The reading of the election monitoring report of Gerddes Afrique on the presidential elections that recently took place in Gabon worries me because this report acquits an electoral process which, in my view, was defective because it was conducted on the basis of an electoral code which allows a candidate to be declared winner on the basis of a relative majority. This electoral code was tailor-made for the late President Omar Bongo Odimba who was sure to win all presidential elections by a landslide in the first round as long as he wants to stand as a candidate.
In the wake of the presidential election from which Ali Ben Bongo has been proclaimed as the winner even though he only obtained 44% of the popular vote, Gabon now finds itself with a political and social rift which the country never experienced when President Omar Bongo Odimba was in alive. Consequently, Ali Ben Bongo Odimba is not in a position to declare that he shall be the President of all Gabonese citizens.
We have to make a clear choice. Either we are democrats or we want a monarchy. Common sense would have indicated that Gabon should exceptionally propose a runoff election in order to facilitate the emergence of a candidate who obtains at least 50% +1 vote from voters. This is a basic rule which is adopted by all countries which have adopted a presidential system of government. I fully recognize and accept that the 40 day transition period which is built into the Gabonese constitution was neither sufficient nor opportune to open a debate on the electoral law.
Nevertheless, in spite of the acquittal which Gerddes Afrique has given to the electoral process in Gabon simply on the basis of its observation of the voting process, I think that Gerddes could have highlighted in its conclusions the flaw in the electoral law, by which a candidate, having obtained only 44% of the popular vote, is proclaimed as the winner. This now leaves Gabon in a state of limbo following this transition attempt, based on the rule of law, which in my opinion has failed because in the eyes of the world, Ali Ben Bongo lacks popular legitimacy.
RE: Kampala: Concern Over Land Giveaways
The issues presented in the article are good and need serious debating. This is not Uganda’s problem only but the whole of Africa's. African intellectuals must find an appropriate solution. The issue is directly related to hunger and starvation of millions of Africans. Land is the primary source of livelihood and therefore, if it is put in proper utilization, the basic problem of Africa will be solved.
Land can be lend out to foreigners under condition that it should be returned to the owner at a certain point in time. This is because, unused land is a waste; land should be used for production. Since Africans have not developed the technology or skill to utilize the land, it should be lend out to outsiders who can use it properly and share the produce with them.
RE: Agriculture in Africa: Who is Driving It?
I very much support Mr Ngwenya's view on the need to increase the funding for ag research in Africa. On the issues regarding African agriculture, food security, hunger and poverty, I may suggest that COMESA take a very good look at the IAASTD Report (global and sub-Saharan), which have recently been published by Island Press and are the results of a unique multistakeholder process that included over 400 authors from around the world, many from Africa. The report "Agriculture at a Crossroads" was accepted by 59 countries at the Johannesburg Plenary in April 2008.
The report has a section called Summary for Decision Makers that outlines the key findings of the experts and suggests options for action at policy level. I would be happy to present the details of the report and the implication for COMESA any time.
Hans R Herren,
Co-chair IAASTD and President Millennium Institute
RE: Black Africans: Their Own Worst Disaster
This article was definitely not written by a black person!
RE: FDA Fetes Bingu Wa Mutharika
Congratulations Bingu! This small country has grown up into a real Warm Heart of Africa Indeed.
RE: Ringera's Removal
There's no better time than now for the Law Makers(Parliamentarians) to start thinking about how they can eject Ringera out of office, if surely they are to salvage this beloved nation from scavengers then they should use their powers to remove him from office, embattled Ringera has nothing to account for in the period he has been in the KACC director.