of having the longest-serving president in the world.


While opposition parties have merged in the bid to defeat ruling parties elsewhere, like in Nigeria in 2013, in Gabon earlier this year, and more recently during the week in the Democratic Republic of the Congo ahead of next month’s presidential election, veteran Boakai has defied the odds to become Liberia’s top man without such mergers. It is yet to be seen if he will sustain popularity or run out of gas like the outgoing Weah.


Close watchers of Africa’s opposition politics will wait to see if Boakai’s victory represents a continent-wide bellwether or just another occasional outlier.


Seychelles declares emergency following explosion, flooding



Officials in the Seychelles have confirmed that a blast at an explosives store wrecked buildings and caused massive damage to an industrial zone.

The explosion has prompted the president, Wavel Ramkalawan, to declare a state of emergency on Thursday.

The president called for a minute of silence on Thursday after telling reporters that the blast rocked the island and caused flooding due to heavy rains. Three people died as a result.

National television footage showed streets strewn with uprooted trees buried in deep mud and covered in debris.

“Following an explosion at the CCCL explosives store that has caused massive damage to the Providence Industrial area and the surrounding areas and major destruction caused by flooding due to heavy rains, the President has declared a state of emergency for today, December 7th,” President Wavel Ramkalawan’s office said in a statement.

“Everyone is being asked to stay at home. All schools will be closed. Only workers in the essential services and persons travelling will be allowed free movement.”

Tourists can still use the international airport and the ferries that travel between the islands, according to the government’s official social media.

Comprising 115 islands, the Seychelles is the least populous country in Africa, home to only 100,000 people.

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Mauritania: Ex-president Abdel Aziz jailed for 5 years



A former president of Mauritania , Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, has been found guilty, and sentenced frollowokg a trial.

He was arraigned on money laundering and “illicit enrichment” charges.

Abdel Aziz was on Tuesday sentenced to five years in prison for the offences which were said to have been committed during his decade-long reign as the leader of the West African country. He was found guilty of two of the ten charges against him by the court late on Monday, after it looked into claims of corruption and misappropriation of public funds.

However, some of Abdel Aziz’s associates who had also been on trial, including two former prime ministers, were acquitted.

The decision was described as “a political verdict targeting a man and his family” by one of his solicitors, but his conviction, according to the prosecution, was historic.

Although Abdel Aziz was succeeded in 2019 by a political ally, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, who remains president, his government however quickly came under scrutiny over actions, including deals on offshore oil projects.

Abdel Aziz’s conviction is the biggest against high profile public servants in the country. The former military leader has the option of appealing his sentence at the Supreme Court.

According to Transparency International, Mauritania scored 30 points out of 100 on the 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index. The country averaged 28.00 points from 2006 until 2022, reaching an all-time high of 31.00 Points in 2006, having hit a record low of 23.00 Points in 2010.

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