- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 3, 2006

CHAD

Election turnout slow at the start

N’DJAMENA — Early turnout in Chad’s presidential election yesterday was low in the capital, even as incumbent candidate Idriss Deby Itno insisted that an opposition boycott and the threat of violence by rebels would not keep Chadians from casting ballots.

At many polling stations, there were more troops than voters, Agence France-Presse reported. Mr. Deby, who seemed certain to defeat four rival candidates, praised the fact that the elections were being conducted despite the boycott and repeated clashes with United Front for Change rebels, who besieged the capital less than three weeks ago.

“The most important thing is that we have kept our promise by holding these elections on May 3, as required by the constitution,” the president said as he dropped his ballot into a box at the Agriculture Ministry.

MALAWI

Human rights coalition faults visiting Mugabe

BLANTYRE — Rights groups in Malawi protested yesterday the naming of a new highway after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, saying he doesn’t deserve the honor because of his poor human rights record at home.

Mr. Mugabe, whose country is facing increased economic hardship, began a four-day state visit to Malawi yesterday and is to open the highway today. “Based on his poor human rights record at home, we are saying ‘no’ to Mugabe to be honored in Malawi … He has caused a lot of misery to the people of Zimbabwe,” said Rogers Newa, a spokesman for Malawi’s human rights coalition.

Today, Mr. Mugabe is to cut the ribbon at the Blantyre end of the road linking this commercial capital to the tea-growing region at Mulanje, 43 miles away. Mr. Newa urged the visiting president to “foster the restoration of respect for human rights, freedoms and rule of law.”

SOMALIA

Teen executes father’s killer

MOGADISHU — A Somalian teenager on Tuesday killed a man convicted by an Islamic court of murdering his father in what is thought to be Mogadishu’s first public execution under Shariah law in years, witnesses said.

At a heavily attended event ordered and supervised by the court, 16-year-old Mohamed Moalim approached the condemned man, Omar Hussein, who was hooded and tied to a pole, and stabbed him to death.

Weekly notes …

Eritrea yesterday rejected criticism of a food-aid policy that some fear has cut off assistance to people in need and left donations rotting in warehouses. A long editorial in the state-run English-language Eritrea Profile newspaper denounced critics of the “cash-for-work” scheme that intends to end dependence on food handouts and pay Eritreans for development work so they can buy food.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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