The regional grouping Economic Community of West States (ECOWAS) leaders have reaffirmed their commitments to uphold free, transparent and credible elections ahead of elections in three of their member states this year.
To this end, the ECOWAS Authority has directed the ECOWAS Commission to continue its support to Burkina Faso, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire and to take all necessary actions, aimed at ensuring the success of the upcoming elections in the three countries.
These commitments were contained in a Communiqué issued at the end of a one-day Extraordinary Summit, which was called at the request of ECOWAS Chairman, Senegalese President, Macky Sall. It was held Saturday, September 12, 2015, in Dakar, the capital city of Senegal.
The Summit was convened to examine the pre-election situation in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea and also the fast evolving political and security situation in Guinea Bissau. H.E. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was represented at the Meeting by Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, who was accompanied by Liberia’s Chargé Affairs to Senegal, Madam Mary Ann Fossung.
Making a brief intervention during the deliberations, Foreign Minister Ngafuan highlighted that the year- 2015, is a “watershed” year for the Community, as five Presidential Elections are being held. “Mr. Chairman, we have successfully held two elections in Nigeria and Togo— two down, three more to go. The first one in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, had the whole world watching with bated breath. Thankfully, Nigeria and Togo held credible elections and made our region proud. As difficult as those processes were, democracy was consolidated,” Foreign Minister Ngafuan stated.
According to the Foreign Minister, President Sirleaf and the Liberian people extend their solidarity and best wishes to the Governments and Peoples of Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso as they go to elections in October.
He noted that Liberia takes comfort in the assurances made by Presidents Allasane Ouattara, Alpha Condé and Michel Kafando that they will take the necessary steps to conduct free, fair and open elections. The Liberian Foreign Minister called on ECOWAS, UN, AU and other partners to lend financial, logistical and technical support to the three countries as they go to the polls.
On the situation in Guinea Bissau, President of the ECOWAS Commission, H. E. Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, the ECOWAS Authority emphasized the importance of adhering to the principles of the rule of law, which are paramount to achieving sustainable peace stability and development.
The Authority therefore mandated Presidents Macky Sall, Chair of the Authority and Alpha Condé, ECOWAS Mediator for Guinea Bissau, assisted by former Nigerian President Olusugun Obasanjo, Special Envoy of President Mahammadu Buhari, Chair of the Regional Contact Group on Guinea Bissau to facilitate dialogue with all stakeholders with a view to finding a lasting peaceful solution to the crisis.
Meanwhile, ECOWAS has extended the mandate of its peacekeeping force, Economic Community Mission in Bissau (ECOMIB), for an additional six months, from January to June 2016. It called on the international community to provide a substantial financial support for the Mission. -Press Release