Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Opposition intended to pass a bill on last Monday, March 01, 2010 to put an end to the process of voters registry computerization but was prevented from doing so by a letter sent to the Speaker by President Boni Yayi, urging him to reject the proposed bill on ground that it would be a breach to international accords Benin signed.

Benin is due to hold its next presidential elections in March 2011. According to Boni Yayi government, these elections must be conducted with a computerized voters’ registry. The Opposition on the other hand accuses the government of not conducting the process of voters’ registry computerization with enough transparency.

The Opposition parties, RB, PRD, PSD, MADEP, and Force Clé which makes up a broad coalition, "Union fait la Nation" (UN) felt that the Head of State, the President Boni Yayi was not willing to listen to them. They have decided to pass a bill in National Assembly that will ban the ongoing voters’ registry computerization process from moving forward.

The Opposition leaders explain that they too agree on the importance of voters’ registry computerization in order to have fair and peaceful presidential elections in March 2011. However, according to them, the way in which the process has been conducted so far does not guarantee transparency and inclusiveness needed for it to be acceptable as a tool that can help prevent vote rigging and assure a fair pool.

During a previous meeting between the Opposition and the Government, it has been decided that the process of voters’ registry computerization will undergo a checkup, which will include both parties (the Opposition and the Government), to find out how effective it could be in helping to conduct a peaceful election. Nevertheless, the Opposition complains it has never been aware of nor been invited to take part into any revaluation of the process. Instead, a United Nation mission who has been in Cotonou since February 22, 2010, has been invited by the Head of State to conduct the evaluation.

The members of this United Nations mission met with both the Opposition and the Government but have not made public their report. Some analysts in local media have expressed fear that Boni Yayi Government might be manipulating the members of United Nations mission.

In a press conference on Monday, March 01, 2010, after Opposition attempt to pass the bill could not go ahead, its leaders criticize the involvement of President Boni Yayi in National Assembly functioning since Benin Constitution, declaring the separation between Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary bodies, does not allow such a move. Lately, the National Assembly Speaker convened the Benin lawmakers to a special session due to take place on Tuesday, March 04, 2010, in Porto-Novo to work on the initial bill, which was supposed to be passed on Monday, March 01, 2010.

On Wednesday, March 03, 2010, news of Epiphane Quenum being relieved of his position as Head of the body that is in charge of voters’ registry computerization process took many by surprise. Though he has been an influential opposition member, Epiphane Quenum has never earned the trust of Opposition leaders since he was appointed to supervise the process. Opposition leaders suggest he has been manipulated by Boni YAYI.

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