A commission probing Haiti’s disputed presidential election reported Sunday that a first-round vote was plagued by irregularities, but indicated a final run-off can take place as scheduled in two weeks.
The report says the Oct. 25 contest between 54 candidates was “stained by irregularities,” in which poll watchers intervened to help several candidates, whom it doesn’t name. It recommends possible legal action against poll workers and others involved.
It also urges measures to improve the transparency of the election, saying the dispute over the October vote shows “clearly that the electoral institution no longer enjoys the credibility that permits it to continue with the process without the danger of sinking the country into a still-more-serious crisis.”
But it did not indicate that the problems were serious enough to affect the outcome of the October vote or force further delay of the planned Jan. 17 run-off.
Opposition parties dispute official results showing pro-government candidate Moise Jovenel topping the October vote. He’s due to confront second-place finisher Jude Celestin, who also has challenged the official count.
IASTV Magazine News Contributor &Editor
“Everybody Loves Sweet Mickey”
Haitian President Michele Martelly, aka Sweet Mickey, a novice politician who rose to power after a career as a flamboyant controversial pop star, was portrayed as his country’s best hope to end the political gridlock in Haiti. The presidential election of 2010 was the beginning of an inspiring change for millions of Haitians, especially after the devastating earthquake that struck in January 2010, killing more than 200,000 people in the poorest nation of the western hemisphere. After a contested second-round runoff election that was stained with violence and street protests, Sweet Mickey, now President Michele Martelly, is the chief executive of his impoverished nation.
During Martelly’s 2010 campaign, he made many promises, such as free education, social programs that would guarantee the safety net of millions, rebuilding of the nation’s infrastructures, criminal justice reform, and lastly, a government inclusive of all political actors.
The political strategy of the newly elected president was to play into his “everybody loves Sweet Mickey” persona in order to break the political brinkmanship in Haiti that had impeded foreign investors, tourists, and economic growth. But there is only one problem; his alter ego known as Sweet Mickey has kept President Martelly hostage.
How would Haitians judge his political tenure as the head of state? Rather, one should ask, who is advising the Haitian president? Those are questions that are puzzling most political analysts in Haiti. Yet, the international community is supporting his presidency. The United States, Canada, and France have been his administration’s political lifeline for the past four years. President Martelly has become the most divisive president since Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Haiti’s self-proclaimed emperor from 1804 to 1806.
President Martelly’s motto has been “Haiti is open for business” by outsourcing Haiti’s natural resources to foreign companies, bypassing the Haitian parliament to avoid no-bid contracts, nepotism in government jobs, lack of government oversight, hostility towards the free press, and manipulation of Haiti’s criminal justice system with unqualified flim-flam judges in the judicial system.
President Martelly has alienated most of Haitian people’s political goodwill, but foreign investors love the free-for-all rampage of Haiti’s natural treasures that is being facilitated by Sweet Mickey. President Martelly’s “take no prisoners” attitude has failed to organize a free democratic election in Haiti for more than four years. The Haitian congress has been dissolved; most elected city councilmen, assemblymen, and other local elected officials’ terms have been expired. Therefore, Sweet Mickey is running Haiti by decree.
The international community has turned a blind eye, but why? Haiti has been under the United Nation’s military occupation for nearly 12 years, supported by the United States, Canada, and France. The pretext for the occupation is under the banner of providing stability to Haiti, which is not at risk for any civil war.
The U.N. mission in Haiti has been a colossal failure; based on the United Nation’s own internal investigation, over 10,000 Haitians have been negligently murdered from a cholera outbreak that was imported to Haiti by the United Nation’s so-called peacekeepers from Nepal. Today, many are questioning the United Nation’s mission in Haiti.
In fact, we can argue that Haiti is safer than Chicago, New York City, New Orleans, Baltimore, Miami–Dade, and Washington, D.C. The Haitian Embassy should place a travel alert for Haitians not to visit or reside in these gang-infested, bloody U.S. cities or in France, where Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists indiscriminately are slaughtering innocent civilians by the numbers.
The world community has no choice but to support President Martelly. They invested so much in promoting him as the new face of Haiti, and therefore, his failure will be viewed as their failure to rescue Haiti after 14 years of military occupation.
