AU urges member states to ensure safe elections during COVID-19 pandemic

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The logo of the African Union (AU) is seen at the entrance of the AU headquarters on March 13, 2019, in Addis Ababa. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) called on AU member states, which organize elections during the COVID-19 era, to ensure safe situations in line with the AU guidelines on elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: People walk through the main lobby at the headquarters of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

In its latest meeting, the Council dwelt upon the elections held in Africa during the period from July to December 2020 and those elections to be held during the first quarter of the year 2021, according to an AU statement on Tuesday.

Countries including Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Niger, Tanzania and Uganda have organized elections during the period from July to December 2020, while Congo, Cote d’Ivoire and Somalia are yet to organize their elections during the first quarter of 2021.

The Council has reiterated the critical importance for AU member states which decide to proceed with the organization of elections to ensure the safety and security of the population against the pandemic.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the African continent reached 3,905,936 as of Tuesday noon, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The AU Peace and Security Council urged member states to create conducive conditions that will encourage more women, the youth and persons with disabilities to actively take part in public life and political processes, particularly elections, among others by strictly ensuring quota systems and reducing the fees for enlisting election candidature in line with the different African instruments and frameworks.

The Council has urged the media, both print and electronic, to always contribute positively towards promoting the integrity and credibility of elections and maintenance of peace and stability in the member states, among others, by educating and factually informing the public, as well as to refrain from inflammatory reporting.

It has also called on all AU member states that have not yet done so, to consider to sign, ratify and domesticate the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

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