<![CDATA[Citizens Democracy Watch (Seychelles) - News and Blog]]>Tue, 12 Jan 2016 13:09:04 -0800EditMySite<![CDATA[ Elections Register Seychelles (Ref Sey News Agency)]]>Tue, 21 Apr 2015 10:53:10 GMThttp://www.citizensdemocracywatch.org/news-and-blog/elections-register-seychellesRef: Seychelles News Agency

Seychelles voter registration opens as new laws expected to be in effect soon Victoria, Seychelles | January 12, 2015,

According to a press statement issued by the Electoral Commission, the national voter registration exercise for 2015 will be conducted at official registration centres on the main inhabited inner islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue until Sunday 25 January, providing a two-week window for registration.

This practice has been taking place in the archipelago of 90,000 inhabitants in the Indian Ocean for over 20 years.

New amendments to the Elections Act of 1995 which were passed in the National Assembly during December last year make provision for year-round voter registration and inspection of the electoral roll.

However, the new rules will only be implemented sometime during 2015, according to the country’s Electoral Commissioner, Hendrik Gappy, as the Electoral Commission still needs to put the logistics in place for the new provisions.

“The members of the Electoral Commission have not yet met to discuss the modalities for this change, but we plan on doing so during the year,” Gappy told SNA.

“For example, we have to find someone for this specific duty… so given for the moment we have not yet made provisions for all of this, we will for now continue as before,” stated Gappy.

Changes to electoral law

As part of the revision of the electoral reform, several changes were made, this includes the rules for financing of political parties, the members involved in the executive committees of political parties as well as the time of the cooling off period.

Most of the changes are recommendations of the Electoral Reform Forum (ERF). The Forum is composed of members of the Electoral Commission (EC), representatives of political parties, the civil society as well as a representative of the Office of the Attorney General. Their debates took place over two years before the participants could reach an agreement.

There are three major political parties in Seychelles: the Parti Lepep which has been in power since 1977, and two of the main opposition parties are the Seychelles National Party and the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM).

“This is certainly an improvement that the people can now register at any time they want. Previously the voters list was often outdated and lacked credibility,” said the leader of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) David Pierre in an interview with the SNA.

PDM has one of the 32 seats in the National Assembly held by David Pierre, who is the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, and Parti Lepep holds all of the other seats.

Pierre believes the budget of electoral campaigning should be limited to 250,000 (around $18,000) Seychelles rupees (for the legislative election and 1 million rupees (approximately $70,000) for the presidential campaign.

A new provision in the electoral has also been made to enable the Seychellois living abroad to register and to vote. However this will require certain conditions.

For example, they should hold a national identity card and they must have spent at least three months in the country before they can register.

Another amendment made states that detained persons, either in holding cells or prisoners awaiting trial can also vote in elections, but convicted prisoners may not do so.

The three-day cooling off period before the voting day has also been modified so that door-to-door campaigning can take place but rallies, meetings and demonstrations will not be allowed during this period.

The new law requires all political parties to disclose all donations over 5,000 Seychelles rupees (about $300) as well as their expenditures to the Electoral Commission.

SNP to take part in 2016 elections

On Thursday last week, the Seychelles National Party (SNP), headed by Wavel Ramkalawanannounced its intention to contest the next parliamentary and presidential elections in 2016. The party had boycotted the 2011 legislative elections.

Speaking at the press conference on Thursday, Ramkalawan said he was largely satisfied with the 2014 amendments to the Election Act of 1995.

“On one hand, we have to acknowledge that there are some points which have been included in the laws which are positive and these include the voters’ register which will now remain open throughout the year and will contain only the names of persons eligible to vote, that is aged 18 years and over,” said Ramkalawan.

“The rights of persons on remand have also been respected and they will also be allowed to vote and the most important element of the reforms is that the cooling off period has been redefined to allow candidates to continue campaigning even on polling day.”

“On the other hand, it is unfortunate that the law does not put a limit on spending by political parties, so the purchase of votes will unfortunately continue,” said Ramkalawan, although such an allegation has never been proved before the Electoral Commission nor before a court of law.

As for the presidential election scheduled for 2016, Gappy said that under the constitution the Electoral Commission has a mandate to start the election process 90 days before the election.

This three-month process should normally start in the 57th month after the last presidential election, which would be between February and April 2016.

- See more at: http://www.seychellesnewsagency.com/articles/2151/Seychelles+voter+registration+opens+as+new+laws+expected+to+be+in+effect+soon#sthash.WYtUlkUG.dpuf
<![CDATA[Kenya Presidential Debate]]>Sat, 01 Oct 2011 07:33:24 GMThttp://www.citizensdemocracywatch.org/news-and-blog/first-postSource: BBC
Did Kenya presidential debate make a difference? By David Okwembah BBC Africa, Nairobi Analyst Kwendo Opanga explains to the BBC that the debates offers smaller parties "an opportunity to shine".

