Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and former Beninese President Nicephore Soglo are in Guinea to evaluate officially the electoral process.
Two former West African heads of state, Beninese Nicéphore Soglo and Nigerian Goodluck Jonathan, started this Monday in Conakry a five-day mission at the initiative of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the foundation Kofi Annan (FKA).
Here are the members of the delegation:
Mr Nicéphore Soglo, former President of Benin;
Mr Goodluck Jonathan, former President of Nigeria;
Ambassador Medina Wesseh, Secretary General of the Mano River Union;
Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Partner and Regional Director for Central and West Africa (NDI);
Sébastien FW Brack, Head of Elections and Democracy (KAF);
Sophia Moestrup, Deputy Director for Central and West Africa (NDI);
Paul Komivi Sémeko Amegakpo, Resident Director in Guinea (NDI).
The delegation will meet with the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), the institutions of the Republic, the ruling party and opposition political parties, civil society organizations and other actors in Conakry to assess the preparations for the elections. Legislative elections are the steps to be taken to promote peaceful and credible elections.
Officially, the objective is to assess the preparations for the parliamentary elections postponed several times and scheduled for next February. But the issue could be more important, given the profile of the delegation.
The census operations are criticized by the opposition, which is already screaming for “electoral fraud”. While the controversial draft of a new Constitution that could pave the way for a possible third term of President Alpha Conde still “crystallizes” tensions. The demonstrations have killed about 20 people since mid-October.
This is the first time to have two former presidents in the delegation. It is noticeable that they are from French and English countries because the whole region is concerned. But above all, these two presidents left voluntarily the power at the end of their mandates. So they can be considered as symbols of democracy and power alternation.
Nicéphore Soglo represents the advent of the multiparty system from the national conference in Benin. Goodluck Jonathan, meanwhile, symbolizes the first democratic transition in Nigeria’s history. Two signatories of the “Niamey Declaration” initiated, like this visit, by the NDI and Kofi Annan Foundation. This statement warns about the risks of “democratic retreat” that can result from “unwarranted constitutional changes”.
This morning, Nicephore Soglo and Goodluck Jonathan met with representatives of civil society and press associations in a Conakry hotelier to discuss the on-going electoral process in Guinea.
The president of the council of Guinean civil society organizations took stock of this tripartite tête-à-tête at the end of the interview. “They have made the commitment to discuss directly with the Head of State Professor Alpha Condé to make him understand that he must help the Guineans to go beyond the fears so that the Guineans accept, dare to speak as children of the same country, “explained Dr. Dansa Kourouma, president of CNOSCG.
This series of consultations of the NDI delegation will be extended to other actors involved in the electoral process. “The media have a vision of equidistance compared to what happens in the country,” adds for his part, Amadou Tham Camara president of the Aguipel.
Before leaving Guinea, the mission will present its findings publicly at a press conference in Conakry on 13th December 2019.
NDI has organized more than 150 international election observation missions around the world, earning a reputation for impartiality and professionalism. The NDI / KAF mission in Guinea will conduct its activities in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and the Code of Conduct adopted by the United Nations in 2005 and will base its conclusions and recommendations on Guinean laws and international standards for the elections. All activities will be conducted on a strictly non-partisan basis and without interference in the electoral process.
Mamadou Saliou Diallo.