AU Head of Election Observation Team Arrives

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Erastus J. O. Mwencha, is the former Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, now head of African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM)

Erustus J. O. Mwencha, former Deputy Chairperson of the African Union, has arrived in Liberia as Head of the African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM), according to a release yesterday.

A champion of regional integration, Mr. Mwencha held the position of Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission for eight years, beginning 2008.

Present in Liberia since September 2, the AUEOM will observe and assess tomorrow’s presidential and legislative elections with a view to contribute to the peacefulness, transparency and integrity of the elections.

The AUEOM is in the country at the invitation of the Government of Liberia and the National Elections Commission (NEC).

The Short-Term Observer (STO) delegation will remain in Liberia until October 13, while the Long-Term Observers (LOT) and core team will stay in the country until October 26, to follow the management and proclamation of the elections results.

The leadership of the AUEOM will hold high level courtesy and consultative meetings with national stakeholders and the leadership of peer international election observation missions present in Liberia.

The AU election observation mission concluded a three-day technical briefing program for its short-term observers in Monrovia.

The purpose of the technical briefing was to provide key information on the political context of the 2017 elections and the state of preparedness of the NEC and other national stakeholders, as well as familiarization with AU election observation methodology, including the use of technology to gather and analyze data.

AU short term observers were deployed on October 8 to cover 10 out of the 15 counties in the country, from where they will observe the end of campaign and preparations for election day. After election day, the STOs will debrief on their findings on October 11 upon their return from the counties.

The AUEOM will release a statement on its preliminary findings on the conduct of the 2017 elections at a press conference to be held on October 12.

The deployment of the AUEOM to Liberia is in line with the AU’s mandate of promoting and deepening democracy on the continent, as enshrined in relevant instruments of the continental body.

It is also in line with the third aspiration of AU agenda 2063, which aims to ensure good governance, democracy and respect for human rights, justice and rule of law on the continent.

The conduct of transparent and credible elections in member states, which AUEOMs aim to ensure, is a prerequisite to the realization of the aspirations of agenda 2063, and the overall goal of ensuring an integrated, peaceful and prosperous Africa.

The AUEOM comprises 12 long term observers, including four core team analysts who have been in Liberia since September. The STO delegation observers arrived in Monrovia on October 3. The STO delegation comprises members from the African Union Permanent Representatives Council (PRC), Pan-African Parliament (PAP), the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), African election management bodies, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and independent experts from think tanks and academic institutions, among others.

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