By Paul Ejime
The Prof Mahmood Yakubu-led ECONEC delegation met in Conakry, Tuesday 12 June with Members of Parliament of Guinea’s political parties as part of the team’s electoral mid-term follow-up mission to rally stakeholders towards creating a conducive atmosphere for sustained credible elections and consolidation of democracy in the country and the ECOWAS region.
Although it was a public holiday in Guinea, the meeting at the National Parliament building under renovation, was attended by three groups of political parties with MPs at the National Legislature – the ruling RPG Alliance, the opposition GP Liberal Democrats and the non-aligned GP Alliance.
As in previous consultations with other stakeholders since the delegation’s arrival on 7 June, including the National Electoral Commission, CENI, civil society organisations and development partners, Tuesday’s talks centred on the need for effective implementation of the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission’s recommendations in the aftermath of the 2015 presidential poll, and provisions of the October 2016 Political Accord.
These include structured Political Dialogue, reforms at CENI to make it more technical and professional, as well as legal and political reforms to smooth impediments to seamless electoral process, and encourage political tolerance, credible and peaceful elections, and strengthening of electoral best practices.
Guinea has its next parliamentary elections in 2019 and a crucial presidential poll in 2020. The MPs thanked ECOWAS and ECONEC for their efforts and called for continued support to Guinea to entrench international best practices in its electoral system.
Prof Yakubu promised that ECONEC would within its capacity, provide support and advocate for the strengthening of CENI, in line with the Network’s mandate to assist its members to deliver credible elections and deepen democracy in the region.
Since assuming the presidency of ECONECs’ governing board in March 2017, Prof. Yakubu, who is also Chair of Nigeria’s Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), has led similar ECONEC peer-review, information sharing and support missions to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire.
ECONEC Team (left) with Members of Parliament of Guinea’s Political Parties at the National Assembly Complex, Conakry on June 12.