Five African countries vote in ‘Super Sunday’
Elections were held yesterday in five African countries, while Senegal is holding a referendum on reducing presidential terms.
A presidential run-off held in Niger even though the opposition candidate is in a French hospital.
Congo-Brazzaville cut all telecommunications for two days to prevent “illegal publication of results” of its presidential election.
Elections were also held in Benin, Cape Verde and Zanzibar.
Congolese Interior Minister, Raymond Mboulou, ordered telephone operators to cut all communications – telephone, text messages and the Internet.
Only a few official numbers were excluded from the ban.
The government also outlawed the use of motor vehicles nationwide during the vote, except for those with special permits, the Reuters news agency reported.
The opposition condemned the communications blackout, saying it would prevent election monitors from doing their job, and warned of rigging.
General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko was seen as the strongest challenger to President Denis Sassou Nguesso.
Mr. Sassou Nguesso has been in power since 1979, except for a five-year period after losing elections in 1992.
The constitution was changed after an October referendum to remove term and age limits, which would have prevented the 72-year-old from standing again.
The opposition in Niger called for a boycott, alleging fraud, and the BBC said it did not see many voters in the capital, Niamey.
President Muhamadou Issoufou was expected to win a second term in the vote against former prime minister and parliamentary speaker, Hama Amadou.
Mr. Amadou was jailed in November on baby-trafficking charges, which he denies. He was flown to Paris last week for medical treatment.
His medical condition is unclear, but his health reportedly deteriorated in prison.
One of the world’s poorest countries, Niger faces a growing jihadist threat and was attacked by militants from al-Qaeda and Boko Haram on Thursday.
In February’s first round, Mr. Issoufou got 48 per cent of the vote while Mr. Amadou came second with 17 per cent.
Security was tight in Zanzibar after violent protests over recent elections.
The BBC reported that there were not many voters in the polling stations it visited.
The opposition Civic United Front (CUF) urged its supporters to boycott the poll.
October’s election was cancelled after CUF candidate Seif Sharif Hamad declared himself the winner before results were officially announced.