Mrs Jean Mensa, the Chairperson of Ghana’s Electoral Commission, has been re-elected as the President of the Association of African Electoral Authorities (AAEA), a body made up of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) in Africa.
She was elected at the Sixth Continental Forum of EMBs recently held jointly by the AAEA and the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) of the African Union Commission (AUC) in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Forum, which assembled 55 EMBs, who are African Union (AU) member states, was on the theme: “Enhancing Participation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and Refugees in Elections in Africa: Towards More Inclusive Electoral Processes.”
In an address following her re-election, Mrs Mensa said she would, together with all stakeholders, take the necessary steps to ensure that the Secretariat functioned effectively and played the co-ordination role expected of it.
She said the AAEA would begin with the strengthening of the association by increasing the number of staff, explore ways of guaranteeing financial sustainability, visibility and accountability.
“Beyond this, we look forward to building an association, which stands in unity to safeguard the interests of its members. An association whose members are bound to a collective agreement of ensuring credible, transparent and violent-free elections in their respective countries,” Mrs Mensa said.
“It will be the body that will condemn corruption in any form and hold its members accountable to the agreements and charters signed”.
As initial steps toward achieving the goals, she disclosed that the Secretariat would work with the stakeholders to commission the development of a website to serve as the gateway to the association and give visibility to AAEA’s activities.
She said the government of Ghana had allocated an office space to the AAEA Secretariat in Accra to enable it to function.
Mrs Mensa urged the stakeholders to support the association to become a viable entity to serve as a one-stop-shop for elections in Africa and beyond.
Dr Khabele Matlosa, the Director of Political Affairs, African Union Commission, said the AAEA annual event had become one of the flagship policy platforms of the Department of Political Affairs of the AUC.
It aims at promoting good governance and participatory democracy through fostering peer-learning and harnessing lesson-learning election management in Africa.
He said the forum of EMBs was part of the Department’s overall strategy on electoral assistance to the member states in line with the mandate bestowed upon it under Article 18 of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
As part of the forum, Dr Bossman Eric Asare, a Deputy Chairperson in charge of Corporate Services at the EC, facilitated a session focused on experience-sharing of recent elections.
Organised by selected EMBs, the session was to generate lessons for the rest of the Continent on effective management of elections in complex humanitarian situations where there were IDPs as well security and political challenges.