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In Niger, the victory of Mohamed Bazoum in the presidential election

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                The Nigerien Constitutional Court confirmed this week the victory of Mohamed Bazoum in the presidential election.  But Mahamane Ousmane, the unsuccessful candidate, continues to claim victory and even promises fierce resistance.

                                    <p><strong>So where does this impression of a generalization of the contesting of electoral results by losers come from, everywhere in Africa?</strong>

Jean-Baptiste Placca: The challenges to the results, to be taken seriously, must be credible, otherwise, these challenges would become commonplace. It is to be hoped, for Mahamane Ousmane, that he himself is convinced of having actually won this election, despite his disappointing score in the first round and the rallying in chorus of many important candidates to Mohamed Bazoum. If he does not have irrefutable proof of his victory, beyond a few isolated incidents, then his refusal to admit defeat would only reinforce this tendency, unfortunate, to systematically dispute the results, which contributes to increasingly discredit democracy in Africa. It is not only his victory that is contested. Its origins are too.

Isn’t that a bit too much for Mohamed Bazoum?

He undoubtedly has many faults, but wanting to disqualify him on the pretext that he is not Nigerian gives the impression of a desperate attempt, in addition to being a dangerous game, as we have experienced elsewhere. on the continent. It is convenient, when there is a lack of arguments, to go and resuscitate the origins of a challenger to make it, often on a dubious basis, an element of disqualification. Some may remember Kenneth Kaunda’s loss of nationality in 1999 in Zambia. It had been pronounced by a court on the orders of Frederick Chiluba, trade unionist turned head of state, who wanted to finish off a too illustrious predecessor, on the pretext that his parents had come from neighboring Malawi. Kenneth Kaunda was the father of Zambia’s independence! He had been head of state for twenty-seven long years! This Pan-Africanist had welcomed, in Lusaka, the ANC, especially its armed wing, the MK, then in struggle against the Apartheid regime, in South Africa. Telling such a man that he is a foreigner anywhere in Africa could only come from a surly political opponent, devoid of any sense of history.

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Mahamane Ousmane did not brandish these accusations …

No. He is a former head of state who has kept a certain height, since he was overthrown in a coup in 1996, due to the paralysis of the country, resulting from the strained relations he maintained, at the time, with a Prime Minister who then sought only to humiliate him, in the context of a conflicted cohabitation. This man is today his main ally, and even his only important ally. Some imply that Ousmane’s fight is less his own than that of this ally of the moment, who would have other accounts to settle, due to the disqualification of his candidacy following a conviction in a case that theoretically, nothing political.

Are these disqualifications in Niger and elsewhere not a problem?

All of these eminent politicians know, better than anyone, the harm that politicians are capable of doing – and do – to each other, especially when they find their opponents a legal loophole. It is therefore up to those who consider themselves to be the bearers of the hopes of part of their people not to be weakened by acts or missteps likely to put them in a situation of vulnerability. When one is a politician of a certain stature, one should not venture into procedures which escape a certain transparency.

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