Mali's Challenger Concedes, As Zimbabwe Fights Election Results

Guest host Celeste Headlee and editor Ammad Omar crack open the inbox for listener feedback and story updates. This week, they discuss recent elections in Africa.

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CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

And now it's time for BackTalk. That's where we hear from you, the listener. Editor Ahmad Omar is here with us once again. What's going on, Ahmad?

AMMAD OMAR, BYLINE: Hey, Celeste. I wanted to start with some news updates. A couple weeks ago, we talked about two big elections in Africa...

HEADLEE: ...Right.

OMAR: ...And we have some updates on those races this week.

HEADLEE: OK, let's hear them.

OMAR: All right. So first of all, in Mali, the front runner in that race, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, won the presidential runoff in a landslide. He took more than 77 percent of the vote.

HEADLEE: And that's really a country to watch. There was a military coup there last year, and then Al Qaeda affiliated groups took control of the northern part of the country.

OMAR: Right, and then French troops came in and they helped push back...

HEADLEE: ...Right.

OMAR: ...Those Al Qaeda forces. Now, people are really hoping that this election will help bring some stability to the country after all of that turmoil. So President Keita's challenger in Mali, Soumaila Cisse, conceded defeat in the race, but that's not the case down in Zimbabwe. Eighty-nine-year-old Robert Mugabe won his election over the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, but Tsvangirai isn't conceding anything over there. He says the election was rigged, and he's appealing to the constitutional court, Celeste. There's supposed to be a hearing on that this weekend, in the constitutional court down in Zimbabwe. So we'll keep you updated on that.

HEADLEE: And we actually got some pretty interesting comments from Mugabe, right?

OMAR: Yeah, interesting is one way to put it. He basically said anyone who thought the election was rigged can kill themselves.

HEADLEE: Harsh.

OMAR: Yeah, according to the AP - and this is translated - he told supporters, quote, those who are smarting from defeat can commit suicide if they so wish, but I tell them even dogs will not sniff at their flesh if they choose to die that way. We have thrown the enemy away like garbage.

HEADLEE: OK. So what else have you got?

OMAR: We did a roundtable this week about stranger danger.

HEADLEE: That's right because, you know, many kids were raised thinking you need to stay away from strangers, but it turns out that most kids are either - if they are abused or kidnapped, it's by somebody that they know.

OMAR: Right, well, we got a tweet all the way from Marrakesh in Morocco about that...

HEADLEE: ...Wow.

OMAR: ...Segment. Yeah. Dom Huntman tweets to @Celeste Headlee and @TellMeMoreNPR, do not downplay the existence and importance of stranger danger, it does happen, and such training has saved kids.

HEADLEE: Thanks to Dom. Thanks, Ahmad. And remember, at TELL ME MORE, the conversation never really ends. You can tell us more by sending an e-mail to TELLMEMORE@NPR.org. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We're @TELLMEMORENPR. Stick with us, Ahmad. We're heading to the Barbershop next. And you're coming with me.

OMAR: Yes, ma'am.

HEADLEE: We're going to ask you and the guys about what's going on in Egypt. Also, Jesse Jackson Jr. is coming to terms with his two and a half year sentence for misusing campaign funds.

(SOUNDBITE OF INTERVIEW)

JACKSON JR.: Today I manned up and tried to accept responsibility for the errors of my ways, and I still believe in the resurrection.

HEADLEE: We'll ask if Jesse Jackson Jr. really has any chance of a comeback. That's just ahead on TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee.

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