Panafrican News Agency

African Union Commissioner promises to revamp election observation in Africa

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - The African Union’s Commissioner for political affairs, peace and security, Bankole Adeoye, has pledged to ensure all elections held in Africa deliver accurate results reflecting the will of the voters.

In his first major news conference since taking office, Adeoye, who made history as the first candidate to receive 100 per cent vote of the African Union Heads of State and Government Summit to the post, said democracy was key to helping Africa achieve its goal of silencing the guns.

Adeoye said, under his leadership, the AU had successfully sent election observer missions to 10 African countries which conducted successful elections to enhance stability.

However, two of those elections later turned politically tragic with the death of the Chadian Presideembernt Idris Derby and the military coup in Mali.

Mali slid into chaos when military officers led by Colonel Assimi Goita seized power from President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August 2020 following irregularities in the April elections.

There was popular revolt when opposition leader Soumaila Cisse was kidnapped.

The electoral crisis turned into a political crisis. Despite the composition of a hybrid civilian-military led transitional government in September, a counter coup took place shortly after the end of the four-month long transitional government inaugurated in September 2020.

President Bah N’daw, Prime Minister Moctar Ouane and Defence Minister Souleyane Douocoure were arrested on 24 May, 2021, in another coup.

“We are working to guarantee the right to vote and the right to decent living conditions in Africa. We want to take these rights to a higher level. We are also working to re-jig the election observation in Africa,” the new Commissioner said.

The African Union’s observation missions in Africa have become the laughing stock in some instances because the observer missions often rubberstamped the return of incumbents to power through the ballot.

The 'see no evil, hear no evil' approach to the election observation missions has been frowned upon by civil society across Africa.

However, on Friday, the AU revealed that it had substantially overhauled its systems and spent months since the installation of the new Commission reform the internal working mechanisms.

In Zambia, the AU worked behind the scenes to ensure the Zambian electoral body delivered on its mandate while various teams and organs of the African Union, including its Panel of the Wise, engaged various mechanisms to ensure the outcome of the elections were credible and the loser conceded peacefully.

“In Zambia, we introduced mediation efforts and conflict prevention. The incumbent President accepting the results had an element of our rallying around to ensure proper outcomes were delivered by the electoral commission,” Adeoye said.

“We knew the best method was to prevent conflict because all through the campaign period, there were indications of political violence, restrictions on the campaigns and we knew the best method was to prevent conflict,” Adeoye revealed.

The reforms are in line with the recommendations of the President Paul Kagame-led AU Reform team.

Adeoye said his team had been working to ensure the AU become more assertive in its fight against international terrorism, strengthening the peace and security in Africa and building inclusive partnerships with various teams and organisations including the media to be successful.

He said change management experts had been deployed to help the AU Peace and Security Department to improve its conflict reporting and situational analysis to provide better results.

The process would lead to strategic re-arrangement of the working systems within the AU and the creation of six Task Teams, which would would be dealing with crises situations in Africa, including Somalia and the Sahel.

-0- PANA AO/RA 3Sep2021