On Pre-Elections Fact-Finding Mission: ECOWAS Leads 60-Member Joint AU-ECOWAS Delegation To Liberia
A sixty (60)-member joint African Union (AU)-Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) delegation is in Liberia on a two-prong official working visit: “A Pre-elections Fact-Finding Mission” and an “ECOWAS Parliament Delocalized Meeting”, ahead of the nation’s presidential and legislative elections scheduled for October 10, 2023.
The pre-election fact-finding mission was organized in keeping with the provisions of Article 12 of the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, Article 53 (c) of the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework, and the decision of the Authority of Heads of State to send timely pre-election missions to member states holding elections. It will be held along with delegates from the African Union Commission as part of the collaborative effort to promote credible and peaceful electoral processes in Africa.
The ECOWAS-AU pre-election fact-finding mission to Liberia hopes to achieve several objectives including collecting all the legal texts governing the conduct of the 2023 general elections, collect information on the conditions under which the elections shall be conducted, gathering all pertinent information regarding the candidates and political parties involved in the contest, meeting all the candidates, political party leaders, government officials, and other relevant stakeholders, assessing the state of preparedness for the conduct of the polls, and gathering any other useful information that may enable a clearer understanding of the political atmosphere in the country.
The July 23—29 Mission is being co-led by Professor Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of the Independent Nigerian Electoral Commission (INEC) of Nigeria for ECOWAS, and Ambassador Calixte Mbari, Head of Democracy, Elections and Constitutionalism of the African Union Commission. Other members of the Mission are Ambassador Haja Alari Cole, member of the ECOWAS Council of the Wise, Jean Mensa, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana, Elyse Ouedraogo, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission of Burkina Faso, M. Muhammad Sulaiman Isa, Deputy Ambassador of Nigeria to ECOWAS, Dr. Cyriaque Agnekethom, ECOWAS Director of Peacekeeping and Regional Security, as well as a joint technical team from the ECOWAS and AU commissions.
The high-power visit will also see the Fifth Legislature of ECOWAS Parliament’s Joint Committees Delocalized Meetings in Monrovia. The Joint Committees meeting which will run from 25—29 July 2023, under the topic, “Enhancing Political Inclusivity in the Participatory Governance Process: A Mechanism for Promoting Peace and Security”, will include committees on political affairs, peace, security and APRM/legal affairs and human rights/ social affairs, gender and women empowerment. It comes in compliance with the adopted activity program of the ECOWAS Parliament for the year 2023, and aims at highlighting ECOWAS strategy for building a more inclusive society in the face of peace and security challenges affecting the sub-region, and to strengthen the role of the ECOWAS Parliament in promoting peace and security across West Africa. Meanwhile, to facilitate the gathering of relevant and useful information on the electoral process, members of the mission will interact during their stay in Liberia with the National Elections Commission (NEC), political parties, civil society organizations, youth and women organizations, national authorities, security agencies, and media regulation authorities. The outcome and findings derived from the meetings held with the stakeholders will be captured in a final mission report with eventual recommendations, which will shape ECOWAS and AU’s engagement and assistance to Liberia ahead of the 2023 General Elections. The Mission to Liberia is in addition to ongoing technical support and funding to the National Elections Commission (NEC).