Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma; has sent message of felicitations to the people of Benin as they go to the polls to elect a successor to outgoing Thomas Boni Yayi.
The AU Chief posted two messages on social media (micro blogging platform, twitter) tasking Beninese to conduct ‘peaceful and orderly’ polls and beyond the polls resort to due process to address any post electoral issues that may arise.Her first tweet read as follows:
‘‘Best wishes to our Sisters & Brothers in #Benin voting today to elect a new President. May the polls be peaceful & orderly. #BeninDecides.’‘
Dr. Zuma in a second tweet further tasked the candidates to ensure that beyond the polls being peaceful, they would seek any redress through the proper channels.
‘‘I urge all to accept the results of the #Benin Presidential#Elections. Sh’d (should) there be disputes, pls (please) use recognised channels to seek redress,’‘ she tweeted again.
About the Benin polls
There are a record 33 candidates on the ballot sheet. Voting has started since morning and so far reports indicate that it has been smooth.
President Yayi Boni has already voted as have several of the candidates in the race. The ruling party chose Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou, who is seen in some quarters as the candidate of the French government given his Franco-Beninese roots.
Beside Zinsou, front runners in the race include two prominent businessmen, Sebastian Avajon and Patrice Talon. Also in the race are Abdoulaye Bio Tchane, an economist and financier Pascal Irenee Koupaki.
Thomas Boni Yayi has served two terms of five years each since assuming power in 2006 and was barred from extending his stay in power as per the constitutional term limit.