Nigeriens vote in the ongoing presidential elections while Touadera emerges winner in CAR

As a continuation of what is an election year in Africa, Niger held its presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday amidst much tension. Vote counts are currently being compiled in the West African country. President Mahamadou Issoufou is contesting for a second term in office, while his closest contender is in prison for child trafficking charges. Issoufou’s main campaign promise to the people of Niger is to put an end to Boko Haram attacks in the nation. In view of this, there was tight security around the nation for fear of major terrorist attacks during the elections. Niger along with neighbouring Nigeria and Chad have been the scene of some of the deadliest attacks by Boko Haram. Its Borders with these countries were closed when voting began.

Voters admitted that they have never experienced such a tense election in Niger. Many accused the president of repression, with one voter saying “”These are not free and fair elections. We have one presidential candidate in prison who has not been able to campaign”. The said candidate, Hama Amadou was jailed in November last year for his alleged involvement in a baby-trafficking ring. However, that has not deterred his supporters as many of them believe he has gained much popularity simply because he’s behind bars. While vote counting has begun in some areas where voting took place yesterday, voting continues today, from 8 am to 7 pm in areas that were not able to vote yesterday. The vote counting is expected to end in the next five days, with a possibility of second round of elections.

Meanwhile, former Central African Republic (CAR) prime minister Faustin-Archange Touadera won at the second round of elections that held on the 14th of February in the CAR. According to the country’s electoral commission, Touadera defeated Anicet-Georges Dologuele, a former prime minister too, garnering 62.71% of votes. Both candidates contested in the second round of elections after they  garnered the highest number of votes in the first round. There were wide spread jubilations on the streets of the capital, a contrast to what has been happening for the past three years in the country. Following the announcement of his win, Touadera has called for the people of CAR to support him in his search for reconciliation and disarmament for the country.

Meanwhile, Dologuele who had said before that the elections were not free and fair has conceded defeat and promised not to go to court over the results. He also promised to support the new leader. Many analysts predicted that the results of the election will go a long way in depicting the future of the nation. And going by the words of some of the people, they seem to have been right. “It’s the central African people who have won tonight,…Now we all need to rally behind (Touadera) to rebuild the country,” a motorcycle taxi driver said. A ruling from CAR’s Constitutional court is still required to make the results final.

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