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Guinean Authorities Pledge Electoral Reforms, ECONEC Team Concludes Follow-Up Mission

President, ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) and Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu (6th right), other members of his team and officials of the Ministry of Territorial Administration after their meeting in Conakry on June 13.

By Paul Ejime

June 13, 2018

The Secretary General in Guinea’s Territorial Administration and Decentralization Ministry, Dr. Yamori Conde has assured visiting ECONEC delegation led by Prof Mahmood Yakubu that the Ministry is working with other stakeholders under a Technical Follow-up Committee to resolve issues related to the disputed results of the country’s municipal elections held last February 4.

The disputes involving results of 12 constituencies, which are before the court, have stalled local administration in Guinea’s 342 Administrative Districts.

Receiving Prof Yakubu’s eighth-member delegation in Conakry on Wednesday 13th June, on behalf of the Minister, Dr Conde said the issue would be resolved to ensure the inauguration of elected candidates in 330 constituencies, while the court addressed the cases of the disputed 12, according to law.

The Ministry plays a major role in Guinea’s electoral process, including the registration of political parties, coordination of civil society organisations and general administration at national and local levels. The country has parliamentary polls in 2019 and a crucial presidential vote in 2020.

The inconclusive municipal elections and other issues related to the recommendations of the ECOWAS observation mission to Guinea’s 2015 presidential election, have featured in consultations between Guinea’s political stakeholders and Prof Yabubu’s delegation, including Prof Emmanuel Tiando, ECONEC First Vice President and Chair of Benin Republic Electoral Commission, on a post-election Follow-up Mission (PEFM) to Guinea.

Prof Yakubu urged the stakeholders including Guinea’s Electoral Commission, CENI, Civil society organisations, ruling and opposition political parties represented at the National Assembly, and development partners, to work towards effective implementation of the recommendations.

They include cleaning up the Vote Register, reform of CENI to make it more technical and professional, reform of the legal framework to address issues related to the use of Envelopes for ballot papers and transmission of election results.

The ECONEC president explained that the implementation of the recommendations would ensure a political level playing field to enable CENI deliver credible elections for the deepening of democratic culture in the country.

He explained that the achievement of such goals will impact positively on the quest for credible elections and consolidation of democracy in the ECOWAS regions.

Prof Mahmood promised that ECONEC would support capacity strengthening of CENI and also appeal to external partners for necessary support in line with ECONEC’s mandate of assisting its members to live up to their responsibilities.

The Guinea Mission, supported by the German International Development Agency (GIZ), Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) and INEC, include National Commissioner, Prof. Anthonia Simbine, Resident Electortal Commissioner, Federal Capital Territory, Alhaji Yahaya Bello and Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi. ECONEC’s Programme Officer, Mr Rauof Salami and an EISA representative, Ms. Marie Digbeu.

The Mission will submit a report, which will serve as basis for planning and adjusting ECOWAS Electoral Assistance Division’s future electoral support to the specific needs of Member States.

Under Prof. Yakubu’s leadership from March 2017, ECONEC has among other activities, undertaken Needs Assessment and Solidarity Missions to Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone. It has also carried out a study on the cost of elections and co-organised an International Conference in Abuja on the challenges and opportunities in the use of technology in elections.  Its advocacy has also resulted in the provision of technical and logistical support to Liberia and Sierra Leone during their recent national elections.

Secretary General, Ministry of Territorial Administration, Dr Yamori Conde (2nd right) and other officials of the Ministry at the meeting.

L-R: Programme Officer, ECONEC, Mr Raouf Salami, President, ECONEC Governing Board, and Chairman, Independent National Electoral Ciommission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, First Vice President and Chair, Benin Republic Electoral Commission, Prof. Emmanuel Tiando, National Commissioner, Prof. Anthonia Simbine and Resident Electoral Commissioner, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr. Yahaya Bello mat the meeting.

Cross section of officials of the Ministry of Territorial Administration.