AU announces arrival of the Head of its Election Observation Mission in Liberia

L/R: H.E Mr. Erastus J.O. Mwencha being received by Axel Marcel Addy Liberia’s Minister of Commerce and Industry

H.E Mr. Erastus J.O. Mwencha, former Deputy Chairperson of the African Union has arrived in Liberia as Head of the African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM). A champion of regional integration, H.E Mr. Mwencha held the position of Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission for eight years (2008 – 2016). Mr. Mwencha was received upon his arrival by Honorable Axel Marcel Addy the Minister of Commerce and Industry, according to a press released issued.

Being present in Liberia since September 2, 2017, the AUEOM will observe and assess the October 10 presidential and legislative elections with a view to contributing to the peacefulness, transparency and integrity of these elections.

The AUEOM is in the country at the invitation of the Government of Liberia and the National Elections Commission (NEC).

The short-term observer (STO) delegation will remain in Liberia until October 13, 2017, while the long- term Observers (LTO) and Core Team will stay in the country until October 26, 2017 to follow the management and proclamation of the election results.

The leadership of the AUEOM will hold high level courtesy and consultative meetings with national stakeholders and the leadership of peer International Election Observation Missions present in Liberia.

The AU Election Observation Mission concluded a three-day technical briefing programme for its Short-term Observers in Monrovia.  The purpose of the technical briefing was to provide key information on the political context of the 2017 elections and the state of preparedness of NEC and other national stakeholders, as well as familiarization with AU election observation methodology, including the use of technology to gather and analyze data.

AU Short Term observers were deployed on 8 October to cover 10 out of the 15 in Liberia. They will observe the end of campaign and preparations for Election Day in their areas of deployment. After Election Day, the STOs will debrief on their findings on October 11 upon their return from the counties.

The AUEOM will release a statement on its preliminary findings on the conduct of the 2017 elections at a press conference to be held on October 12, 2017.

The deployment of AUEOM to Liberia is in line with the AU’s mandate of promoting and deepening democracy on the continent, as enshrined in relevant instruments of the continental body. It is also in line with the third aspiration of the AU Agenda 2063which aims to ensure good governance, democracy, and respect for human rights, justice and rule of law on the continent. The conduct of transparent and credible elections in Member States, which AUEOMs aim to ensure, is a prerequisite to the realization of the aspirations of Agenda 2063, and the overall goal of ensuring an integrated, peaceful and prosperous Africa.

The AUEOM comprises 12 Long-Term Observers (LTOs) including 4 Core Team Analysts who have been in Liberia since September 2, 2017, and 36 Short-Term Observers (STOs), who arrived in Monrovia on October 3, 2017. The STO delegation comprises members from the African Union Permanent Representatives Council (PRC), Pan-African Parliament (PAP), the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), African Election Management Bodies, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and Independent Experts from Thinks Tanks, Academic Institutions, etc.

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About Cholo Brooks 17519 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.