Professor Mahmood Yakubu, President of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) governing board and Chair of Nigeria’s Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), has led an eight-member delegation on a Post-election Follow-up Mission (PEFM) to Guinea, a release has said.
The mission began on Thursday, June 7, as part of election assessment and early warning strategy instituted by ECOWAS to track and address risk factors that could negatively impact the credibility and peaceful conduct of elections in member states, a release said yesterday.
According to the release, Guinea will hold a crucial presidential election in 2020, following the last poll in 2015, which was observed by ECOWAS.
Usually, in the post-election phase, the ECOWAS Commission organizes biennial electoral process reviews, bringing together Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) from across the region under the umbrella of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), to contribute to peer-learning and the dissemination of best practices.
PEFM is one of the innovations to ECOWAS’ election assessment methodology, which enables cycle-wide engagement with the electoral process in member states.
The main objective of the PEFM is to assess measures being taken by member state actors, to implement the recommendations of the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission (EOM) and identify possible areas of support required to enable full implementation of the recommendations ahead of the next electoral cycle.
From 2014, there has been a shift in the ECOWAS election assessment methodology, with a focus on cycle-wide approach involving the deployment of Long-Term Election Observation Missions (LTEOMs) to complement and reinforce the Short-term Election Missions (STEOMs).
The current methodology also entails the deployment of Pre-election Fact-finding Missions, which enable the collection of first-hand information about the pre-election context.
In addition to the conduct of a technical assessment of elections as an integral part of its wider democratic governance and conflict mitigation mandate, the ECOWAS Commission also supports electoral processes in the member states and the promotion of electoral integrity and democratic consolidation in the region.
During their four-day stay in Conakry, the Prof. Yakubu-led delegation, which includes Prof Emmanuel Tiando, ECONEC first Vice-president and Chair of Benin Republic’s Electoral Commission, ECONEC Secretariat and INEC officials, will meet with Guinea’s political stakeholders including the EMB; Political Parties; Parliamentary Committees on electoral matters; Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) involved in the electoral process, and other institutions mentioned in the EOM’s recommendations.
The Mission is supported by the German International Development Agency, GIZ, Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA), and INEC.
As part of their remits, PEFMs generate reports identifying challenges and areas of support required to ensure effective implementation of recommendations by EOMs. The reports, to be submitted to the ECOWAS authorities, will serve as the basis for planning and adjusting ECOWAS Electoral Assistance Division’s future electoral support to the specific needs of member states.
ECONEC was set up in 2008 with the main objective of promoting credible elections through experience sharing and peer-review amongst the EMBs of the 15 ECOWAS member states, and also to facilitate gradual harmonization of electoral administration, based on best practices, across the region.
Under Prof. Yakubu’s leadership from March 2017, the Network has, among other activities, undertaken Needs Assessment and Solidarity Missions to Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, and Sierra Leone. It has also carried out a study on the cost of elections and co-organized an International Conference in Abuja on the challenges and opportunities in the use of technology in elections.
ECONEC’s advocacy has also resulted in the provision of technical and logistical support to Liberia and Sierra Leone during their recent national elections.