As millions of viewers were glued to their television sets on Monday to watch the first ever presidential debate in Kenya, the seven male candidates, dressed in immaculate suits, walked to the podium and onto lecterns finely laid out for them at a private school in a suburb of the capital, Nairobi.

Martha Karua, the only woman on the podium, was elegantly dressed in a flowing African printed outfit.

They exchanged friendly handshakes and smiles before settling down for the gruelling debate.

Each was given two minutes to state why they wanted to become the fourth president of Kenya in the 4 March election, with the audience of about 200 later given a chance to ask them questions.

The debate was expected to last for two hours, but overran by more than an hour”

Earlier, the debate was hit by uncertainty when one of the candidates who had not been invited to take part, Paul Muite, went to court to demand his inclusion.

The High Court in Nairobi directed the local media groups who organised the debate at a reported cost of $1.1m (£700,000) to include him and another excluded candidate, Mohammed Abduba Dida.

The organisers caved in, reversing their decision to leave the two out on the grounds that when the debate was visualised they had not shown an interest in the presidency.

The debate was expected to last for two hours, but overran by more than an hour with the eight candidates remaining on their feet for the entire period.

'Taken to task' It was the International Criminal Court (ICC) case against four Kenyans - including presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto, who are accused of fuelling the violence that broke out after the last election in 2007 - that took centre stage.

Mr Kenyatta, one of the frontrunners for the presidency, was forced to fend off claims of impunity, as he was put on the spot by the moderators and his presidential challengers, who demanded to know why he would not pull out of the race to concentrate on the case at the Hague.

More than 1,000 people were killed in Kenya after the last election Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto have been indicted by the ICC for crimes against humanity emanating from the violence that killed more than 1,000 people and forced about 300,000 people from their homes after the disputed election that was won by President Mwai Kibaki, who is now stepping down after two terms.

Raila Odinga Presidential candidate Mr Kenyatta said he and Mr Ruto were innocent and would defend themselves vigorously at The Hague. The case would not prevent him from discharging his presidential duties, if he was elected, he said.

Mr Kenyatta's main rival, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, was also taken to task by one of the candidates for the violence which engulfed the country after the last election.

Mr Odinga said he was cheated of victory by allies of Mr Kibaki through widespread fraud.

Their supporters then clashed for two months, often targeting people along ethnic lines, until a deal was brokered which saw them agree to share power.

During the debate, Ms Karua said the violence would have been avoided if Mr Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) had challenged the outcome through the courts rather than on the streets.

The presidential field
  • Muhamed Abduba Dida - former teacher; mixed parentage, with father a Borana and mother a Somali; no political profile before declaring candidature
  • Martha Karua - ex-justice minister; only female candidate
  • Peter Kenneth - ex-banker and lawyer; MP since 2002
  • Uhuru Kenyatta - deputy prime minister; charged by International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity; seen as a frontrunner
  • James ole Kiyiapi - ex-civil servant and academic
  • Musalia Mudavadi - deputy prime minister; briefly served as vice-president under Daniel Arap Moi
  • Paul Muite - lawyer and veteran opposition politician
  • Raila Odinga - prime minister; lost 2007 election to outgoing President Mwai Kibaki; seen as a frontrunner
Mr Muite criticised the ICC's chief prosecutor for charging Mr Uhuru and Mr Ruto, instead of Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga - the main candidates in the 2007 election.

He said if his party won next month's election, he would re-open the case to have the two explain their role.

"There's no way the two would not have known what was happening," Mr Muite said, during the three-hour debate conducted in English and broadcast on all local television stations and 34 radio stations.

Mr Odinga, on his part, cautioned Kenyans against electing a president who would spend most of his time at The Hague trying to extricate himself from crimes against humanity charges.

"You cannot run a country through Skype," he quipped.

The candidates also talked about ethnicity, education and health in the debate.

After the gruelling three hours, their family members and supporters were invited to join them at the podium.

Mr Odinga and Ms Karua were joined by their grandchildren.

Kenyans who spoke to the BBC in Nairobi and the western town of Nakuru were impressed with the performance of Ms Karua, the only woman candidate.

However, few said they would change the way they intended to vote.

This is not entirely surprising as voting patterns in Kenya are usually dictated by ethnic loyalties.

University of Nairobi academic Herman Manyora told the BBC the debate was of little value as Kenyan had an insignificant middle-class that would have been influenced by the performance of some of the candidates.
uploaded by: Steve lalande