Some argue that there have been visible and tangible successes in Haiti: per diem is being issued to state university students to supplement meals and books; road construction projects are being supported; additional airports are being built; crime has been reduced; international hotels such as Marriott and Best Western have been made operational to accommodate the influx of tourists; the state educational system has been revamped; and better foreign relations have been fostered.
President Martelly’s mandate is coming to an end on Feb. 7, 2016. The Haitian government and its international partners have made concerted efforts to organize elections in Haiti. However, the Aug. 9, 2015, legislative election was a disaster in which most of President Martelly’s political party, Pati Ayisyen Tet Kale (PHTK), were accused of ballot stuffing, waste fraud, abuse of government property, and improper usage of public funds. Concrete evidence was provided by Radio Zenith FM (train matinal) that government funds are still being used to promote PHTK candidates.
The first round of the presidential election on Oct. 25, 2015, in Haiti was relatively calm, but according to critics, underneath what was visible to the untrained human eye, it was a fraudulent factory orchestrated by the highest level of government. Jovenel Moïse is President Martelly’s hand-picked successor, and he was declared to be in first place in the presidential election. Jude Célestin, the runner-up candidate, also has qualified for the second round of the presidential election since both candidates did not secure the majority of 50 percent of the popular vote in the first-round election.
Former Senator Moise Jean-Charles and businessman Jude Célestin are believed to be the real winners of the first-round presidential election by most Haitians, and they are highly suspicious of the obscure businessman Jovenel Moïse, aka “neg bannan nan” or “the banana man,” who owns one of Haiti’s largest export plantations for organic banana agricultural, which also is financed by President Martelly’s administration.
The second round of the elections has been postponed due to serious allegations of fraud and massive street protest by political opposition leaders. An independent commission has been established to verify the validity of the frauds and irregularities, but uncertainty remains whether the country will have an elected president or a transitional government to replace President Martelly on Feb. 7, 2016.
President Martelly’s political strategy is “poisoning the political well” in Haiti. Someone needs to tell the president that “the buck stops with him,” an expression meaning “Mr. President, take responsibility for the electoral crises”.
Peter F. Mulrean, the United States Ambassador in Haiti, has committed a fragrant foul by interjecting himself into the crises by provoking opposition leaders when stated in local radio stations and newspapers that he has not seen any evidence of massive fraud. The U.S Embassy in Haiti is in full crises mode to neutralize the perception of the U.S manipulation of Haitian’s politics, and that can spell a disaster for Hillary Clinton, the front-runner of the democratic nomination in 2016.
The Obama administration is aware of the power of the Haitian-American diaspora, alongside with the Cuban-American vote in the swing-state of Florida. Many Haitians are angry in the diaspora, the sentiment is “yo pa vle neg bannann nan” the rejection of Jovenel Moïse, aka “the banana man” as the hand-picked successor of Michele Martelly. The Cuban’s are also angry for the open foreign relations between the United States and the oppressive Castro’s regime in Cuba, and Michelle Martelly was one of the mediators between Cuba and the United States.
The electoral crisis in Haiti can be resolved only by the imminent withdrawal of Jovenel Moïse as candidate. Any other attempt will lead the country to a transitional government because time is of the essence. And it is mathematically impossible for the newly formed electoral independent commission to set recommendations to the Board of Election (CEP) in Haiti and then set a new date for both the legislative and presidential second-round runoff elections. Moreover, all elected lawmakers should be sworn in by the second week of January, and a new president must replace outgoing President Martelly on Feb. 7, 2016.
How can a beloved pop star manage to become so divisive? Haiti is now facing an electoral crisis, severe inflation, broken promises from both President Martelly and the international community, and a climate of insecurity.
President Martelly has been taunting the press to anticipate the release of his new carnival folk song after he leaves office; he is planning to answer his political foes and media critics, especially radio personalities from Zenith FM, Radio Kiskeya’s Liliane Pierre Paul, and other political activists. We all can assume his final words to the nation will be “sak pat konn Mickey men Mickey,” or expletive, expletive, as he always ends most of his bombastic past performances.