When Constantino Chiwenga, Zimbabwe's vice-president and health minister, suspended by-elections in October 2020 citing Statutory Instrument ... (SI) 225A as a means to curb Covid-19, many believed a new date would be set. Instead, the government has remained silent on the matter, with many wondering if this is truly a measure to control the pandemic, or a strategy by the ruling Zanu PF to stop the MDC Alliance from winning back seats it lost after the recall by its breakaway party, the MDC-T.
After a very long wait, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) finally announced the provisional official results of the Ivorian presidential election at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, November 3, after having been sifting through them since Sunday, department by department, in waves interspersed with long breaks.
94.27% of the votes
While the election of Saturday, October 31 was marked by the “active boycott” of the opposition, it is no surprise that the outgoing president, Alassane Ouattara, was re-elected for a third term. According to the IEC, he obtained 94.27% of the vote.
The participation rate, a key metric for observers, is 53.9%.
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The only candidate to have campaigned against Alassane Ouattara, Kouadio Konan Bertin, a dissident of the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI) who was running as an independent, won 1.99% of the votes.
Pascal Affi N’Guessan, of the Ivorian People’s Front (FPI), and Henri Konan Bédié, of the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI), who had called on their supporters to “refrain from participating both in the distribution of electoral cards and in the electoral campaign” and to “prevent the holding of any operation related to the vote”.
The aim of the opposition FPI and PDCI boycott was to protest the candidacy of Alassane Ouattara for a third term they consider unconstitutional. They respectively won 0.99% and 1.66%.
“National Transition Council”.
Early Monday evening, they announced the creation of a “National Transitional Council” to “prepare the framework for the organization of the presidential election fair, transparent and inclusive”, “establish (…) a transitional government”, and “convene the national conference for national reconciliation with a view to restoring lasting peace in Côte d’Ivoire”.
The day after Sunday’s vote, they had denounced “a sham election”.
And while Côte d’Ivoire was still waiting for the election results, around 10 p.m., tear gas and flash grenades were simultaneously fired in front of the homes of several opposition leaders, including Henri Konan Bédié, where, shortly before midnight, about fifty young people stood guard.
“Heavy weapons fired”
“We heard explosions that shook the wall of the house, eight in total. People outside said they saw CRS cargo ships,” described a relative of the former president, who said that timing which coincided “with the announcement of the Transition Council is troubling.”
On social networks, Henri Konan Bédié spoke of “shots with heavy weapons”.
Ma résidence a été attaquée par des tirs à l’arme lourde. Simultanément, les résidences des membres de l’opposition — Assoa Adou, @atmabri et @p_affi — ont également été attaquées. #CIV2020 #CIV225 #CIV
— Henri Konan Bédié (@HKBofficiel) November 3, 2020
Identical scenes were observed outside the homes of Albert Toikeusse Mabri, president of the Union for Democracy and Peace (UPDCI), a member of the opposition coalition whose candidacy had been rejected by the Constitutional Council, and Assoa Adou, secretary general of the FPI close to Laurent Gbagbo and Pascal Affi N’Guessan. All of them denounced “attacks”.
Tension has therefore reached a new level. The election day itself saw incidents, particularly in the center and south of the country. Four people died in clashes in Tiébissou, one in Botro and another in Yamoussoukro.
The next day, four members of the same family perished in a fire in their home on the sidelines of demonstrations in Toumodi, nearly 200 kilometers from the Ivorian economic capital.
The joint observation mission of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) and the Carter Foundation found that “the political and security context did not allow for a competitive and credible election” and considered that the election left “a fractured country.
The Ivorian NGO Indigo, which had deployed nearly 1,000 observers in 750 polling stations throughout the country, noted that “the election was marred by violence and did not favor the massive and serene expression of the population.
The National Council for Human Rights (CNDH), on the other hand, believes that “except for a few incidents reported in some areas, the elections were conducted honestly in acceptable conditions and in serenity thanks to the involvement of the security forces deployed for the security of the elections,” according to its president, Namizata Sangaré.
Côte d’Ivoire has not finished waiting while the tensions between the opposition and the majority are particularly strong. In a few days, the results of the election must indeed be submitted for validation to the Constitutional Council.
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