World Tour: Emergency in Sudan and Cuban elections

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with Africa correspondent Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Nigeria election—We start today here in Nigeria, where President Muhammadu Buhari has declared victory in Saturday’s election.

But official tallies are not expected until today at the earliest. And even then the results might not be settled. On Monday, the main opposition PDP party accused Buhari and his supporters of manipulating the election.

SECONDUS: The PDP is forced to take a stand and make the following pronouncement at this crucial point because our democracy is under threat of derailment.

African Union election observers noted some interference in the vote-counting process but called the process overall peaceful and orderly.

DESALEGN: The mission is very much impressed by the resilience, patience and patriotism demonstrated by Nigerians before and during the elections.

At least 53 have people died in election-related violence. An estimated 40 percent of Nigeria’s 73 million eligible voters turned out to vote. Buhari ran on a platform of improving the economy and continuing to fight Islamic extremist groups.

Emergency in Sudan—Next we go to Sudan. President Omar al-Bashir declared a one-year state of emergency and later disbanded the government amid ongoing protests. The move is likely to fuel more frustration across the country.

AUDIO: [Sound of protests]

Sudan’s unrest began December 19th over the rising cost of fuel and other basic amenities. It quickly spiraled into calls for the leader of three decades to step down.

On Sunday, al-Bashir appointed senior army staff to replace government officials he removed from office.

AL-BASHIR: [Man speaking Arabic]

After the swearing-in ceremony, Al-Bashir said the new appointments marked the beginning of a new chapter in Sudan’s history.

Critics fear the new appointments will encourage a crackdown on protesters who have already endured a violent response from officials. Human Rights Watch says at least 51 people have died at the hands of government troops.

Cubans vote in constitutional referendum—Next we go to Cuba, where voters overwhelmingly approved a new constitution on Sunday.

Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla touted the referendum as a reflection of national unity.

PARILLA: [Speaking in Spanish]

The new constitution preserves the island’s single-party socialist system. It recognizes a limited role for the free market but only under Communist Party control.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida called the referendum, quote— “another maneuver by the Cuban dictatorship to hold its grip on power.”

France fights anti-Semitism—Next we go to France. President Emmanuel Macron announced a bill to curb online hate speech and redefine anti-Semitism by international standards.

MACRON: [Speaking in French]

Macron said the nation would recognize anti-Zionism—the denial of Israel’s right to exist—as “one of the modern forms of anti-Semitism.”

The changes come amid a wave of attacks targeting Jews. Vandals recently defaced the portrait of a late holocaust survivor, cut down a tree planted in memory of a Jewish man killed by an anti-Semitic gang, and painted swastikas and other slogans at a Jewish cemetery in Lyon.

Macron called the resurgence of anti-Semitism unprecedented since the Second World War.

And France isn’t the only country dealing with hatred against Jews. In a December survey of Jews in 12 EU countries, 89 percent described anti-Semitism online as a major problem. Just over one-quarter reported some form of personal harassment in the past year.

Japan’s emperor marks 30th year—And finally, we end today in Japan, where Emperor Akihito marked the 30th year of his reign.

AUDIO: [Voices singing, chanting]

The celebration in Tokyo came just a few months before the emperor is set to hand the throne to his son. The 85-year-old said he hoped his successors would continue to redefine what it means to be the symbol of the island’s historic monarchy.

That’s this week’s World Tour. I’m Onize Ohikere, reporting from Abuja, Nigeria.

(AP Photo/Mohamed Abuamrain) In this image taken from video, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir speaks at the Presidential Palace, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, in Khartoum, Sudan. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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