African Union election observer mission to Banjul brief media
|Dr. Azu'u heads AU observer mission to Gambia|
The African Union (AU) election observer mission to Banjul has told journalists at a press briefing on Tuesday that they are in Gambia following an invitation extended to it by Government of The Gambia and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
The H. E. Jean Ping (Chairperson of the African Union Commission) - appointed observer team to monitor Gambia’s presidential election of November 24, is headed by Dr. Fonkam Samuel Azu’u, Chairman the Independent Electoral Commission Cameroon (ELECAM).
Dr Azu’u said members his team include Pan African Parliamentarians, Experts from Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) and leaders of civil society organizations (CSOs) from Benin, Cameroon, Kenya Mauritania, Niger, Swaziland, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
“The African Union mission will observe the 24th November Presidential Elections within the spirit and letter of the Durban Declaration on the Principles of Good Governing Democratic Elections in Africa adopted by the Assembly of African Union in July 2002,” Dr. Azu’u said.
“The presence of the observer mission constitutes an equivocal commitment of the African Union to contribute to the promotion and strengthening of democracy and the rule of law on our Continent. The main objective of the mission is to make an honest, independent and impartial observation and assessment of the organisation and conduct of these elections.”
Throughout the election observation period, the AU observer mission, while safeguarding the independence and integrity of the African Union, will cooperate, liaise and consult with other International and domestic Election observer missions. Several consultative meetings and interactions will be held with various Gambians stakeholders and International Observer groups.
These, according to Dr. Azu’u include among others, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of The Gambia, Election Observer Mission from the European Union, The Commonwealth, the National Council for Civil Education (NCCE), the Gambia political parties, the media, and Civil Society Organizations.
He said Members of the mission will be deployed throughout the Gambia ahead of the voting day in order to assess the manner in which the people of the Gambia are participating in the current electoral process and the environment in which they will exercise their democratic rights.
“The AU is accepted to remain in the country until the 29th of November, 2011. A preliminary statement outlining the African Union Observer Mission’s general assessment and observations on the process will be issued at a press conference to be held by the AU Observer Mission prior to its departure from the country,” he explained. “The full report of the AU Observer Mission on the 2011 Presidential Elections will be presented to the Authorities of the Government of the Gambia through the Office of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission.”
- Author: Modou S. Joof