News Brief
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Voters queue to vote at a polling station in Ouagadougou on November 22, 2020, during Burkina Faso's presidential and legislative elections.

Burkina Faso Commences Presidential Elections Despite Jihadist Attacks

Burkina Faso has gone ahead with the country's scheduled presidential elections despite continued attacks from Jihadist groups.

According to EWN, Burkina Faso went ahead with planned elections this past Sunday despite Jihadist threats which resulted in more than a fifth of the country not being able to vote. Additionally, opposition parties have been adamant about unseating current President Roch Marc Christian Kabore. According to Business Day news, Burkina Faso has been facing an unprecedented increase in Al-Qaeda related attacks which have destablised the country.


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For the first time ever, citizens living outside of Burkina Faso were reportedly allowed to cast their votes. BBC reports that Ivory Coast alone has over 1.7 million potential Burkina Faso voters. President Kaboré cast his vote at a school in Ouagadougou and encouraged people to do the same. Kabore has been president since 2015 and served under former President Blaise Compaoré who was president for three decades. Compaoré was ousted in 2014 and currently lives in exile.

Al Jazeera reports that the elections went relatively smoothly although some polling stations in the eastern region had to be closed because of safety concerns. Jihadists crossing over from Mali entered Burkina Faso about four years ago. Just last week, fourteen of Kabore's military soldiers were killed in a Jihadist ambush for which ISIS later claimed responsibility. Opposition parties have reportedly promised to host peace talks with the terror groups if voted into power. Kabore has reportedly refused this position and instead indicated increasing the number of security and army forces.

Kabore's government signed in a new electoral code this past August. The "extraordinary circumstances" code allowed for presidential and legislative elections to go ahead even if several polling stations cannot open. Opposition parties were dissatisfied by parliament invoking the new code and pledged an unofficial alliance as part of efforts to unseat Kabore in the elections. The change to the electoral code benefits Kabore's political party which has strong support from voters in areas that aren't affected by the violence, including Ouagadougou.

Kabore is, expected to win the election for a second presidential term. His main opposition are Zephirin Diabre, a former finance minister, and Eddie Komboigo, a candidate from the former ruling party. Results are expected to be in by the end of this week.

Interview

Interview: Terri Is Stepping Out of the Shadows

We talk to the Wizkid-signed artist about the story behind the massive hit "Soco" and his latest Afro Series EP.

Certain afrobeats songs have made in-roads in international markets and paved the way for the genre's ceaselessly-rising widespread recognition. Among these history-defining songs were D'banj's "Oliver Twist," Tekno's "Pana," Davido's "If" & "Fall," Runtown's "Mad Over You," and of course, Wizkid's "Soco." Wizkid released "Soco" under his label imprint, Starboy Entertainment in March 2018, and the song spread like wildfire across Africa and beyond. "Soco" was an Afro-pop wonder delivered at a time when the 'afrobeats to the world' movement was gathering steam, further cementing its electric nature. The Northboi-produced song was co-signed by celebrities across the world like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Paul Pogba and has accrued well over a hundred million streams across streaming platforms worldwide.

"Soco" was not only a trailblazer amongst mid-2010s afrobeats records, it was also the introduction of the first Wizkid-signed artist, Terri. Just weeks before "Soco" was released, Terri was discovered by Wizkid's longtime producer, Mutay, who saw him covering the song "Oshe" on social media.

Before "Soco," Terri Akewe was well on his way to fame. At fifteen, he had performed at street carnivals in his neighbourhood and, one time, was carried all the way home by neighbours after winning a Coca-Cola sponsored singing competition. Before his life-changing meeting with Wizkid, Terri had a seven-track EP ready for release, as well as a viral song titled "Voices." "One time I was on set with the video director T.G Omori, he told me that 'Voices' was the first time he heard of me" Terri tells me as we settle on a plush couch at his home in Lagos.

Regardless of Terri's initial career trajectory; signing to a label headed by afrobeats' biggest superstar was bound to accelerate his musical journey, and at the same time, cast a huge shadow of expectation on his career, especially given a debut as spectacular as "Soco." With his latest EP, Afro Series, powered by the sensational single "Ojoro," one thing is clear: Terri is stepping out of the shadows into his own spotlight and he is doing it on his own terms.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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