Following his election victory with securing 57.87 percent of the vote, Burkina Faso's Roch Kabore pledges dialogue in his troubled country "for peace and development".
Burkina Faso President Roch Kabore has won reelection by a comfortable margin, preliminary results have showed, after an election marred by insecurity that prevented swathes of the West African country from voting.
Some analysts had expected a closer contest on Sunday between Kabore, who was elected in 2015, and his main rivals, who argued he had failed to contain religious and ethnic violence that forced 1 million people to flee their homes during his first term.
The results read out by the election commission showed Kabore won 57.87% of the vote. He needed over 50% to avoid a second round.
His two closest rivals, Zephirin Diabre and Eddie Komboigo, got 12.46% and 15.48%, respectively.
Signals of dialogue after election
Kabore vowed to strengthen dialogue in his troubled country after gaining a landslide victory in his bid for a second five-year term.
"I will deploy all my efforts so that through continuous consultation, through dialogue... we can work together for peace and development," he said at his party's headquarters in the capital Ouagadougou.
"We are all Burkinabe, seeking to build a better Burkina Faso together," he said.
J'exprime ma reconnaisse à la Nation.— Roch KABORE (@rochkaborepf) November 26, 2020
Je salue et félicite l'ensemble des candidats à cette élection.
Je salue leur fair-play.
Je mettrai tous mes efforts pour une concertation permanente pour travailler pour la paix et le développement de notre pays.#BurkinaVote2020
'Election riddled with fraud'
Kabore's opponents have raised concerns about the validity of the vote count. But the electoral commission has dismissed those and an international observer mission gave the election a mostly clean bill of health.
The declaration comes four days after Sunday’s election. The election commission president said final results should be out on Saturday, which then must be verified by the constitutional court.
The opposition has accused the ruling party of foul play, including bribing people.
The process was “riddled with fraud” and the electoral commission was not up to the task of organising responsible elections, Tahirou Barry, an opposition candidate, told a press conference.
While there were some reports of irregularities, such as in the east, where approximately 30 people voted on fake ballots because no ballot paper was available, it wasn’t widespread, said Halidou Ouedraogo, president of CODEL, a local organisation monitoring the elections.
The opposition has seven days to appeal the vote. It was not immediately clear if they would.
The African Union and the Economic Community of West African States, a regional bloc, said appeals should be made through legal avenues in a “calm environment and especially to avoid violence," said Makuza Bernard, who led the AU delegation.
“We don’t need (violence). The Burkinabe don’t need that,” he said.
Elections under fears of violence
The elections were held amid violence linked to Al Qaeda and Daesh that has killed more than 2,000 people this year and displaced more than 1 million.
While there were no reports of major attacks on election day, threats of violence prevented people from casting ballots in hard-hit parts of the country.
Nearly 3,000 polling stations expected to open didn’t, preventing up to 350,000 people from voting, according to the electoral commission.
Many of the communities unable to vote were already marginalised, and civil society organisations say the president will need to work harder in his second term to unite an increasingly divided country.
“He should make sure that promises not met during the last five years will be met in order to alleviate social discontent. The social discontent is not only happening in big towns but that is happening more and more in the countryside,” said Chrysogone Zougmore, president of the Burkinabe Movement for Human Rights, a local advocacy group.
Citizens in violence-ridden regions say the government has to improve security so it can focus on development, “to keep young people busy so that they no longer indulge in terrorism," said the Emir of Liptako, Ousmane Amirou Dicko, who lives in the Sahel region's Dori town.
As Kabore’s supporters celebrated, opposition supporters said they’ll accept the results but expect the opposition to hold the ruling party accountable.
“There is a need to be watchful. Everyone needs to participate in managing the country,” said Paul Lengane, an Ouagadougou resident.