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Africa’s disputed elections


Paris, France | AFP | 

Gabon’s disputed election, which culminated Saturday with the constitutional court’s confirmation of President Ali Bongo’s victory, is the latest in a long list of violence-tinged ballots in Africa:


Ivory Coast 

After a five-month-standoff, incumbent Laurent Gbagbo was detained on April 11, 2011 by forces backing rival Alassane Ouattara, who was recognised internationally as the winner of Ivory Coast’s October 2010 presidential election.

Gbagbo had refused to stand down and some 3,000 people died in the post-election unrest. He is currently on trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity in relation to the clashes.



Violence sparked by disputed results in Kenya’s December 27, 2007 presidential poll won by Mwai Kibaki claimed some 1,300 lives and left about 600,000 displaced according to documents filed before the ICC.

Elections in 1992 and 1997 also led to violence and related inter-ethnic clashes in 1992 in the western Rift Valley killed hundreds of people.



Unrest that claimed more than 800 lives flared in Nigeria after a disputed April 2011 presidential election in which President Goodluck Jonathan was declared victor. Defeated opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari alleged rigging.

Elections in April 2007 elections were also criticised by the opposition and observers and led to violence that officially left 39 people dead.

The European Union believes at least 200 died.



In 2005, Faure Gnassingbe won a disputed presidential election after the death of his father Gnassingbe Eyadema. Between 400 and 500 people were killed in related clashes.



In the March 29, 2008 general election, the ZANU-PF party of long-serving President Robert Mugabe was defeated by the Movement for Democratic Change of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai’s supporters then became targets of violence in which 180 died according to Amnesty International. Tsvangirai withdrew from the run-off presidential election against Mugabe, citing violence against his supporters.

The March 2002 elections won by Mugabe were also marred by violence.


Democratic Republic of Congo 

In late 2011, general elections that were hastily organised and marred by allegations of fraud were accompanied by violence.

A UN report that was denounced by authorities in Kinshasa spoke of around 30 deaths and accused government forces of serious human rights violations.

Incumbent head of state Joseph Kabila officially won re-election, but challenger Etienne Tshisekedi rejected the results.

The country has been mired in crisis ever since.



The island nation was paralysed by protests during a political crisis in 2001-2002. Incumbent Didier Ratsiraka challenged the proclaimed victory of Marc Ravalomanana in the first round of a presidential poll and subsequent fighting killed several dozen people.



In August 2009, President Ali Bongo’s declared election victory was followed by violence in which at least three people died, according to official figures. Opposition parties said at least 15 people were killed.

In violence that followed the August 27 2016 vote, which Bongo was declared to have won by a wafer-thin majority, more than 50 were killed, according to an opposition toll. The government gave a figure of three dead.


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