AU official calls for strengthening electoral institutions in Africa

AN official of the African Union (AU) on Tuesday called for strengthening electoral institutions in Africa.

The lack of confidence in electoral process is the reason why voter turnout remains low in several Africa’s elections, because citizens think their vote doesn’t count in determining the final result, said Khabele Matlosa, director of Political Affairs Department at the AU Commission, while speaking at a two-day meeting of heads of electoral commissions from across the continent in Rwanda’s capital city Kigali.

Whereas on average 15 national elections are conducted across the continent annually, some end in violence which leads to forced displacements while others leave citizens mired in constant tension, said Khabele.

Voter confidence is low in electoral commissions and political parties on the continent, he said, adding that election processes are critical in addressing conflicts on the continent.

For governments to rally citizens behind the electoral processes there is need to ensure participation of citizens in governance and build trustable leadership, said Kalisa Mbanda, president of Rwanda’s National Electoral Commission.

The meeting was organised by the AU Commission through its department of political affairs as part of efforts to engage agents of democratic and participatory governance as provided by the African charter on democracy, elections and governance.

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