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Burkinabe journalist elected head of electoral body for next five years

Burkinabe journalist elected head of electoral body for next five years

Burkina Faso

A Burkinabe journalist, Newton Ahmed Barry, has been elected as president of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) of the west African nation for a term of five years.

Barry, is an investigative journalist who until his appointment on Monday, was editor of the privately-owned biweekly ‘The Event.’ Mr. Barry was elected unanimously by the fifteen members of the Commission, AFP reports.

Seen as an independent man, Barry said he would work on the issues of “ethics to allow the voters to express themselves in all sincerity”. He replaces Mr. Barthelemy Kere who was in this position for ten years and whose term has expired.

Barry was a prominent face on Burkinabe national television till 8 years ago when he quit the channel to protest the murder of journalist Norbert Zongo, a case that rocked the presidency of Blaise Compaore.

After quitting the national broadcaster, Ahmed Barry joined the investigative weekly paper, ‘The Independent Zongo,’ before co-founding ‘The Event’ in 2001 with a colleague from ‘The Independent,’ Bitiou Germain Nama, who was a longtime friend of Nobert Zongo. The Event specialized in major reports and investigation.

Barry was very critical of the fallen regime of Blaise Compaore, he was also perceived as being hostile towards the “transition” government that succeeded the Compaore regime in 2014.

He has been summoned several times by court over his publications with the former publisher saying that he was repeatedly threatened under the Compaore regime and his newspaper burglarized several times.