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ECONEC in Conakry for post-election follow-up

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Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu (4th left) with members of the re-constituted Election Monitoring and Support Centre (EMSC) Committee at the Commission's headquarters, Abuja

An eight-member delegation of ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commission (ECONEC) on Friday, began a five-day post-election follow-up mission to Guinea.

A statement by the network in Abuja said that the delegation was received by President of Guinea’s Commission Electorale Nationale Independante, Mr Amadou Kebe.

The delegation, according to the statement, is led by the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, President of the ECONEC Governing Board, and Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Nigeria.

Members of the delegation include Prof. Emmanuel Tiando, ECONEC 1stVice-president and Chair of Benin Republic’s Electoral Commission, ECONEC Secretariat and INEC officials.

It noted that the follow-up-mission was part of measures instituted by the regional body to track and address risk factors that could negatively impact the conduct of peaceful and credible elections in member states.

The statement said that the delegation would during the visit meet with Guinea’s political stakeholders, especially the Electoral Management Body (EMB), Political Parties and Parliamentary Committees on Electoral Matters.

Other groups include Civil Society Organisations involved in the electoral process and institutions mentioned in the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission’s (EOM’s) recommendation.

The mission was supported by German International Development Agency (GIZ), Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) and INEC.

Guinea held its last Presidential Election in 2015, which was observed by ECOWAS. It will hold the next crucial presidential election in 2020.

The statement explained that usually, in post-election phase, ECOWAS Commission organised biennial electoral process reviews, bringing EMBs from across the region together under ECONEC, to contribute to peer-learning and dissemination of best practices.

“The main objective of the PEFM is to assess measures being taken by member-state actors to implement EOM recommendations and identify possible areas of support required to enable full implementation of the recommendations ahead of next electoral cycle.’’

It added that from 2014, there had been a shift in the ECOWAS election assessment methodology, with a focus on cycle-wide approach.

It said the methodology involved the deployment of Long-Term Election Observation Missions (LTEOMs) to complement and reinforce the Short-Term Election Missions (STEOMs).

It added that the methodology also entailed the conduct of technical assessment of elections as an integral part of its wider democratic governance and conflict mitigation mandate.

According to the statement, as part of their remits, PEFMs generate reports identifying challenges and areas of support required to ensure effective implementation of recommendations by EOMs.

It explained that the reports, submitted to ECOWAS, would serve as basis for planning and adjusting ECOWAS Electoral Assistance Division’s future electoral support to the specific needs of member-state.

ECONEC was set up in 2008 with the main objective of promoting credible elections through experience-sharing and peer-review among the EMBs of the 15 ECOWAS member-states.

The network was also set up to facilitate gradual harmonization of electoral administration, based on best practices across the region.

Yakubu was elected ECONEC President in March, 2017. Under his leadership, the network has among other activities, undertaken Needs Assessment and Solidarity Missions to Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone.