- - Wednesday, February 16, 2011

UGANDA

Museveni sees landslide victory

ENTEBBE | President Yoweri Museveni, in power for 25 years, predicted a landslide victory in polls this week, dismissing his main challenger’s assertion that Uganda was ripe for an Egypt-style uprising.

“It will be a big win [in Friday’s election],” he told reporters Wednesday at the presidential palace. “We shall win with a big majority.”

Many commentators believe Friday’s presidential election could be the closest since Mr. Museveni, a former guerrilla leader, grabbed power as head of the National Resistance Army in 1986.

In 1996 polls, he took 75 percent of the vote, but his share dropped to 69 percent in 2001 and to 59 percent in the 2006 election.

NIGERIA

Presidential hopeful appealing to youth

ABUJA | Nigeria’s former anti-corruption czar Nuhu Ribadu kicked off his presidential campaign Wednesday ahead of April elections, promising to be the candidate of the teeming and frustrated youth in the oil-rich West African nation.

Mr. Ribadu gave a speech in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, as the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria.

While the party remains the strongest opposition group in the nation, it still faces an incredible hurdle to beat the People’s Democratic Party, which has controlled the country since it became a democracy a decade ago.

In his speech, Mr. Ribadu promised to speak to the young because the “half century of our nation’s history [has] loudly left them behind through failure of governance.”

He compared the upcoming election to the political changes that swept through Egypt and Tunisia.

CONGO

Rwandan rebel surrenders to U.N.

KINSHASA | A leading rebel figure in charge of recruitment of Rwandan Hutus in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo turned himself in to the U.N. mission in the country, the United Nations said Wednesday.

Samuel Bisengimana, also known as Sam Kunda-Mutina, was a member of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) high command in the Congo.

He was responsible for “mobilizing civilian support and recruitment,” said a statement issued by the U.N. Observer Mission.

The 43-year-old surrendered Tuesday at Ntoto, in Nord-Kivu province, “after more than a year of negotiations.”

Mr. Bisengimana is not suspected of genocide committed by Hutus against Tutsis in the 1994 Rwandan crisis, however other FDLR leaders are wanted for the mass murders.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

Opposition shuns second-round vote

LIBREVILLE | A coalition of opposition groups and ex-rebels in the Central African Republic announced this week a boycott to a second round of legislative elections, expected in mid-March.

The Collective Forces for Change said in a statement that “a deep analysis of the political and judicial situation” in the country had led it to decide in favor of “the non-participation in the second round of legislative elections.”

It announced a withdrawal of all its candidates “from this contest, which is being conducted in flagrant violation of the electoral code”.

The coalition includes nearly all of the country’s opposition parties, with the exception of supporters of former president, Ange-Felix Patasse, who came in second in presidential elections last month.

The opposition has accused President Francois Bozize of falsifying the joint presidential and parliamentary elections, which saw him declared the victor with 64.37 percent of the vote.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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