Thursday, November 19, 2009
ACCRA, GHANA – More than 100 practitioners and experts on elections from 25 African countries will convene in Accra Nov. 12-14, to assess recent elections across the continent and develop recommendations for standards that could mitigate conflict and improve election processes. Recommendations from the colloquium will be aimed at enhancing prospects for credible elections in Africa by heightening standards of professionalism among election administration officials, political parties, civic groups, security services and the media.
The Colloquium on African Elections: Best Practices and Cross-Sectoral Collaboration will focus on Ghana's 2008 elections, which were universally viewed as credible despite heated political tensions and a razor-thin margin between the candidates. Participants hope to draw on lessons from the experience in Ghana, where for the second time in less than a decade, political power has
changed hands from the ruling to an opposition party through the ballot box.
Effective collaboration among all sectors of the electoral process helped ease tensions, enhanced transparency and built voter confidence in the election results.
Participants will also explore the differences between the Ghanaian experience and elections in other countries such as Kenya and Zimbabwe, which experienced gross irregularities, fraud and conflict. They will identify the factors that contributed to different outcomes in each of these cases and discuss how to foster credible elections on the continent based on these case studies.
"This is an opportunity for Africans to reflect on our own experiences and build upon our successes. As a regional initiative, this conference will bolster electoral reformers, and civic and political stakeholders on the continent," said Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, chair of the Electoral Commission in Ghana.
At the conclusion of the colloquium, participants will release a communiqué summarizing their discussions and sharing their recommendations for election standards in Africa.
Co-organizers of the colloquium include the National Democratic Institute, Africa Center for Strategic Studies, International Foundation for Electoral Systems, Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy, Open Society Initiative for West Africa and United Nations Development Programme.
Monday, November 09, 2009
November 11-14, 2009
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD), Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will co-sponsor a Colloquium on African Elections from 12‐14 November 2009 in Accra, Ghana.
The colloquium will review the challenges and best practices in the conduct of elections in Africa, with a particular focus on lessons that could be shared from Ghana's 2008 electoral process.
Approximately 100 participants from 25 African countries will attend the colloquium. Participants will include elections commissioners, political party leaders, civic advocates, leaders of elections monitoring groups, journalists and high level officials of security services that oversee peace building and law enforcement missions around elections.
The Colloquium on African Elections: Best Practices and Cross-Sectoral Collaboration will seek to address two critical points:
1) the effective performance of entities involved in the electoral process and
2) the linkages that should exist among stakeholders, and how to foster cross-sectoral collaboration during elections.
Examining the strengths and weaknesses of the Ghanaian electoral process and how it compares with other African countries will facilitate sharing knowledge and strengthening linkages among different sectors of the electoral process. The anticipated outcome of discussions at the colloquium will be to identify guidelines on how to conduct credible elections, ease political tensions, enhance transparency, and facilitate the acceptance of genuine election results by political contestants and their supporters. Sharing best practices among African practitioners will enhance prospects for democratic elections across the continent and inspire professional conduct among various stakeholders in countries preparing for upcoming elections. The Consortium of organizers are hoping to compile the cases of best practices in elections in Africa and publish on a book form.