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African Women Solidarity Mission congratulates Kenyans successful election

African Women Solidarity Mission to Kenya would like to congratulate Kenyans on a successful election on 9th August 2022.

The Mission calls on all political stakeholders and the Kenyan people to remain calm and refrain from violence

While commending the elections which were democratic, the Mission calls on all political stakeholders and the Kenyan people to remain calm and refrain from violence. The Mission also urges Kenyans to demonstrate a high level of commitment toward advancing the democratic process in Kenya.

The country’s elections commission has announced after six days of counting, Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto has been elected as the country’s next President of Kenya with 50.49% of the vote.

The mission deployed by the African Women Leader’s Network and facilitated by the Office of AU Special Envoy on Women Peace and Security with support from the UNoAU, Mission aimed at supporting efforts by Kenyan women to promote women’s participation in leadership and conflict prevention for peaceful democratic elections.

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Kenya Decides: IEBC announce deputy president Ruto as election winner

Kenya’s electoral commission chairman has declared Deputy President William Ruto the winner of the close presidential election over five-time contender Raila Odinga, a triumph for the man who shook up politics by appealing to struggling Kenyans on economic terms and not on traditional ethnic ones.

However, chaos emerged just before the declaration when the electoral commission’s vice chair and three other commissioners told journalists they could not support the “opaque nature” of the final phase. “We cannot take ownership of the result that is going to be announced,” vice chair Juliana Cherera said. At the declaration venue, police surged to impose calm amid shouting.

The sudden split in the commission came minutes after Odinga’s chief agent said they could not verify the results and made allegations of “electoral offenses” without giving details or evidence. Odinga didn’t come to the venue for the declaration.

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Kenya Decides: Incoming Women Governors after August 2022 Election (See List)

Seven women have been declared winners in the August 2022 gubernatorial race across the country, a record number compared to the previous election.

Homa Bay governor In Homa Bay county, outgoing woman rep Gladys Wanga was declared the winner, beating former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero

Former Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) in the Ministry of Transport Wavinya Ndeti beat former State House Chief of staff Nzioka Waita in Machakos gubernatorial race. Below are the seven women who emerged victorious in the August 9 gubernatorial race in their respective counties.

1. Gladys Wanga Wanga clinched the victory by garnering 244,559 votes against her closest competitor, former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero who managed to get 154,182 votes. She becomes the first woman governor of Nyanza region. Wanga pledged to improve the economic well-being of Homa Bay residents.

2. Anne Waiguru Waiguru was declared the winner after defending her seat on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party ticket, garnering 113,088 votes. She beat the outgoing woman representative Wangui Ngirici who managed to get 105,677 votes.

3. Wavinya Ndeti Wavinya Ndeti was declared the winner in the Machakos gubernatorial race during the August 2022 General Election Ndeti trounced her competitor Nzioka Waita of the Chama Cha Uzalendo (UCC) party and other men in the race.

4. Kawira Mwangaza Kawira Mwangaza contested for the Meru governor race and won on an independent ticket. Mwangaza floured incumbent Kiraitu Murungi and UDA party’s Mithika Linturi. Kawira served Meru residents as a woman representative from 2017 to 2022.

5. Susan Kihika Nakuru senator Susan Kihika was declared the winner in the August 2022 gubernatorial race. Kihika garnered 440,797 votes against incumbent governor Lee Kinyanjui who polled 225,351 votes.

Kihika thanked Nakuru residents for believing in her and promised to serve them diligently. 6. Fatuma Achani Fatuma Achani was elected Kwale governor in the August 9 polls, after serving as governor Salim Mvuria’s deputy. She becomes the first woman governor of the coast region.

7. Cecily Mbarire In Emby county, nominated Member of Parliament (MP) Cecily Mbarire was declared governor-elect, becoming the first woman governor in Embu.

Mbarire, who contested on UDA ticket, garnered 108,610 votes in a tight race against Lenny Kivuti who got 105,246 votes.



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Politics: Zimbabwean women cries out over political threats, intimidation and violence,

Thokozile Dube was attacked by a gang of assailants who stormed her yard at twilight in Mawabeni community in Matabeleland South province, 480km (300 miles) away from the capital, Harare.

It was 10 days to the Zimbabwean parliamentary and local government by-elections in which she was representing the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) in a race for a council seat, the 61-year-old farmer said.

