SA setting good example on how elections should be conducted: AU

The African Union says the continent is making progress when it comes to organising and participating in elections at a national and local level.

The body says Africa now has more democratic processes than ever before as more and more countries adopt and rule by the ballot trend. Reports from the African Union show that since the late 1980s and early 1990s many African countries have been conducting elections on a regular basis.

The continent has widely moved away from military rule and the one president for life syndrome.   The African Union Commission for Political Affairs which monitors all elections says despite this progress all member countries can do more to improve the democratic process.

“The first challenge is that of entrenching the regularity of the local government elections, second is to enhance the democratic quality of our elections and the third is addressing voter apathy in particular amongst the youth,” says AU Director of Political Affairs Khabele Matlosa.

The African Union says   one area of concern as the continent develops democratic processes is their financing.  African Union is urging member states not to turn to external sources to meet these costs.

“It is important that  when we conduct our elections we earmark adequate resources to ensure that the electoral processes happen, funded by  African Countries themselves not our partners, even if our partners fund , it should not be the largest proportion, it should be a supplementary,” says Matlosa.

The African Union highlights that many Africans are yet to fully recognise the importance of local elections when it comes to overall governance. The Union says South Africa is setting a good example on how local government elections should be conducted.

“When you look at the TV and see how parties are mobilising votes, campaigning, launching the manifestos – you will mistake it for a national election that is the way we want to go. We want to elevate the local government elections to that level of political awareness of our populations, political parties, and all parties that contest the elections,” says Matlosa.

Elections in Africa are guided by the African Charter on Democracy, Governance and Elections. The African Union wants its member countries to realise the importance of local elections in enabling the local communities to exercise their democratic rights and ensure good governance and accountability on a local level.




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