(Photo by Issouf SANOGO / AFP)
The presidential election in Niger this past Sunday would have been the first peaceful transition of power in the country’s history. Unfortunately, it was marred by violence and later by what is becoming a trend in politics—loser denial.
On Sunday during the voting, a vehicle carrying ten members of Niger’s electoral commission struck a roadside IED. Seven in the group were killed and three others were injured. The attack appears to be connected to violent extremist groups in the area rather than a political candidate.
Additionally, MENA Stream reported several incidents of armed men attacking polling stations outside the capital Niamey. However, an observer group from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said the process was a free and fair election.
By Tuesday, Mohamed Bazoum, the ruling party candidate, was declared the winner with 55.75% of the votes. His opponent and former President Mahamane Ousmane declared he was the actual winner amid widespread fraud and ballot stuffing. The political turmoil led to protests during which two people were killed and hundreds arrested. The home of a reporter for Radio France Internationale (RFI) was also attacked during the unrest. Ousmane’s political supporter and past Prime Minister Hama Amadou, who was banned from running in the election, has been blamed for fueling the unrest. Amadou has since turned himself in and is talking with the police.