Mauritania cracks down on opposition after election

Mauritanian police raided the headquarters of two opposition parties, closing one of them amid high tension that followed a disputed outcome to presidential elections.

The operation happened late on Monday after police clashed with opposition supporters angered by the declared victory of ruling party candidate Mohamed Ould Ghazouani. A former general and ally of outgoing president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Ghazouani was credited with 52% of the ballot, averting the need for a runoff vote.

“Police arrived at the headquarters of candidate Biram [Ould Dah Ould Abeid] and tossed teargas grenades inside, smashing windows and doors, making the place unusable,” Abeid’s spokesperson, Hammada Ould Lehbouss, said on Tuesday.

Abeid, an anti-slavery activist who received the United Nations’ Human Rights prize in 2013, has repeatedly been imprisoned over the years.

Police also raided the headquarters of opposition candidate Kane Hamidou Baba, four opposition candidates said at a press conference on Monday. His premises were closed by the authorities.

The two buildings, located close to each other in the capital Nouakchott, were deserted on Tuesday and rocks used to form roadblocks and burned tyres were scattered outside.

The government refused to comment.

The vote on Saturday had been touted as a historic moment in the conservative Saharan desert nation, marking its first democratic transition after decades of coups.

Ghazouani beat Abeid, credited with 18.58% of the vote, according to the country’s electoral commission. He was followed by Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar, a former prime minister, with 17.87%. Kane polled 8.71%, while Mohamed Ould Moloud got 2.44%.

The defeated candidates say the vote count was flawed and are calling for a breakdown of the tally by individual polling stations, to see how it matches their own data. But they have said that their bid to overturn the result will be peaceful and legal.

Abdel Aziz is a general who first came to power in a 2008 coup. He won elections a year later and was again elected in 2014 in polls boycotted by the opposition. Ghazouani, who campaigned on the themes of continuity, solidarity and security, served as the outgoing president’s chief of staff from 2008 to last year.

Rights groups have accused the government of restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly, and have called for more to be done to counter violence against women and slavery, which persists despite its official abolition in 1981. — AFP

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

External source

Eskom refers employees suspected of contracts graft for criminal investigations

The struggling power utility has updated Parliament on investigations into contracts where more than R4-billion was lost in overpayments

Locally built ventilators ready in two weeks as Covid cases...

The companies making the non-invasive devices, which will create jobs and are cheaper than other types, include car and diving manufacturers

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday