Comoro’s Opposition Calls on UN & AU to Intervene After Rejecting Referendum Results     

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August 1, 2018//-Comoros’s Opposition Party, Juwa party has rejected the result of the Comoros referendum  due to low turnout at the polls, protests, and the arrest of opposition leaders and MPs.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Juwa party denouncing the results.

Media reports claimed that the turnout was very low at several polling stations in the capital around the three islands, after opposition leaders called for a boycott of the poll, which has been marred by a crackdown on dissent.

Former President Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi was placed under house arrest since May. He is not allowed to communicate with his party members or the media. Moreover, Ahmed el-Barwane, secretary-general of the opposition Juwa party, was arrested this morning.

Mr Ibrahim Mohd Soule, MP and former General Secretary of the Juwa Party dismissed the claims by the government that the turnout was 63%.  He said, “63 is a false figure. The turnout was very low. We, along with other parties reject the results.”

Mr Abubakar Aboud, advisor to President Sambi, said: “This pseudo-referendum is a non-event that we declare null and void. We do not recognize the results and for us, the 2001 Constitution is the only valid one. We still expect Colonel Azali to leave peacefully the presidency in 2021.”
“We can’t even go to the Constitutional Court as Assoumani has suspended the highest court in the country. We have no recourse to justice here. We urge the UN and AU to help work out a solution so that our country doesn’t descend into chaos.  Our dissenting voices are being silenced. We need help.”

Mr Soule added,  “All the opposition and civil society reject the referendum results, it’s a fake. The announced results are false. There was no real challenge, only the ‘yes’ was represented in the voting place, without impartial, foreign observers.”

The yes vote will allow President Azali Assoumani to cement his grip on power by allowing him a potential two times five-year-term from 2019- but the plan has sparked widespread opposition, according to the statement.

“Moreover, the draft strengthens the powers of the President of the Union of Comoros and also allows him to conclude and ratify international treaties and agreements without consulting Parliament. The text also provides for the abolition of the three vice-presidencies, as well as the Constitutional Court. It also will change Comoros’s status from a secular state to an Islamic one”.

The opposition party is therefore calling on the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) to intervene in order to safeguard the country from blood bath.

The country is dangerously tilting towards ‘illiberal democracy’. The archipelago, which is situated in the Indian Ocean between Mozambique and Madagascar and is one of the world’s poorest countries, was repeatedly shaken by separatist movements and instability prior to the passing of a new constitution in 2001 providing for the rotation of power between the islands.
Under the current constitution, power rotates every five years between the archipelago’s three main islands.
The nation was plunged into crisis in April when Assoumani suspended the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the country, sparking opposition protests.
One of his leading critics, ex-president Ahmed Abdallah Sambi, was placed under house arrest without any real justification, while another prominent opposition leader was heavily beaten and jailed following protests against the regime.

Azali’s  vice-president Ahmed Said Jaffar last month dubbed the referendum illegal, urging Comorans to “reject the dangerous abuse” of power.
Comoros vice-president Moustoidrane Abdou escaped an assassination attempt this month when his vehicle was fired on days before a controversial referendum on a new constitution.
The U.S and the European Union have asked their citizens to hide and avoid getting out in Comoros especially in Anjouan ahead of this referendum. Last but not least, the vast majority of the opposition leaders in Anjouan have all been arrested without knowing the reasons of their arrest.
The president does not have the power to dismiss the three vice-presidents under that constitution, but Assoumani’s new constitution would allow him to abolish their posts.

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