ECOWAS Observation Mission Satisfied with Liberian Election, Calls for Calm 

 

THE former President John Mahama-led ECOWAS Observation Mission has described Liberia’s 26 December presidential run-off vote as peaceful and satisfactory with the process up to the counting of ballots transparent and credible.

In its four-page Preliminary Declaration read by the Ghanaian Statesman in Monrovia on Wednesday, December 27, the Mission called for calm and patience as Liberians awaited the results.

The Mission urged the National Elections Commission (NEC) “to work diligently and expedite action on the proclamation of the provisional results in order to avoid creating anxiety within the polity.”

It also called on the two candidates, Senator George Weah and out-going Vice President Joseph Boakai “to gracefully accept the will of the people.”

They should “refrain from prematurely declaring results” and “in the event of genuine grievances, to resort exclusively to legal means to seek redress,” the ECOWAS Mission counselled.

The Mission congratulated NEC for its professionalism and the measures put in place with the support of an ECOWAS Technical Team, to improve the electoral process.

 It also commended Liberians for their patience, determination and peaceful conduct and called on development partners to continue to provide more support to Liberia in order to ensure that the country “maintains its progress towards political and socio-economic development.”

A cross section of audience at the press conference
A cross section of audience at the press conference

In her remarks, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Halima Ahmed urged Liberian political actors to continue to demonstrate political maturity for the consolidation of democracy in the country, which is on the throes of witnessing the first peaceful political transition of government in 73 years, and since the end of a devastating civil war in Africa’s first Republic founded by freed slaves from American in 1847.

NEC was expected to start releasing the poll results from Wednesday, with the final tally expected within the next 72 hours.

Among dignitaries at the well-attended conference on Wednesday were the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), Farid Zarif and the Head of the African Union Observer Mission, Erastus Mwencha, who also read his team’s Preliminary Declaration, which echoed the sentiments expressed by the ECOWAS Mission.

Also present were the ECOWAS Special Representative to Liberia Ambassador Babatunde Ajisomo, envoys of ECOWAS member States serving in Liberia, and representatives of other International observer teams.

The 35-member ECOWAS Observation Mission, which included Secretariat staff of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), were deployed by the ECOWAS Commission’s President Marcel Alain de Souza in line with provisions of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, which mandates the Commission to assist member States holding elections.

ECOWAS had sent 71 Long-term and Short-Term Observers to the first round of Liberia’s presidential and legislative polls on 10th October, which produced the two frontrunners but without a clear winner.

The winner of the run-off vote will replace out-going President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a Nobel Laureate and Africa’s first democratically elected female president, whose  constitutionally allowed two-terms end by 16 January 2018.

  • Dec. 28, 2017 @ 12:54 GMT |

ECOWAS Observer Mission commends Liberians for Peaceful October 10 Vote

 

JOHN Mahama, head of the ECOWAS 71-member Election Observation Mission to Liberia,  has commended Liberians for seizing the opportunity of the October 10, crucial elections to “exercise their sovereign right to decide who leads them.”

“This Mission believes thus far, that with the environment in the lead up to the elections, voting day activities, sorting and counting of the ballots, Liberia is on track to achieve a credible poll,” Mahama, Ghana’s immediate-past President said in Monrovia on Wednesday while reading the Mission’s Preliminary Declaration on Tuesday’s presidential and legislative elections.

By Thursday, results of the polls were being expected from across Liberia’s 15 administrative Counties, where some 2.18 million registered voters cast their ballots in a generally peaceful environment.

The ECOWAS Mission urged Liberia’s National Elections Commission, NEC, “to approach the concluding phases of the process with fairness and transparency until the proclamation of the results.”

It also called “on the political leaders, the candidates, their followers and the media to maintain the same posture of restraint, serenity and patriotism until the collation and announcement of the results.”

“The ECOWAS Observation Mission urges NEC to expedite action on the proclamation of the provisional results to prevent further anxiety with the polity,” Mahama urged.

“In light of the few challenges identified by the ECOWAS Observers in the field,” the Mission made seven recommendations, including the need for relevant and early training of electoral officials, and provision of adequate financial resources to NEC in a timely manner to facilitate its operations.

The ECOWAS Mission also recommended timely voter verification exercise to be conducted by NEC in accordance with the law, to enhance voter identification; improvement in the Final Registration Roll, FRR, by arranging names in alphabetical order and ensuring that photos match serial numbers of voters.

There should also improvement in the provision for vulnerable groups, including pregnant women, nursing mothers, persons with disability and the aged, by giving them priority to cast their votes, the Declaration said.

The Mission “noted with concern the isolated cases of violence during the electoral process in some parts of the country,” and commended the security forces, especially the Liberia National Police for arresting the situation.

