Former President Jonathan who led an international delegation alongside ex-President of Benin, Nicephore Soglo on a pre-election assessment mission to Guinea has advised the government of the West African country to provide more clarity on its position on the speculations and fears over planned constitutional amendments as a means of boosting citizen confidence in the coming elections.
The group made this known in Conakry over the weekend at a press conference where it presented the preliminary findings of the pre-election assessment mission ahead of the scheduled February 16 the parliamentary elections.
In its recommendations to the government, the delegation urged the authorities to: “Provide greater clarity on its stance with regards to speculations around the constitutional framework of the country in order to enhance citizen confidence in its commitment to deepening democracy and fostering peaceful and credible legislative elections.”
It also urged the government to “create platforms for regular communication between civilian populations and security services at the national and sub-national levels in order to prevent further clashes between demonstrators and security services and the recurrent violence.”
The group also advised the electoral commission (CENI) to take reasonable steps to ensure the credibility and accuracy of the voters list while it urged the political parties to “participate more actively in platforms created to facilitate inter-party dialogue.”
The mission which was promoted by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the Kofi Annan Foundation was meant to demonstrate international support for Guinea’s electoral process and the political and electoral environment ahead of the February 2020 legislative elections and make recommendations that could enhance citizen confidence and mitigate the risk of electoral violence.
Many Guineans have expressed concerns and speculations, especially concerning suspicions of tenure elongation, over planned changes in the constitutional framework and the country’s electoral calendar in view of the preparations for the February 2020 parliamentary elections. They denounced the violence that has marred political protests since last October which have resulted in death of scores of youth and property damage.
Speaking further on the outcome of the mission, former President Jonathan said: “Despite visible challenges, it is evident that the citizens of Guinea are not deterred. Many Guinean parties and civil society organisations are undertaking initiatives to strengthen their involvement in the 2020 electoral process. The delegation noted that all Guineans with whom it met expressed a strong desire for peaceful, inclusive and credible elections in 2020.”
Similarly, former President Soglo said: “The upcoming parliamentary elections in 2020 will be a litmus test of Guinea’s democratic progress and preparedness for the presidential election later in the year. Such progress will be dependent on the country’s ability to strengthen the legitimacy of its institutions and the rule of law.”
While in Conakry the delegation met with Guinean President Alpha Condé, National Assembly Speaker Claude Kory Kondiano and members of the legislative leadership, Prime Minister Ibrahima Kassory Fofana, the Chairman and members of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), leaders of majority and opposition political parties, leaders of civil society organizations, media representatives, the National Contact Group (Groupe National de Contact), the imam of Conakry’s Grand Mosque and the special adviser of the Archbishop of Conakry, as well as representatives of the diplomatic community and international partners based in Conakry. The delegation expresses its deep appreciation to everyone with whom it met for welcoming the mission and for sharing freely their views on the political context and electoral process.