Africa News blog
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In a shock unilateral announcement, the leading south Sudanese party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), withdrew its presidential candidate, Yasir Arman, and said it would also boycott elections on all levels in Darfur.
It paved the way for incumbent President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to win the April 11-18 polls. Arman was viewed as his main challenger, with much of south Sudan’s support – about 25 percent of the 16-million strong electorate.
Some in the opposition initially reacted with anger or surprise, because the SPLM had agreed to form a joint position on a likely full boycott of elections in the north with them a day later. But as the decision sank in, the realization is that the ball is now firmly in their court.
The credibility of the elections is hanging in the balance.
But the big question on everyone’s lips is: Will the opposition be able to unite on a joint position ahead of the polls, which are due to begin in just 10 days?
The puns were too much for the Nigerian press (and me) to resist in headlines after Goodluck Jonathan quietly managed to get himself into the top job without even appearing to want a position left open for more than two months by the absence of President Umaru Yar’Adua.
Suddenly it seems that everyone and his brother is congratulating themselves on having found such a wise way out of the impasse that derived from the ambitions of those in the various camps and the ambiguity of a constitution that had never foreseen such an eventuality.
She was greeted by headlines from the country’s newspapers, expressing collective national pride for her achievement. “Welcome home, Caster, our champ. Caster, this nation is proud of you and we stand behind you, from Cape Town to Musina.”, screamed the Johannesburg-based The Times Newspaper.
Covering Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni for four years as the Reuters correspondent in Kampala was seldom dull.
When he was in a good mood, the former rebel would banter with journalists long after his aides wanted him to leave. In a bad mood, he would scowl and growl back answers in return.