The men numbered almost 40 and arrived in two vehicles reportedly belonging to the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) candidate vying for the same position, she said.

“They parked just outside the gate and forced their way into my yard carrying stones and shouting obscenities,” Dube told Al Jazeera. “My tormentors were mostly youths under the orders of Silibaziso Nkala and other leaders in their party.”

It was a continuation of a pattern of intimidation, she said, from “the local ZANU-PF leadership, which had constantly dissuaded me from contesting in the polls”.

Towards gender parity

Zimbabwe, a deeply conservative country, has always recorded a lower percentage of women participating as candidates in elections since independence in 1980 compared with men, despite constituting more than half of the electorate and of the total 15 million people in the country.

Interestingly, in 2013, the Southern African country adopted a pro-gender equality constitution that stipulated the reservation of 60 seats from the current 270 in parliament. The seats are distributed among parties on proportional representation. But after next year’s general elections, the quota will officially expire and parliament will have only 210 seats.

Despite this quota system, an attempt to achieve equality and encourage women’s participation in national decision-making platforms, female participation in politics remains low.

Various stereotypes have been used to undermine their capability to be active in politics, analysts say. When not deemed too weak to lead, women are often presented as having loose morals or as mercenaries for the governing party or opposition.

Earlier this month, CCC spokeswoman Fadzayi Mahere approached the courts suing writer Edmund Kudzayi for alleging that she had been involved in an affair with a married man resulting in the breakdown of his marriage. Mahere is demanding $100,000 in damages.

Beyond cyberbullying, there have also been cases of physical intimidation of female politicians.

In the March 26 parliamentary by-elections, only 16 female candidates participated out of 118 candidates vying for 28 seats in the National Assembly. The local government polls saw 76 female candidates contest against 291 males for 118 seats. Only five female candidates won parliamentary seats while 18 made it to their respective councils.

And during the by-elections, at least six women were reportedly hurt or harassed.

Such incidents hinder women’s representation in politics, according to Sitabile Dewa, executive director of Harare-based Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE), which helps prepare women to run for public office.

And during the by-elections, at least six women were reportedly hurt or harassed.

Such incidents hinder women’s representation in politics, according to Sitabile Dewa, executive director of Harare-based Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE), which helps prepare women to run for public office.

“The reoccurrence of violence during elections has continuous negative ripple effects to the participation of women in electoral processes as the assumptions of an election being violent and intolerant of women are always evident,” Dewa, told Al Jazeera.

According to her, women have largely been on the receiving end of the political antagonism, which has seen a drop in their interest to participate actively in electoral processes.

From 2018 to date, WALPE  recorded 37 cases of women reportedly maimed, tortured, and even killed for political reasons.

In 2019, local comedian Samantha Kureya, popularly known as Gonyeti, was abducted and tortured by masked gunmen over her political satire. The next year, Joanna Mamombe, a sitting member of parliament, was arrested while protesting alongside youth leaders Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova, all of the CCC, before resurfacing tortured and disoriented after two days.

“Women are largely known for peace and unity so when a certain field, be it political or at home becomes violent they usually shy away,” says Linda Masarira, political activist and president of opposition Labour Economists and African Democrats (LEAD) party.

Masarira attributes the continuous significant decline in the number of women vying for seats at different levels in politics to various forms of violence, including cyberbullying.

Despite her vast experience in politics, the former trade unionist and human rights defender who landed behind bars for her role in the 2016 protests, says the attacks can be unbearable.

“As women, we go through body shaming, interrogation of our sexual lives among other forms of violence and we hardly see that happening to the male counterparts,” she said. “At some point, the physical attacks started affecting me to an extent that I actually had to have personal security moving with me.”

But not all female politicians, especially those in rural Zimbabwe, can afford to do that.

Panic mode

Prior to the attack on Dube, her homestead, tucked within the rocky valleys and thorny bushes of Mawabeni, had been a safe haven. But nowadays, when the entire estate becomes enveloped by the quiet after sunset, the widow and her two granddaughters – aged eight and 12 – go into panic mode. And there are nightmares too.

She remembers squatting next to the door before it was kicked open and being the only woman in the midst of men baying for her blood.

“They vandalized my property and said I was contaminating the community. I was numb the entire time,” she said, adding that they “promised to cut my throat”. That warning haunts her daily.

