Why so long, #Mauritania?

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ImageA question that has perplexed me since last May when the process began: why does Mauritania’s ruling regime need to take so long to register so few people in their national registration? They have received millions of dollars in funding, support from international agencies, are using the latest biometric systems, boast of having opened new offices with specially-trained staff. They also claimed the 2009 national election that brought Aziz into power was “free and fair”. Why so long? What could have changed so dramatically in the space of less than 2 years between the presidential election and the start of this census?

Compare the Mauritanian lack of progress with events this past two weeks in Libya, where – despite ongoing conflict, social, political and other issues –  1.1 million people have reportedly registered to vote for the first time in decades. It has taken just 10 days so far.

I suspect there are nefarious reasons for this tardy approach, and it is highly unlikely that the delays and foot-dragging are to “ensure transparency” (the excuse used to explain the cancellation of legislative, municipal and parliamentary elections).

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