Some four million registered voters in Benin began queuing Sunday (March 5) at polling stations throughout the West African country to choose a successor to President Mathieu Kerekou who has been in power since 1972, except for a five-year break when Nicephore Soglo ruled. Twenty-six candidates are in the race for president. But political analysts believe candidates Adrien Houngbedji, Bruno Amoussou and Yayi Boni are front runners. Kerekou and Soglo are not running this time because the more

Six of Benin’s seven trade union confederations on Tuesday (January 24) began a two-day stoppage to demand that the government hand over funds needed for presidential elections next March. Schools and government offices ground to a halt and state television and radio broadcasts were cut back due to the strike call, but many businesses remained open as usual due to the refusal by the country’s biggest trade union, the CSTB, to sign on to the stoppage.

A continuing economic crisis in Benin has left the government without funds to pay for presidential elections in March 2006, according to Finance Minister Cosme Sehlin. Unlike the heads of states of regional neighbours Chad, Burkina Faso and Gabon, President Mathieu Kerekou has agreed to step down next March when his second mandate expires. But Benin's cash crunch could harm this gesture of democracy. During parliamentary question time last week, Finance Minister Sehlin confirmed that more

Benin has deposited with the AU on the 13th October 2005 the instrument of ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, adopted in July 2003 in Maputo. Only one precious ratification is still missing before we celebrate our protocol. It won’t be long as Togo has also sent today its instrument of ratification to AU by express mail.

The devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in the United States has given added urgency to Benin's plans to protect its coastline against erosion. The quick advance of the Atlantic Ocean is visible in the small West African nation. The fury of the sea waves have eaten up many homes, hundreds of beach residents have been forced to pack up and go, and experts are warning of catastrophe if vigorous action is not taken immediately. One great danger is that the country's main city, Cotonou, with more