Dube reported the incident to the police but complained that they had been “dragging their feet” under the pretext of conducting investigations. A group of human rights lawyers has also taken the issue to the courts.

Women groups that have long been calling for true equality in all spheres of life in the country are once again asking for true safe spaces for women to exercise their civic rights. According to Dewa, mechanisms like the quota system have been mere appeasement for those loyal to male leadership instead of creating a nontoxic space for women to compete fairly.

“In order to increase the number of women participating in politics it is important that a safe environment be created for women to participate freely in democratic processes,” she said.

Jestina Mukoko, the director of Zimbabwe Peace Project – a local human rights monitoring group, agrees.

“The system is built to support men at the expense of women and this will continue unless practical action is taken to punish perpetrators,” she said. “There should be steps that deter people from repeating the perpetration of violence [but] the challenge that we have in our country is that those who perpetrate violence are actually rewarded at times.”

Mukoko, a victim of political violence, underwent psychosocial support for years since 2009 to manage the trauma but by her own admission such a “scar will never be erased”.

For Dube, the horror lingers but she has hope, albeit thin, that justice will take its course before her 2023 election campaign gets into motion.

“It would make me feel better if those criminals account for their actions because if not they might repeat it next year,” said Dube who is confident of winning her seat and bringing an end to the injustice in her community.

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Politics: Kenyan Opposition candidate Odinga promise to tackle corruption

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua continue to rally as the general election gets closer. In the central city of Murang’a, the pair tackled corruption, a major theme of these elections in a country where according to current president Uhuru Kenyatta, 2 billion Kenyan shillings are lost daily to this plague.

“As you have been told by my deputy Martha Karau, corruption is the worst enemy of Kenya. If you elect me, I will slay the monster.”, promised the presidential candidate in Murang’a. While his deputy presidential candidate Martha Karua said they vowed for a government that took “care of the resources of the country”.

The five-time candidate Odinga never reached the presidential seat. But this time around the 77-year-old veteran politician hopes for a different outcome after picking a female deputy who could become the first female deputy president. A historic and strategic choice that could draw the attention of Kenyan female voters who make up half of the registered voters.

The final campaign rallies should take place on August 6, three days before the elections on August 9

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#Osundecides: PDP’s Ademola Adeleke Wins Guber Election

Peoples Democratic Party Governorship candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, has won the Osun Governorship Election. He polled 403,371 votes.

Adeleke won in 17 of the 30 local government areas in the election conducted on Saturday.

His closest rival, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of the Peoples Democratic Party, polled 375,927 votes. Oyetola won in 13 local government areas..

Adeleke was declared winner and returned elected by the State Returning Officer, , at  7.18am Sunday

Details later…

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POLITICS: Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame to contest for fourth term

Rwanda’s leader, who has been in power for two decades, has said he would consider remaining in office for another 20 years.

In 2015 he changed the constitution, allowing him to stay until 2034.

In the last presidential election five years ago, official figures showed he won 99% of the vote, which many outside the country dismissed as a sham.

Asked if he would seek re-election, Mr Kagame said: “I would consider running for another 20 years. I have no problem with that.

“Elections are about people choosing.”

President Kagame fiercely defended Rwanda’s record on human rights at a Commonwealth summit in the capital Kigali in June.

Months earlier in April, the UK announced controversial plans to send some asylum seekers who reach its shores to Rwanda for processing there instead.

Mr Kagame himself came to power in 1994 after his rebel forces helped end the genocide.

Since then he has positioned himself as a champion of development, but his opponents say he maintains a tight grip over what is an authoritarian regime

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US commend ECOWAS over Action on Mali

The United States commends the strong actions taken by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in defense of democracy and stability in Mali following its Extraordinary Summit on January 9, 2022.

We also echo ECOWAS’s concern over the likely destabilizing impact of Russia-backed Wagner group forces in Mali

We share ECOWAS’s deep disappointment with the transition government of Mali’s lack of action or progress toward organizing elections, as it committed to do following the August 2020 coup d’état.  We support ECOWAS’s decision to impose additional economic and financial sanctions to urge the transition government to keep its pledge to the Malian people to return their country to democracy.

