One Sunday, six elections in Africa - AU Commission Chairperson calls for peaceful, credible, transparent polls
The African Union Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, has called for smooth, peaceful, transparent and credible polls in six African Union (AU) Member States holding elections and a referendum, on Sunday, 20 March 2016. The AU Commission Chairperson also called on citizens and political actors to respect election results, and when necessary use orderly and lawful channels to seek redress in cases of disputes.
“While Elections Management Bodies should ensure smooth organisation, with highest levels of professionalism and service delivery, citizens and political actors must respect the results of the polls. Should there be grievances following the election results, these must be addressed through the appropriate channels in an orderly and lawful manner to maintain peace and stability,” the AU Commission Chairperson cautioned, adding that it is only through violence-free elections that Africa can deepen the culture of democracy.
In total, there will be elections in five countries: Benin, Niger, Cape Verde, Congo and the semi-autonomous region of Tanzania, Zanzibar, and a referendum in Senegal. The constitutional referendum in Senegal will allow the citizens to determine whether to maintain the current seven-year-term mandate or reduce it to five years.
The Republic of Congo will hold first round of presidential elections on Sunday, with nine candidates, including incumbent President Denis Sassou Nguesso. The African Union Electoral Observation Mission (AUEOM) in Congo is headed by the former Prime Minister of the Republic of Djibouti, H.E. Dileita Mohamed Dileita. The mission comprises thirty (30) Short Term Observers.
On the same Sunday, 20 March 2016, the Republic of Cape Verde will be holding Legislative Elections to fill up 72 seats in the National Assembly. A team of 20 AU Elections Observers will be monitoring the elections. The Cape Verde AU-EOM is headed by H.E. Sylvie Kayitesi Zainabo, former Chairperson of African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR).
Both Benin and Niger will be holding second rounds of presidential elections, of which the results will determine who will lead these countries for at least the next five years. The AU has deployed teams of election experts to follow up on the run-off elections in the two countries.
Meanwhile, voters in Zanzibar are going back to the polls after the results of presidential and parliamentary held on 25 October 2015 were nullified by the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) over vote rigging allegations.
Ahead of all these elections and referendum, the AU Commission Chairperson encourages citizens to actively participate in these political processes that would contribute to shaping the destiny of their constituencies and countries.