The main opposition candidate for the February 21 presidential election in Niger, former President Mahamane Ousmane, has called on the population to take part in “peaceful demonstrations” this Tuesday against the results of the elections in which government candidate Mohamed Bazoum took part in victory.
Ousmane, who has issued a statement confirming his refusal to recognize Bazoum’s victory, has again warned the outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou’s “dolphin” of “serious malfunctions” and “obvious bias” of the Constitutional Court.
“Recall that, despite protests from our delegates, the electoral commission proclaimed fraudulent global results,” he said before adding that the Constitutional Court “usurped” the sovereignty of the people by ratifying Bazoum’s victory.
He recalled calling for the “mobilization” of the population and appealing to the courts to overturn the results amid tensions that resulted in at least two deaths and several hundred prisoners.
Ousmane has stated that the new call for protest supported by the Coalition for Political Diversity (CAP20-21), the Alliance of Candidates for Change (ACC), the Republican Front for Change (FRC) and other opposition formations will be avoided should be electoral fraud.
“These peaceful marches will be held in the cities of Agadez, Diffa, Dosso, Maradi, Tahoua, Tillabéri, Zinder and Niamey, as well as in the capitals of the departments and the country’s municipalities, in accordance with the constitutional fundamental rights and freedoms, until victory of the people, “he emphasized.
The former Nigerian president has announced that the protests will continue until the Bazoum victory is canceled and “all arbitrarily detained political prisoners” are “unconditionally” released, including former Prime Minister Hama Amadou, according to the ActuNiger portal.
Finally, Ousmane has expressed “vivid concern” about the “increase in insecurity” in the African country following the massacre of more than 200 civilians in attacks attributed to jihadists in the west of the country near the border with Mali during the last year two weeks.
The commission declared Bazoum the winner with around 56 percent of the vote, which is why he is expected to succeed Issoufou in the first peaceful transfer of power in the African country since its independence from France in 1960.
In this sense, Bazoum himself stated in an interview with Radio France Internationale that there were “some small tensions” in the capital Niamey after the results were announced, adding that they ended “two days later”.
“It is proof that it was not authentic. In fact, some actors announced that there would be problems on election day before they knew the results. In any case, we don’t want problems because it is the first . ” happens. We have overcome it, “argued.
The new president faces mounting jihadist attacks, widespread poverty and food insecurity. Niger, the fifth largest uranium exporter in the world, is also the least developed country in the world among 189 countries listed in the United Nations Human Development Index.
Bazoum has separated the recent attacks from the electoral process, stressing that “they stem only from a local dynamic in which the jihadists are trying to impose their orders on the communities”. As a result, it was suggested that the incidents could be due to the refusal of some municipalities to pay a tax to these groups.
With that in mind, it recognized concerns about a possible recovery in intercommunity confrontations, given that “the jihadists come from particular communities” and “those who attack them are from particular communities”.
“The challenge is to ensure that there is no recruitment and that it is not beyond the scope of thugs’ operations against the state or the population that we must defend,” said the president-elect, who will take office on the 2nd will be April.
On the other hand, Bazoum has ruled out the possibility of a dialogue with the jihadists and stated that the situation in Niger is “very different” than in Mali. “We do not have a Nigerian jihadist leader, there are no jihadist bases in our area. There is no testimony from a leading actor related to Niger,” he said.
The President-elect announced that in 2016, when he was Minister of Defense, he sent envoys to the areas where the Islamic State of the Greater Sahara (ISGS) operates to open channels for discussion. Their interest was jihad in Mali. “They have nothing to do with Niger,” he insisted.
In doing so, he has attributed the recovery from the 2017 attacks to jihadists’ demands for the release of imprisoned terrorists. “Since then, the situation has worsened,” he admitted, despite reiterating that Niamey “cannot argue with people who are not Nigerians”. “We shouldn’t compare our situation to Niger’s,” he said.
Bazoum went on to say that “there should be no feeling of neglect on the part of the French”, although the “Barkhane” operation “mainly” operates in Mali. “We would have liked to have achieved better results in our cooperation with the French army,” he admitted.
Nonetheless, he has chosen to maintain France’s air deployment in the country, saying that “a partial withdrawal (…) will not have a major impact on the situation or the balance of power”. “The French army is not involved in the fight against the jihadists on the ground,” he recalled before stressing that the withdrawal “would have more symbolic, political, rather than operational effects.”
On the other hand, Nigerian Prime Minister Brigi Rafini launched the vaccination campaign against the coronavirus in the African country on Monday, which will use the drug developed by Sinopharm, and urged the population to take care of their medical centers to participate in the immunization process.
Rafini, who received the first dose of the vaccine at a hospital in the capital Niamey, also confirmed that he had contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, after which he defended that the vaccination was “for the health of the people.” Population is extremely important.
“I developed this disease. I know what causes it and the danger it poses to people’s lives,” he said before noting that it was “somewhat absent” between November and December. “It should be handled under the control of my doctors,” he revealed.
“Thanks to God and the efforts of health workers, I was able to overcome this terrible disease. It is necessary that people believe in the danger of this disease and that only the vaccine can protect us from it,” he argued. China sent 400,000 doses to the African country to start the vaccination campaign.
Nigerian authorities have so far confirmed 4,987 cases of coronavirus with 185 deaths. This emerges from data provided by the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) depending on the African Union (AU).