We also echo ECOWAS’s concern over the likely destabilizing impact of Russia-backed Wagner group forces in Mali.  As noted in the Department’s statement of December 15, 2021, these forces will not bring peace to Mali and will divert resources away from the Malian Armed Forces’ fight against terrorism.

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POLITICS: Adama Barrow wins Gambia presidential election

Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has secured his reelection with a comfortable margin over his opposition in a vote that set the bar for a new chapter in the small West African nation’s democracy.

Barrow won about 53% of the vote in Saturday’s election, according to results from the Independent Election Commission announced Sunday. He easily beat out his main contender Ousainou Darboe of the United Democratic Party who received about 28% of the vote according to VOANews.

This was the country’s first presidential election in decades that did not include former dictator Yahya Jammeh, who now lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea after losing the 2016 election and refusing to accept defeat.

The Chairman of the IEC, Alieu Mommar Njie, announced the results and prayed for peace to prevail in the nation of about 2.4 million people.

“I hereby declare Adama Barrow duly elected to serve as President of the Republic of The Gambia,” he said, after indicating that the National People’s Party (NPP) emerged victorious with 457,519 of the votes cast.

UDP’s Darboe was credited with 238,233 votes, and Mama Kandeh of the Gambia Moral Congress party came in third with 105,902 votes, according to results announced by the IEC.

Demba Sabally, who represented the NPP at Election House, said the presidential election was transparent and fair.

“Gambia is the winner of this election,” he added.

The results, however, have already been contested by four opposition leaders, including Darboe and Kandeh, who on Sunday held a press briefing to challenge the credibility of the vote. According to a statement from the parties, they were concerned about an “inordinate delay” in the announcement of results.

Campaigner Banka Manneh told The Associated Press that he would not deny the opposition leaders their rights to protest. But, he added, “They need provide the evidence of their claims. The courts are here to settle the dispute.”

Thousands of people stormed Westfield Youth Monument, located in the heart of Serrekunda, to celebrate Barrow’s reelection.

“President Barrow is a man of peace. We have to give him a chance to continue his development projects,” Modou Ceesay, 36, a resident of New Jeshwang told AP.

Fatou Faal of Kanifing told the AP that Gambians did the “right thing in giving Barrow a chance to complete the development projects he initiated.”

Nearly 860,000 Gambians came to vote on Saturday, a high number that shows a determination for many to exercise their democratic rights as demands for justice in the post-Jammeh era rise.

Barrow emerged victorious in 2016 as the candidate for an opposition coalition that tested the 22-year rule of Jammeh. After initially agreeing to step down, Jammeh resisted, and a six-week crisis saw neighboring West African countries prepare to send in troops to stage a military intervention. Jammeh was forced into exile.

Jammeh’s two-decade rule was marked by arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and summary executions that were revealed through dramatic testimony during Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission hearings that lasted for years.

The other week, the commission handed its 17-volume report to President Barrow, urging him to ensure that perpetrators of human rights violations are prosecuted.

Barrow has vowed to fight for justice for the victims.

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AU to observe Presidential Election of Republic of The Gambia

The African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) is in the Republic of The Gambia to observe the 4th December 2021 Presidential Election at the request of the Government of the Republic of The Gambia. The AUEOM comprises nine (9) long-term observers (LTOs) and 60 short-term observers (STOs) from 30 Member States. The AUEOM is led by H.E. Kgalema Motlanthe, former President of the Republic of South Africa.

On 6th December 2021, the AUEOM will release a statement of its preliminary findings and assessment of the election during a press conference in Banjul

The AUEOM’s mandate is derived from the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (2007), the AU/OAU Declaration on Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa (2002), and the Guidelines for African Union Electoral Observation and Monitoring Missions (2002), and other international and regional electoral instruments as well as the legal framework for elections in the Republic of The Gambia.

It would be recalled that the AU had deployed LTOs to the Republic of The Gambia since 20th October, who were joined by STOs on 22nd November 2021. They will undergo a three-day briefing and orientation on the political context and the state of preparedness for the presidential election. The AUEOM is observing the pre-election activities which include the political environment, electoral legal framework, the transparency of the electoral process, the campaign environment, freedom of the media, and respect for popular participation. 

On 6th December 2021, the AUEOM will release a statement of its preliminary findings and assessment of the election during a press conference in Banjul. A final report will be released within a month, following the official announcement of the election results.

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