Sunday, January 31, 2016

Elections and Security in Niger (UPDATED)

I'm on my way to my daughter's rock concert so I'll add to this later -

Nice Monkey Cage post from Lisa Mueller on the security situation in Niger, where a presidential election is scheduled for February 21.

UPDATE: Issoufou is favored to win, but there are two fairly strong candidates running against him. On the other hand, one of those two challengers was jailed for accusations of baby trafficking, prompting a lawyers' strike. Mueller notes that another presidential candidate, a physician, is being investigated as a suspect in Burkina Faso's recent bombing, after he tended to victims of the bomb blast, and in December Issoufou sacked nine military officers in December for a suspected coup plot. The recent military coup in neighboring Burkina Faso just before that country's presidential election can't be far from his mind. So Issoufou obviously isn't feeling safe.

Apart from the security of his office, Issoufou needs to worry about the related security of his country. There are recent terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso and Mali, apparently by AQIM, and Niger has had trouble with Boko Haram in the south. There has been some success against Boko Haram, with help from the US and other Western allies, but this opens Issoufou to accusations of putting Niger on the receiving end of necolonialism.

Mueller concludes:
"Questionable arrests and electoral fraud are arguably more threatening to Niger’s democracy than religious fundamentalism. Niger is not Mali or Burkina Faso. The country has its own domestic challenges to contend with, not least among them corruption, drug trafficking and chronic food shortages. A comprehensive international policy toward Niger would take all of those problems, and not just terrorism, into account."

No comments:

Post a Comment