Africa Now February 24, 2016
Topics: Haiti’s Interim Government and Pending Elections; and the General Elections in Uganda
Topics and Guests: Amid delays and other problems Ugandans went to the polls to elect representatives in local government, Parliament and the President on February 18th. There were eight contenders for the presidency. The main contenders in the Presidential race were Dr. Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change; Mr. Amma Mbabazi (former prime minister), an independent backed by the Democratic Alliance; and long time U.S. ally incumbent President Yoweri Museveni of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), who has been in power since January 1986 when the NRM toppled the government of General Tito Okello. According to the results released by the Ugandan electoral commission on Saturday February 20 the winner was the incumbent Yoweri Museveni with 60.8%, and in second was Kizza Besigye who received 35.4% of vote, and in a distant third was Mr. Amma Mbabazi with 1.4%. But Kizza Besigye—who was under house arrest as the results were being released—called the election results a sham. Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo who headed the Commonwealth observer team noted that problems encountered by the voters “seriously detracted from the fairness and credibility of the results.” Joining Africa Now! today to discuss General Elections in Uganda is Dr. Frank Mugisha. Dr. Frank Mugisha is a Ugandan LGBT advocate and Executive Director of SMUG (Sexual Minorities Uganda). For his work Dr. Mugisha is recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award and Thorolf Rafto Memorial Prize 2011.
In Haiti thirty years ago on February 7, 1986 Jean Claude Duvalier was removed from power following a popular uprising thus ending the nearly 30-year dictatorship by him and his father Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier. Another event in February in Haiti’s political history is in what many say was a U.S.-backed overthrow of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on February 29, 2004. Once again this year February marked an important milestone in Haiti’s political history; that is the installation of a transition government following the expiration of term of President Martelly in midst of no elected person to fill the office.
This circumstance is the result of flawed election processes in Haiti on August 9 (first round of the legislative elections) and on October 25 first round of the presidential election. Haiti was scheduled to have a presidential election run-off on December 27 between government-backed candidate Jovenel Moise and Jude Célestin. But many Haitians and independent observers, and Jude Célestin and other opposition presidential candidates had serious reservations with the results released by the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP). This led to widespread protests and the refusal of Jude Célestin to take part in the run-off. Thus the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) postponed the run-off to January 24 and then again cancelled that voting day. Meanwhile President Martelly’s term expired on February 7. To prevent a constitutional crisis an agreement was reached and signed on February 6 between the executive and legislative branches of government, which postponed the presidential run-off to April 24 and enabled Parliament to choose an interim President. On February 14 Senator Jocelerme Privert became Interim President; who now has to appoint a Prime Minister and the transition government has to select a new Provisional Electoral Council. Joining Africa Now! today to discuss Haiti’s Interim Government and Pending Elections is Ms. Nicole Phillips. Ms. Nicole Phillips, Esq. is Staff Attorney, at the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH). Ms. Phillips is Assistant Director of Haiti programs and adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco, as well as a law professor at the Université de la Foundation Dr. Aristide (UNIFA) in Port-au-Prince.
Originally broadcast on WPFW 89.3FM, Washington, DC. Tune into Africa Now! live on WPFW 89.3 FM in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area or visit www.wpfwfm.org on Wednesdays from 1:00 to 2:00PM (Eastern).