ECONEC Team meets electoral stakeholders in Conakry

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The ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) team continued with its Mid-Term Follow-Up Mission to Guinea on Monday, holding separate meetings with the ECOWAS Resident Representative to Guinea, Mrs Lilliane Alapini, the diplomatic community, development partners and civil society organisations.
At the meeting with Alapini, President of the ECONEC Governing Board and Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the team was in Conakry to review what had taken place since Guinea’s Presidential election in 2015, assess the level of compliance with the regional body’s recommendations arising from the observation of the election and carry out a Needs Assessment.
Yakubu said the team had also visited Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire on a similar mission, “and next will be Niger Republic and Ghana. We will also visit Mali and Togo.”
 
The whole idea, Yakubu noted, “is to help consolidate democracy in the sub-region. He added: “As I have always said, it is better to deploy ECONEC than to deploy ECOMOG in the region.”
 
Responding, Alapini described ECONEC’s efforts as laudable. She noted that Guinea recently organized its local elections which, according to her, went well until the result declaration stage when events took a different turn.
 
She said ECOWAS had also taken part in the efforts to mediate and bring about peace in Guinea, which led to an agreement between the ruling party and the opposition in October, 2016. She said ECONEC could assist Guinea’s Electoral Commission to facilitate a review of Voters’ Register. “This needs to happen before the Parliamentary election in 2019 and the Presidential election in 2020,” she said.
 
The ECONEC team later met with the diplomatic community comprising the envoys of the European Union (EU), Japan and Germany. Other development partners at the meeting include the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Democratic Institute.  
 
The Ambassador of Japan to Guinea, Mr. Naotsugu Nakano implored ECONEC to look into the areas of logistics and transmission of election results in its plan to assist the electoral commission.
 
Other recommendations arising from the meeting include the need to restructure Guinea’s electoral commission and carry out a review of the Electoral Act.
 
Representatives of civil society organizations – PCUD, CNOSCG and Cellule Babai Citogen –  Mr. Sekon Kounodouno, Mr. Ibrahim Diallo and Mr. Gabriel Aaba told the team that the Civil Society was concerned about the legal framework governing the conduct of elections, the composition Electoral Commission’s membership, participation of ordinary citizens in the electoral process and the lack of attention given to civic and voter education.  
Yakubu assured the stakeholders that their observations and recommendations would be tabled before the ECONEC board for further action.
 
Other members of the team include the first Vice President of ECONEC and Chairman of the Republic of Benin’s Electoral Commission, Mr. Emmanuel Tiando, National Commissioner, Prof Anthonia Okoosi-Simbine, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr. Yahaya Bello, Programme Officer (ECONEC), Mr. Rauf Salami, Senior Communication’s Adviser, Mr. Paul Ejime and Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi.

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