It specifically congratulated the NEC leadership and officials for the “professionalism demonstrated throughout the electoral process,” and also lauded the UN Mission in Liberia, UNMIL, for its support to NEC, particularly with the airlift of electoral material to Counties that are inaccessible by road.

The Mission equally “congratulated the candidates, their parties, supporters and the electorate for their maturity during the campaign and the voting process.”

It appealed to all candidates to put Liberia first by maintaining peace, and “to gracefully accept the will of the people and in the event of genuine grievances to resort exclusively to legal means to seek redress.”

Among dignitaries at the event, were the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Liberia Farid Sarif, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative and Head of the UN Office in West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Head of the African Union Observation Mission to Liberia Erastus Mwencha, and Prof. Mahmood Yakubu President of the governing board of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions, ECONEC, and chair of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

There were also representatives of other International Observer Groups, including the European Union (EU), Carter Center, Open Society Initiative for West Africa, OSIWA, U.S. National Democratic Institute, NDI, International Foundation for Electoral Systems, IFES, Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, EISA, West Africa Network for Peacebuilding, WANEP, Mano River Union, MRU, and the Women’s Situation Room, working for peace and non-violent elections in Africa.

Twenty candidates – 17 sponsored by political parties including the only female, and three independent flag bearers, are seeking to replace out-going Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, while more than 980 candidates are contesting for the 73 parliamentary seats at stake through the October 10 elections.

Liberia has an estimated population of 4.5 million with 2.18 million registered voters and the elections were held in 2,080 Polling Precincts (Centres) with 5,390 Polling Places (Stations) nationwide.

– Oct 12, 2017 @ 14:17  GMT /

 

 

 

 

#AccraBOG2017 Cameroon to host 2018 ACBF Board of Governors’ Meeting

By Maureen Chigbo, reporting from Accra, Ghana

| Sept 6, 2017 @ 5:18 GMT |

 

THE 26 annual meeting of the board of governors of the African Capacity Building Foundation, ACBF, ended in Accra, Ghana, on Tuesday, September 5, with the resolution that Cameroon will be the host for 2018 edition at a yet to be determined date.

The meeting also resolved to mobilise about $250 million in the next five years to build the capacity of countries in Africa to be able to implement their development programmes for the socio-economic transformation of the continent in line with the Agenda 2063 of the Africa Union.  Of this figure, only a paltry $20 million has been made by Africa with donor agencies such as World Bank and United Nations Development Programme also pledging their commitment.

The meeting which stated that ACBF should be fully supported by African countries to build the required capacity for its development also resolved that the region must leverage on its natural resources in the right way to generate funding internally for its programmes instead resorting to external funding mechanism. This will enable the countries to be in control of their affairs rather that have funding agencies dictate the type and pace of implementing development programmes because they are providing the funds. As Goodal Gondwe, chair of the ACBF board of governors, said on the first day of the meeting that whoever pays the piper, dictates the tune.

At the brief closing ceremony of the board of governors meeting Ken Offori-Ata, minister of Finance, formerly handed over the baton of the host country to minister of Finance from Cameroon who thankfully accepted, lauding Ghana for being an excellent host to the just ended meeting.

Goodall Gondwe, chair of ACBF Board of governors
Goodall Gondwe, chair of ACBF Board of governors

Other officials of ACBF at the closing ceremony include Gondwe, Erastus Mwencha, chair of ACBF executive board and Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie, executive secretary of the ACBF.

 

The 26 BOG meeting provided the platform for prominent African Stakeholders to share key information and participate in focused and indepth discussion on issues relating to financing for development in Africa in three critical areas: mapping of main resources available to African governments for the implementing development programmes; strategies and means to mobilise the resources and the best practices for the effective utilisation and absorption of the resources.

Prof. Nnadozie
Prof. Nnadozie

The stakeholders comprising members of the academia, public and private sectors saw the theme of the conference (Building Capacity and Mobilising Resources for Africa’s Transformation) as timely and in line with the current African and international development agendas. Some of them who talked to Realnews echoed the thoughts expressed in the concept notes of the meeting stating in fact the Africa Union’s Agenda 2063 and the post-2015 global development agenda highlight the necessity for African countries to tap into their domestic resources in order to finance their development goals while using donor resources as supplements.

According to the concept notes, “globally more financial resources are available, but the challenge has just not been on how to access them but how to utilise and absorb them after they have been mobilised. The inability of countries to absorb the resources made available to them by development partners remains a glaring challenge requiring special capacity building attention.

This is why the ACBF needs all the support and funding from both African countries and funding partners to generate the required resources to build the capacity to take the continent to greater heights.