Posted November 22, 2020 9:28 am by

Burkina Faso goes to the polls in shadow of jihadist threat

Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kabore speaks to supporters in his final campaign rally ahead of Sunday’s election © AFP / Issouf SANOGO

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Nov 22 – Burkina Faso will vote in a general election Sunday in the shadow of a growing jihadist insurgency, and with opposition candidates warning of a “massive fraud” at the polls.

President Roch Marc Christian Kabore is expected to win re-election, with his supporters talking up his chances of an outright victory in the first round of voting.

But no votes in the presidential and parliamentary polls will be cast in one-fifth of the country, where large swathes remain outside the state’s control and jihadist attacks strike almost daily.

The violence has forced one million people — five percent of the 20 million population — from their homes in the last two years and at least 1,200 have been killed since 2015.

Burkina Faso goes to the polls in shadow of jihadist threat

Leading opposition candidate Zephirin Diabre was on Saturday already warning of ‘massive fraud’ © AFP / OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT

The security crisis has dominated the campaign and an undisclosed number of troops have been deployed for polling day in the landlocked West African country, one of the world’s poorest.

Most of the 12 opposition candidates running against Kabore have criticised the incumbent’s failure to stem the bloodshed.

However political scientist Drissa Traore said Kabore remains “the big favourite against an opposition which has not managed to unite behind a single candidate”.

– ‘Massive fraud’ –

The president’s two main challengers are 2015’s runner-up, veteran opposition leader Zephirin Diabre, and Eddie Komboigo, standing for the party of former president Blaise Compaore.

Compaore, who was ousted by a popular uprising in 2014 after 27 years in power, is now in exile but some voters are nostalgic for his regime.

Burkina Faso goes to the polls in shadow of jihadist threat

Eddie Komboigo (c) is standing for the party of former president Blaise Compaore © AFP / OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT

Diabre told reporters on Saturday that “there is a huge operation orchestrated by those in power to carry out a massive fraud” so as to give Kabore a first-round victory.

“We will not accept results marred by irregularity,” added Diabre, surrounded at a press conference by five of the other 11 opposition candidates, including Komboigo.

Kabore can avoid a run-off by winning more than 50 percent of the vote in Sunday’s Read More…Burkina Faso goes to the polls in shadow of jihadist threat  Burkina Faso goes to the polls in shadow of jihadist threat  Burkina Faso goes to the polls in shadow of jihadist threat  Burkina Faso goes to the polls in shadow of jihadist threat