Nigeria’s former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan has emerged as the Chairman of the newly inaugurated Council of African Former Presidents and ex-Heads of State alao known as, International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP).
Speaking shortly after his emergence at the two-day conference tagged: Africa Summit and Leaders Conference 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa, Dr Jonathan urged African Union (AU) to set minimum acceptable standards for appointing the leadership of electoral commissions as a means of building citizen confidence and ensuring credibility of elections on the continent.
In a keynote speech titled: “The Need for Good Governance and Peaceful Electioneering Process in Africa,” the former Nigerian president said the credibility and legitimacy of electoral processes are hugely dependent on the competence, impartiality and independence of electoral management bodies.
According to former president, “It is interesting that almost all the electoral management bodies in Africa are identified with the prefix ‘Independent’, but the jury is still out on whether these agencies are truly independent as their names imply.
“The AU should, through its Political Affairs Department, set up a team of electoral experts to study different models and recommend the system they consider best for the continent.
“Such benchmark should also take cognizance of the need to review the election of judicial processes to ensure that, where election tribunals are set up to specifically handle election cases, one judicial officer do not handle the role of appointing all members of the tribunals.
“Since neutrality of the security services is absolutely necessary in ensuring free and fair elections, it is also important that the Africa Union should establish a code of conduct guiding security officials in charge of elections. All these recommendations should be accommodated in AU’s procedures for elections that should serve as guidelines for election observers.”
The conference was attended by top government officials, former African heads of state, clergy and traditional rulers from across Africa.
South African President was represented by the National Chairperson of the African National Congress (ANC) and Minister of Mines and Energy, Gwade Mantashe.